The Dilemma of "Trumpsplaining"

Unlike many political observers, I have spent the bulk of this campaign season focused not on Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican Party nomination for president, but on the people who are supporting him, seeking to understand what is motivating them to essentially turn the political establishment, especially the Republican Party, on its head.

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Of Poverty, Privilege and Politics

An exchange in yesterday's Democratic Party presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan is generating a lot of social media buzz, if not attention from the mainstream press. In response to a question from one of the moderators about what "racial blind spots" the candidates might possess, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), stated:

When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car...We must be firm in making it clear that we will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.
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The Reckoning

As I write this, the Republican primary in my home state of Virginia is in the books, and Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who has flipped the political establishment on its head with his improbable run for the presidency, has won. His performance on "Super Tuesday" was not as dominating as perhaps Mr. Trump and his supporters had hoped, but it did make the path to the nomination much more difficult for his opponents. It seems that now would be a good time to consider the long-term implications of this current political season, at least from my limited vantage point. Donald Trump's ascension marks the end, in my opinion, of several coalitions which have held sway over American politics and culture for decades.

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How’s that Conversation Working Out for You?

Back in 2009, newly installed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder created a stir, one of many to come, with his first speech after assuming the office, a commemoration of Black History Month. His provocative declaration sparked a lot of debate and discussion, and it was the eventual jumping off point for my book, a memoir and collection of personal thoughts on black/white race relations in America:

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation's history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.
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Stoner Nation

A while back, I wrote an article about how we were rapidly turning into the society portrayed in the science fiction classic Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, where sex is casual, uncommitted, and strictly for pleasure, where marriage, parenthood and family are such outdated concepts they're considered obscene, where conspicuous consumption is encouraged, where entertainment overloads our cognition and overstimulates our senses and, if all else fails to amuse, where you can dull your mind to the world around you with widely available and easily accessible narcotics. Like the "bread and circuses" of Roman times, we will be lulled into indifference by our appetites, and conquered without a shot being fired. I was thinking about this again as I read more news articles about states looking to legalize marijuana, a policy initiative that seems to have taken on a greater priority than I think it deserves in these troubled times. I know it's a cause célèbre for libertarians and liberals/progressives, and I certainly agree that marijuana should be legal for verifiable medical uses, but as I survey the landscape, it just seems to me that we've got more pressing problems than making it legal to toke for recreational purposes. Of course, I speak as someone who has no interest whatsoever in getting high or drunk. I see no value or fun in intoxication, and even if I imbibed in order to escape my problems, they are guaranteed to still be there when I return from my self-imposed vacation from reality.

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The Battle of Selma, 2015

The 50th anniversary commemoration of the march on Selma, a watershed moment in the civil rights movement, has come and gone and, in my opinion, left debris in its wake like a summer thunderstorm. It's clearer to me now than ever before that American society is not equipped for the task of racial reconciliation, and that it's going to take the unified, Christ-committed church to lead us there. There were some positive signs. Two Republican members of Congress, Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama, were co-sponsors of the 50th anniversary commemoration under the auspices of the Faith and Politics Institute, which has hosted the commemorative march in Selma since 1998. They aggressively recruited their Republican colleagues to participate in the event, and a record number of them showed up. Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were also there, reflecting what has been a conciliatory and charitable post-presidency for our 43rd president.

But then the storm started.

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