Politics

Travis Greene’s and Chrisette Michele’s Trump Inauguration Decisions: Victims of Misplaced Anger

Travis Greene and Chrisette Michele Perform at 2017 Presidential Inauguration

(Photo Credit: The Washington Post)

A decision to perform yesterday, January 20, 2017, at President Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Inauguration doesn’t constitute an endorsement. Although the thought of a Trump presidency is difficult for most on the Left to fathom, and unsettling for some on the Right, accepting an invitation to perform on Inauguration Day has never historically been viewed as a political act—certainly not an overt political act. Those who have had the distinct privilege to present their talent on this day do it not simply for the new president, but also the nation and world. Travis Greene, nominated in 2016 for a Grammy award for the gospel hit single “Intentional,” exhibited his great talent at one of Trump’s inaugural balls. He, lamentably, received crass attacks from many acrimonious black folks for his decision to sing at this event. Given that Greene prefaced his decision by expressing he seriously contemplated how Jesus would respond to this invitation, it’s reasonable to deduce that the artist isn’t a Trump supporter. For Greene, singing at the inaugural ball presents a prodigious opportunity to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Travis Greene, in a joint performance with Chrisette Michele, who was also viciously lambasted for her decision to sing at Trump’s inaugural event, ministered in song with high-energy and brilliance. Regrettably, for Chrisette Michele, Spike Lee upbraided her for choosing to perform at the event: he discontinued considering her music for his upcoming soundtrack to the Netflix television series adaptation of his 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It. Michele revealed how “heartbroken” she is by the numerous harsh, disparaging responses to her decision.

Both Greene and Michele are young national recording artists. Situated in a postmodern, late capitalist society, both artists must constantly seek imaginative ways to market themselves and their music. What better way to market their music and increase their reach than at a presidential inauguration while the world is watching? If most—if not all—of their disingenuous critics would have been in their situations and had an opportunity for a global audience to witness their talent, they wouldn’t have experienced a moment of reticence; they would’ve seized the extraordinary moment, the remarkable opportunity. Greene and Michele did. They deserve laudatory remarks—not childish invective.

For those believing President Trump is an evil man with nefarious intentions for blacks and other minorities, Greene’s desire to inoculate the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the inaugural ball would seem to be a ray of hope in a dark place. The Gospel calls all of us to seek peace, justice, and love. Wouldn’t this inaugural event be a fine place to proffer a message of peace, justice, and love? A Christian truly following the example of Christ has no problem meeting with and performing for a president he or she disagrees with on many issues.

These unfounded, precarious, censoriously abusive attacks on Greene and Michele exemplify misplaced anger. If one has a problem with Trump, then let Trump truly be the focus of his or her scorn—not two young black national recording artists elated to have enough talent and acclaim to sing for the president, the nation, and the world. As Bernice King, the daughter of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., posited at the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “We still have to find a way to create…the beloved community,” the beloved community her father passionately championed until his odious assassination. Adopting a policy, a strategy of estrangement toward Trump will prove immature and ineffective.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Why Don’t We Complain?” by William F. Buckley, Jr.: A Brief Analysis

"Why Don't We Complain" William F. Buckley, Jr.

(Photo Credit: National Review)

In “Why Don’t We Complain?,” William F. Buckley, Jr. (1961), arguably the most influential modern conservative intellectual, proffers a clarion call to seize the power of purposive complaining. Too often, unfortunately, Buckley contends, people permit their milquetoast proclivities to render them silent, consigning them to toxic, vexing helplessness. For Buckley, this helplessness results in an increasing eroding of individual rights, abdicating these rights to government. No Luddite, disconsolate about technological change and innovation, the conservative intellectual links this helplessness to unhealthy technological dependency and burgeoning centralized economic and political power.

Writing in 1961, the latter part of the Civil Rights Movement, one may find the author’s frustration with many Americans’ reticence, their unwillingness to muster the courage to raise objections about matters ranging from the inconsequential to the consequential puzzling, especially given the tremendous social unrest and protest of the aforementioned period. Ostensibly, Buckley still sees, at the time of the essay, a general reluctance to expressing sentiments openly, especially vociferously, risking offending someone, permeating the nation.

The piece communicates that many would rather remain uncomfortable than frankly address the root(s) of the discomfort. He uses an example of everyone on a train experiencing agonizing heat, but no one on the train possessing the courage necessary to ask the train conductor to turn off the heater or modify its temperature.

Buckley explains that those willing to complain, to voice their opinions freely often discover their candor distresses many or most. Purposive complaining, therefore, can generate opposition, even acrimonious opposition.

While the intellectual understands not protesting uncontrollable phenomena, he exposes people who fail to address the controllable.

When only a limited number of individuals express themselves, those voices can become the dominant voices, which Buckley identifies as a grave threat to our democracy.

Although many, especially the heedlessly pious, eschew dissent, America thrives when she values it. Buckley leaves us with a dystopian vision of what can occur in a nation full of people apprehensive about dissent: “When our voices are finally mute, when we have finally suppressed the natural instinct to complain, whether the vexation is trivial or grave, we shall have become automatons, incapable of feeling.”

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

President-Elect Donald Trump Saves 1,000 American Jobs

Donald Trump Carrier

(Photo Credit: Huffington Post)

Even before President-elect Donald Trump’s first day in office, he saves 1,000 American jobs. Delivering on a campaign promise to Carrier employees in Indiana that their jobs wouldn’t be shipped overseas, Trump shows early signs of leading a strong and productive economy. While some are understating and overstating his successful deal for these Carrier employees, we all should be happy that these 1,000 individuals (and their families) will not face the hardships of unemployment. Cease from your partisanship for at least a moment to acknowledge that these jobs remaining in America is important. With this deal, America wins.

Trump, of course, understands that he will not be able to call each top executive of American companies desiring to ship jobs overseas and reach the same type of resolution, but it’s comforting to know that he’s open to negotiating with them. Past presidents, unfortunately, didn’t do anything significant to curb outsourcing. The saving of 1,000 Carrier jobs in Indiana signals that our incoming president is serious about making robust efforts to end outsourcing. As president, one must engage in not only microeconomics but also macroeconomics. A Wharton Business School graduate, Donald Trump, certainly knows this.

One black man who works for Carrier in Indiana and who passionately opposed Trump expressed gratitude to him for saving his job and ensuring the financial security of his family.

America needs a jobs-president. If Trump’s handling of Carrier is any indication of what he will do as president, then America can expect economic prosperity under his leadership. Time will tell, though.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Anti-Trump Protest Fatigue: Longing for National Equanimity

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

(Photo Credit: NBC)

Donald J. Trump is President-elect of the United States of America, and he will be the 45th President of the United States of America. Face it. Calm down. Composing Facebook posts and tweets expressing anger and disappointments about Trump’s victory will not change this reality and will not accomplish anything meaningful. An inauthentic hyper-religious commitment to prayer, fasting, and depending on God will not mollify Trump-related apprehensions and disenchantments. Destroying public and private property and businesses in your cities will not end the racism, hatred, homophobia, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination you resist. If you want a different election result, then heed the advice President Obama gave to Republicans after he won in 2012: “Go out and win an election.”

Are numerous people going to have public meltdowns every time an election does not go their way? Are we always going to be so partisan to the point we never enact significantly beneficial policy again? Are we always going to be in election-season?

How did Trump win this election? Those interested in him becoming president voted for him. Those who did not desire for Hillary Clinton to become president vote against her and for him. They organized and did not just craft Facebook posts and tweets. They did not riot; they voted.

This election was the most nasty, mean-spirited one in American history. It’s over, thankfully.

At some point, we must come together for the common good. Why not now? Do we have to wait until heartbroken folks exhaust themselves with reckless protesting and rioting?

If you want a new president in 2020, then stop complaining on Facebook and Twitter and organize with other like-minded voters. Develop a plan about how to get voters to the polls who will elect a person you desire to win the presidency. I can guarantee you that busting out windows at Walgreens and CVS will not elect the president you want.

Do you desire for your candidate to win the next election? Go to the polls and take everyone you know with you in 2020.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

FBI Director Comey Caves to Clinton, Obama, and Democrats

Hillary Clinton

(Photo Credit: Business Insider)

How can over 650,000 emails pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server be reviewed in just a few days? Under intense pressure from Hillary Clinton, her campaign, President Obama, his administration, and numerous Democrats, FBI Director James Comey caved. When Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and many other Democrats started accusing Comey of attempting to influence this election, he didn’t want to be perceived as secretly working to elect Donald Trump. What’s becoming increasingly clear is the American government is corrupt and the American people cannot place any faith in it.

A truly independent, non-partisan special counsel needs to conduct a formal investigation into the agency’s handling of the affairs involving Clinton’s illegal private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

Although Comey has promulgated that the review of Clinton’s email server is complete, and he will not recommend criminal charges be brought against her, the agency’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation continues.

For those Democrats alleging that Comey is acting in a partisan way to elect Donald Trump, it will be interesting to see if they have substantive concerns about this premature announcement two days before the 2016 presidential election. Most, if not all, of the same Democrats criticizing Comey praised him several months ago when he first made the determination not to recommend criminal charges be brought against Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States of America on November 8, 2016, then the American people better prepare themselves for more legitimate investigations of her that will last her entire four years in office.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abolishing Abortion: How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day by Frank Pavone: A Short Book Review

Abolishing Abortion

(Photo Credit: Booklook Bloggers)

In Abolishing Abortion: How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day, Reverend Frank Pavone offers a comprehensive and aggressive approach to eliminating abortion in America. Instead of allowing churches and individual Christians to succumb to the argument that they should refrain from engaging in politics, including politics related to abortion, Pavone challenges them to fight vociferously and passionately for the lives of the unborn. For the author, Christians concerned about ending abortion have the power to reform how government works, and this will require a harmonious banding together of churches and Christians committed to exercising their moral authority and who refuse to have their voices silenced.

Although pro-choice readers will not like this book, pro-life readers will be moved to act in ways that are more coordinated and intentional. In the extant political and cultural climate, too many pro-life Christians have lost faith in seeing a day when abortion no longer exists in America. Pavone makes a convincing argument that a ban on abortion is very much possible. He posits that abortion will end when pro-life Christians and churches unite to demand a reversal of Roe v. Wade. As the book argues successfully, it is essential to elect politicians who sincerely commit to appointing and confirming pro-life judges to sit on courts at every level. I encourage pro-life Christians to read this book and employ it as a tool to save the lives of the unborn.

Booklook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton: America Deserves Better

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

(Photo Credit: Salon)

Are Americans really about to elect a carnival barker, Donald Trump, or crook, Hillary Clinton, as President of the United States of America? If this happens, the American people will only have themselves to blame—not Donald Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Without a miracle, handcuffs for Hillary, or a delegate revolt against Trump at the GOP Convention in Cleveland, this nation is headed for more doom and gloom. An alternative exists for conscientious voters: rally behind a third-party candidate. Neither current candidate offers the essential vision our country needs. The time is right for a third-party to rise and challenge this antiquated two-party system.

Do we really want to elect a woman, Hillary Clinton, who views black boys and men as “superpredators”? Do we really want to elect a woman, Hillary Clinton, who changes her mind with the wind on the critical issues confronting our nation? Do we really want to elect a man, Donald Trump, who desires to ban all Muslims from entering our country? Do we really want to elect a man, Donald Trump, who mocks individuals with disabilities? Hopefully, the answer is no.

As the #NeverTrump and #WhichHillary movements continue to gain traction, a serious third-party candidate saving us from these two catastrophes, Clinton and Trump, could emerge. These two movements, however, must bear fruit: people uniting behind a single candidate who can defeat both Clinton and Trump.

Don’t allow people to condemn you into maintaining loyalty to your current political party. If you’re not happy with person who secures your party’s nomination, it’s not mandatory to vote for him or her. Vote for a third-party candidate who better reflects your values and who offers a better future for America. Even if you decide to return to your present political party the next election cycle, a powerful message still will be communicated: your vote isn’t automatic.

Ideally, this third-party candidate would be someone who could resonate with enough Democrats, Republicans and Independents. With three people essentially running for president, this third-party candidate would be able to win the presidency, forever giving Americans faith in third-party candidates.

Too many precious lives and treasure have been sacrificed to enfranchise Americans, especially blacks and women, for people to stay at home as a form of “protest.” A more productive form of protest is to evince that the two-party system isn’t here to stay and that the American people have an option beyond this system. The only real statement you make by not voting is a callous disregard for the great sacrifices that have been made to empower you with the right to vote. Think thoroughly about this before you resolve to sit at home foolishly pretending you’re doing something “revolutionary” by not voting.

Begin to join with others who reject Trump and Clinton to discuss possible candidates to support for a third-party run against them. You will ultimately need to agree on one candidate to draft and/or support.

Let’s start an authentic political revolution by transitioning our country to a three-party system. We desperately need an alternative to our extant two-party system.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison