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For Trump, a golf cart ride to hell

Unleashing curses and action against a national disgrace

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Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

President Donald Trump (Photo by Gage Skidmore; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

On a crisp, clear autumn midnight I kneel in a clearing in Rock Creek Park and feel the eyes of nocturnal animals on me as I gaze upward, lift my arms heavenward, and solemnly intone:

“Under a waxing moon I hex thee, Donald John Trump. I curse thee with bad lawyers, unflattering headlines and ungrateful mobs. May thou be locked in a limousine filled with flatulence until thou canst not breathe and thy cries for help are unheeded. May thy golf balls be replaced by dragon eggs that hatch upon impact and answer thy boasting with fire. May thine incitements fall on deaf ears, and thy lies turn to acid in thy throat. May all the pussies thou hast ever grabbed return as piranhas that clean thee to the bone.”

I am only practicing. I am not sure I’ve gotten the hang of ritual cursing. Besides, I am still looking for nine black hen feathers. I blame gentrification. A proper city ought to have a shop offering a selection of suitable curses with the requisite accompaniments.

In truth, however, incantations are needed not to summon otherworldly spirits but to awaken our fellow citizens. As cases in point, let us examine two recent calamities, one natural and one man-made.

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Elaine Duke at Homeland Security called the federal response “a good news story.” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz responded, “This is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story.” Trump as usual responded by denigrating her, since everything has to be about him, and anything that contradicts his alternate reality must be false or malicious. Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has family in Puerto Rico, shot back, “She has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING. You’re going straight to hell. Fastest golf cart you ever took.”

Miranda is spot-on. His multiracial portrayal of America’s founders illuminated the shared national heritage that Trump and his base reject in favor of white dominance at any cost.

Some politicians responded to Trump’s destructive behavior with the greatest bane of clarity in our discourse: false equivalence. They talked as if both sides were “playing politics,” despite Trump’s uniquely revolting stream of insults, blame, and self-congratulation, and the contrast between the quick federal response to storm damage in Texas and Florida and the slow response to that in Puerto Rico. Trump deflected criticism by declaring it an attack on first responders. He insulted Puerto Ricans by saying, “They want everything to be done for them,” then displayed his humanitarian instincts by dedicating a golf trophy to hurricane victims.

We do not have a leader of all the people. We have a con artist who inflames, distracts, and divides us for the sake of power. We have a vindictive narcissist who demonizes protests by people of color, degrades women, and calls journalists enemies of the people while praising Nazis and consorting with our nation’s greatest adversary. Other than stealing a Supreme Court seat, all he has done is sow chaos at home and abroad while enriching himself. How ironic that he accepted the resignation of HHS Secretary Tom Price for lavish travel with public money. Purging lieutenants will not solve a problem that flows from the top.

We awoke October 2 to a soundtrack of automatic gunfire on cable news. Another record-setting massacre had occurred, this time in Las Vegas. The death toll as I write is 58. Even amid shock and grief, we know matters will only worsen. Gun sales will spike. Nevada’s gun laws are among the most lax in the country. In Alabama, Republican senate candidate Roy Moore waved a pistol. Congress is considering legislation to ease the purchase of silencers. Horrors like Vegas are used not to limit high-powered weapons but to militarize policing, which disproportionately targets people of color.

Trump used the Pulse Nightclub massacre to justify his travel ban. Unluckily for him, this time the shooter was a 64-year-old white man. So he called for unity. Do not be fooled: his lodestar is rule by division. We must unleash not merely our curses but our concerted political action and our votes.

 

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at [email protected].

Copyright © 2017 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Rick Rosendall

    October 4, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Update: since I submitted this Monday afternoon, Trump called the Las Vegas tragedy a “miracle” (because the first responders kept it from being worse) and, in Puerto Rico, said “every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina….” Regarding Vegas: pardon me, but if we’re going to have a miracle, how about nobody getting shot? On his visit to Puerto Rico, he tossed rolls of paper towels to people as if he were throwing peanuts to animals at the zoo. Enough.

    • Dominic Pasquarosa

      October 13, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      looking at the video of that, the people weren’t upset or lashing out…the only ones lashing out are you and your kind,,,,it’s called HATE..now this is your forte, in your nature,….it’s rampant now,,all because a non-establishment person got elected….tiss, tiss, tiss,,,naughty, naughty!!! wasn’t suppose to happen…well guess what? IT DID!!! surpriiiiise!!!! I feel for you all, but i just quite can’t reach…..!!!!

  2. BigGaySteve

    October 8, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Bad news this “WHITE MAN” turned out to be the son of a jewish FBI most wanted bank robber with a muslim girlfriend. Video of the shooter wearing a pink pooosssy hat at an anti- Trump rally was up on Drudge the day after

  3. Dominic Pasquarosa

    October 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I forgot to mention to you about this repetitious article…….Idiocy personified!!,,,,,,a grown man writing such a childish article. like the son who is so mad at his daddy!……grow up buddy!!!! PLEASE!! give us a break,,,,,geezus! your screws aren’t loose, they’re missing!

    your fan

    Dominic

  4. Dominic Pasquarosa

    October 13, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    just wanted update you about Hillary, Michelle, Barack and so many Hollywood elite being so upset about their LONG time friend, WEINSTEIN…i wanted to help out by offering words of wisdom to all of them. i do hope it helped…..”what difference, at this point, does it matter”,,,,Hillary Clinton,,,,,Hillary stated she was going to give the money her buddy Weinstein gave to her to charity, wow,,,i recommended to her, The Clinton Foundation!!! what a genius thought, wouldn’t you say, buddy!!!!!!

    • Rick Rosendall

      October 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      I do not have time to go through all your lies, distortions, and prejudicial misstatements. Just a few thoughts: until you demand the p**** grabber in chief leave office, you have no right to criticize Hillary. As for the endlessly repeated quote from Hillary’s testimony regarding Benghazi, she was not disrespecting the dead but was talking about the by-then-moot issue of what set off the attack, she was not in charge of the military, she had no possible motive against the Americans there, and she had asked for more funding for embassy security but the Republicans balked. Do you hold them responsible? Of course not. You just cling to your Lady Macbeth b.s. What an absurd and tired caricature. PS: Weinstein was quickly fired when his history of assaults was exposed (belatedly, to be sure), whereas Trump is still in office. It is tiresome indeed when men’s sexual assaults and harassments are always somehow the woman’s fault. By the way, the Democratic Party supports women’s equality as a matter of public policy, whereas the Republican Party is far more eager to regulate vaginas than assault weapons. No moral equivalence there. PPS: the Clinton Foundation is a highly rated charity, unlike Trump’s, which among other things spent money on portraits of himself. Spare us your ignorant bile.

      • Dominic Pasquarosa

        October 13, 2017 at 9:38 pm

        i already know all this!!!! geezus, save your energy to writing another limited article. you’re so good at it!!!

  5. Dominic Pasquarosa

    October 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    it’s not in my nature to HATE!… i am expressing my opinion,,,,like you do,,,the only difference is you all actually think that you are right, all the time and everyone else is wrong…let’s be fair,,,,,now this is a virtue you all lack……

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Commentary

It doesn’t take a miracle

Hanukkah a time for LGBTQ Jews to celebrate full identity

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(Public domain photo)

For Jews around the world, Sunday night marked the beginning of Hanukkah. The story of Hanukkah celebrates the liberation of Jerusalem by the Maccabees, a small and poorly armed group of Jews who took on, and defeated, one of the world’s most powerful armies. 

Upon entering Jerusalem, the Maccabees saw that there was only enough oil to light the Temple’s eternal flame for one night. But the oil lasted eight nights — enough time for new oil to be prepared. The eternal flame remained lit, and light triumphed over darkness.

The story of Hanukkah was a miracle. While we celebrate and commemorate that miracle, we should also remember that it doesn’t take a miracle for one person to make a difference. 

The entire world is shaking beneath our feet. The climate is in crisis and our planet is in danger. A viral contagion has claimed the lives of millions, and there’s no clear end in sight. Creeping authoritarianism threatens the entire world, including here at home.

Sometimes it seems like it will take a miracle to solve even one of these problems. The reason these problems seem so overwhelming is because they are — no one person can fix it themselves.

Here in the LGBTQ community, we have made enormous strides, and we ought to be proud of them. But there is so much more work to be done.

Not everyone in our community is treated equally, and not everyone has the same access to opportunity. Black, brown and trans LGBTQ people face systemic and structural disadvantages and discrimination and are at increased risk of violence and suicide. It must stop.

These are big problems too, and the LGBTQ people as a collective can help make the changes we need so that light triumphs over darkness. But it doesn’t take a miracle for individuals to light the spark.

Our movement is being held back by the creeping and dangerous narrative that insists that we choose between our identities instead of embracing all of them. 

The presentation of this false choice has fallen especially hard on LGBTQ Jews, many of whom feel a genuine connection to and support for Israel. They feel marginalized when asked to sideline their identity by being told that the world’s only Jewish state shouldn’t even have a place on the map. And they feel attacked when asked about the Israeli government’s policies during a conflict, as if they have some obligation to condemn them and take a stand simply because of their faith.

One of the ways we can shine our light is to fight for an LGBTQ community that is truly inclusive.

This holiday season, pledge to celebrate all aspects of your identity and the rights of LGBTQ people to define their own identities and choose their own paths. If you feel the pressure to keep any part of your identity in the closet, stand up to it and refuse to choose. 

In the face of enormous challenges that require collective action, we must not give up on our power as individuals to do what’s right. It doesn’t take a miracle to do that.

The tradition of lighting the menorah each night represents ensuring the continuity of that eternal flame. One of the reasons the Hanukkah menorah is displayed prominently in the windows of homes and in public squares is because the light isn’t meant to be confined to the Jewish home. The light is for everyone — and a reminder that we can share it with the world every day to try to make it better.

As long as we keep fighting for justice, we don’t need to perform miracles. But we do need to do our part so that light triumphs over darkness.

It is up to each of us to map out what we can contribute to create a truly inclusive LGBTQ community. This holiday season, be the light. If you can, donate to a group that helps lift LGBTQ youth in crisis. Volunteer your time to fight for the rights and the lives of trans people. And be kind to one another.

Whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or of no faith at all, take this opportunity to share your light with the world. It doesn’t take a miracle to do that.

Ethan Felson is the executive director of A Wider Bridge.

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Opinions

Trend of banning books threatens our freedom

‘History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas’

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National Book Festival, gay news, Washington Blade

I knew Helen Keller was a DeafBlind activist. But, until recently, I didn’t know that some of her books were torched.

Nearly 90 years ago, in 1933 Germany, the Nazis added “How I Became a Socialist,” by Keller to a list of “degenerate” books. Keller’s book, along with works by authors from H.G. Wells to Einstein were burned. 

The Nazi book burnings were horrific, you might think, but what does this have to do with the queer community now?

I speak of this because a nano-sec of the news tells us that book censorship, if not from literal fires, but from the removal from school libraries, is alive and well. Nationwide, in small towns and suburbs, school boards, reacting to pressure from parents and politicians, are removing books from school libraries. Many of these books are by queer authors and feature LGBTQ+ characters.

Until recently, I didn’t worry that much about books being banned. My ears have pricked up, every year, in September when Banned Books Week is observed. Growing up, my parents instilled in me their belief that reading was one of life’s great pleasures as well as a chance to learn about new ideas – especially, those we disagreed with. The freedom to read what we choose is vital to democracy, my folks taught me. 

“I don’t care if it’s ‘Mein Kampf,’” my Dad who was Jewish told me, “I’ll defend to my death against its being banned.”

“Teachers should be allowed to teach it,” he added, “so kids can learn what a monster Hitler was.”

In this country, there have always been people who wanted to ban books from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by writer and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe to gay poet Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.”

In the 1920s, in the Scopes trial, a Tennessee science teacher was fined $100 for teaching evolution. (The law against teaching evolution in Tennessee was later repealed.)

But, these folks, generally, seemed to be on “the fringe” of society. We didn’t expect that book banning would be endorsed by mainstream politicians.

Until lately.

Take just one example of the uptake in book-banning: In September, the Blade reported, Fairfax County, Virginia public school officials said at a school board meeting that two books had been removed from school libraries to “reassess their suitability for high school students.”

Both books – “Lawn Boy” a novel by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by non-binary author Maia Koabe feature queer characters and themes, along with graphic descriptions of sex.

Opponents of the books say the books contain descriptions of pedophilia. But, many book reviewers and LGBTQ students as well as the American Library Association dispute this false claim.

The American Library Association honored both books with its Alex Award, the Associated Press reported. The award recognizes the year’s “10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”

Given how things have changed for us queers in recent years – from marriage equality to Pete Buttigieg running for president – it’s not surprising that there’s been a backlash. As part of the blowback, books by queer authors with LGBTQ+ characters have become a flashpoint in the culture wars.

As a writer, it’s easy for me to joke that book banning is fabulous for writers. Nothing improves sales more than censorship.

Yet, there’s nothing funny about this for queer youth. My friend Penny has a queer son. “LGBTQ kids need to read about people like themselves,” she told me. “It’s horrible if queer kids can’t find these books. They could become depressed or even suicidal.”

If we allow books to be banned, our freedom to think and learn will be erased.

“History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas,” Keller wrote in a letter to students in Nazi Germany.

Anti-queer officials may remove LGBTQ books from school libraries. But, our thoughts will not be unshelved.

Kathi Wolfe, a writer and a poet, is a regular contributor to the Blade.

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Opinions

Thanksgiving is a time to share

Take a moment to think about what you can do to help others

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This Thanksgiving, many of us will once again celebrate with family and friends around the dinner table. Sadly at too many tables friends and family members will be missing. They will be one of the over 766,000 Americans who lost their lives to coronavirus. May the shared grief over lost loved ones cause us to try to bridge our differences and lift each other. As those of us with plenty sit down for dinner let us not forget the many in the world not so fortunate and think of what we can do to make their lives better.

In the midst of the pandemic we defeated a president who through his words and actions tore our country apart — a president who managed to poison relationships among family and friends. We elected a president who we felt would try to unite the nation. But we know that has yet to happen and the recent reaction to the not-guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial shows us that. The use of race-baiting in the recent Virginia governor’s election shows us that. We still suffer from the implicit permission the former president gave to some Americans to once again give public voice to their sexism, homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. That didn’t suddenly end with his loss. While we cannot pretend those feelings weren’t always there it seemed we had reached a point in American society where people understood you couldn’t voice them in public without rebuke. While it will take many years to put that genie back in the bottle we need to try if we are to move forward again. Around our Thanksgiving table is a place to begin. I am an optimist and believe we can do that even while recognizing it won’t be easy.

Thanksgiving should be a time to look within ourselves and determine who we are as individuals and what we can do to make life better for ourselves, our families, and others here in the United States and around the world.

Around our Thanksgiving table we should take a moment to think about what we can do to help feed the hungry, house the homeless, and give equal opportunity to everyone who wants to work hard. Maybe even give some thought as to how we change policies causing institutional racism to ones giving everyone a chance to succeed. It is a moment to think about how we can open up the eyes of the world to understand how racism, homophobia, and sexism hurt everyone, not just those who are discriminated against.

We must renew our efforts to heal the rifts in our own families and make an effort to try to see each other in a more positive light. If we start to do that with those closest to us we might have a fighting chance to do it with others.

I recognize my life is privileged having just returned from a 14-day transatlantic cruise. My Thanksgiving weekend will be spent with friends in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and we will remember our experiences over the past year. For many it also begins the Christmas season and the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend each year Rehoboth Beach lights its community Christmas tree. So surely we will talk about what that season means to each of us.

For me each year it means thinking about which charities I can support as the requests for end-of-year gifts arrive. It is a time to think about volunteering some precious time for a cause you care about.
Wherever you live, there are many chances to volunteer and do your part to make a difference for others. The rewards of doing so will come back to you in abundance. As anyone who has helped someone else will tell you the feeling you get for having done so is wonderful.

So wishing all my friends and those of you who I may be lucky enough to call friends in the future, a very happy Thanksgiving. May this holiday find you happy, healthy and sharing peaceful times with those you love.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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