Trumpisms Lexicon Update

The Trump Lexicon keeps evolving as a our President moves forward on his agenda.  To see the latest Trump lexicon go to: pinkpoliticsllc.com   Prior to the election, I wrote an update of new words evolving during that campaign. The original lexicon can be found at https://wordpress.com/post/julierobinsonblog.com/5172 .  Since President Trump was sworn in a short couple weeks ago,  many new words are entering my stratosphere.  Here is a list of the most prominent at this time.

Alternative Facts: Terms used by Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway in a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017 to explain White House Press Secretary’s Sean Spicer’s description of the crowds at President Trump’s inauguration as “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period.”the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in-person and around the globe,” Spicer claimed. These remarks were contrary to the numerous photos taken of the National Mall on Friday that appeared to show a smaller audience than the crowd at former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.  Mr. Spicer later clarified it was the largest audience if streaming; tv etc was taken into account. Urban dictionary defines explains alternative facts as lies invented to protect an individual when the truth is too unfavorable to the presenter.

Alt-right (Alternative Right): Loosely organized group of individuals who reject mainstream Republican conservatism. The term was originally coined in 2010 by individuals who supported white nationalism and white supremacists to refer to themselves and their ideology, emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.  Because of it’s fluid structure alt-right groups have been associated also been associated with anti-Semitism, antifeminism, and homophobia.  The generally support President Trump, emphasize preserving and protecting the white race in the United States, oppose multiculturalism and political correctness. The positions of the alt-right exist in a virtual world of web-pages,  twitter,  and internet memes (a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users).

Bannon, Steven: Former head of Breitbart News (see below), CEO of Trump Presidential Campaign and now Mr. Trump’s Chief Political Strategist in the White House . Mr. Bannon is considered the primary ideological officer of the Trump administration. Mr. Bannon was quoted in an interview after the election that “Darkness is good.  Darth Vader. Satan. That’s Power.”  President Trump has given Mr. Bannon a seat at the National Security Council table, a move considered unusual for a political strategist.

Block Grants: While entitlements programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, require that every person receive the same minimum level of service, a federal block grant consolidates a number of programs into one and provides a capped amount of funding to states. Block grants to states during the Reagan administration allowed for significant federal cuts to social programs  from previous  federal expenditure levels.  The argument for block grants is that states should not need as much funding to operate block grants because they can redesign the program, eliminate federal red tape and provide the same services at significantly less cost.  Block grants in operation and have led to significant reduction in services because states have been unable to identify significant cost savings measures. Republicans suggestions for eliminating the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have all included the provision that the Medicaid program be changed from an entitlement program where states receive funding for eligible individual to a block grant.

Bowling Green Massacre: Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, told Chris Mathews on MSNBC’s Hardball that President Obama had instituted a six month ban on Iraqi refugees after the Bowling Green Massacre. She complained the media had failed to cover the incident. The media didn’t cover the massacre because there never was one. Bowling Green Kentucky was never home to a terrorist attack. Two men were arrested in in Bowling Green in 2011 on federal terrorism charges after one of the men’s fingerprints had been traced to a roadside bomb detonated in Iraq in 2005. Ms. Conway corrected her error through tweeting “Bowling Green terrorists” rather than “Bowling Green massacre.”

Breitbart News: Website featuring right wing views run by Steve Bannon before Mr. Bannon became President Trump’s campaign manager. Mr. Bannon referred to Breitbart News as the “platform of the alt-right”. Known for taking on establishment Republicans such as House Speaker Paul Ryan.  Critiques say the website is a platform for white nationalist sentiments of hate groups. http://www.breitbart.com/

Dreamers:  President Obama implemented through executive order a program called  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program initatited in 2012 offered a two-year, renewable reprieve from deportation to unauthorized immigrants who are under the age of 31; entered the United States before age 16; have lived continuously in the country for at least five years; have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three other misdemeanors; and are currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or served in the military.  The 718,000 individuals taking advantage of the program are called Dreamers. There are an estimated  1.8 million potential Dreamers in the United States presently. Seven-tenths of the dreamers are Mexican American and half live in Texas and California though the rest are scattered throughout the United States.  The program is currently accepting applications but the long term status of the program in the Trump administration is in limbo.

Going Nuclear: Nuclear option is a parliamentary procedure allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes. The United States Senate has a tradition of requiring a 60 vote threshold for confirmation of Supreme Court nominees.  Going nuclear refers to changing Senate rules so a Supreme Court nominee could be confirmed by a simple majority, which the Republicans hold in the Senate.  the nuclear option would allow Judges to not only be “nominated to the Court by a Republican president, but also be confirmed by only Republican Senators in party-line votes.”

Johnson Amendment: An amendment to the tax code in 1954, introduced by then Senator Lyndon Johnson, providing a legal separation between religion and politics. Under the law, churches and charitable organizations are unable to directly or indirectly participate in political campaigns on behalf or in opposition to a candidate or risk loosing their tax-exempt status. President Trump has vowed to destroyed this amendment to appease conservative religious groups who want to actively engage in politics and maintain their tax-exempt status. Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. has said it would “create a huge revolution for conservative Christians and for free speech.”  Repeal raises significant questions about the separation of church and state required in the Constitution.

post-truthPost Truth:  Post-truth describes the milieu of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in which appeal to emotions and personal opinions were more impactful than facts.The 2016 Oxford Dictionary word of the year, post-truth, was selected because usage  dramatically rose during the last year becoming a mainstay when describing national politics.

Repeal and Replace (Affordable Care Act or OBAMA Care): The first executive order signed by President Trump was to scale back as many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)(Obamacare) as possible. The one page order gave broad latitude to federal agencies to change, delay or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug makers, doctors, patients or states, suggesting that it could have wide-ranging impact, and essentially allowing the dismantling of the law to begin even before Congress could repeal it. Congress voted to repeal the act the following week. The authorization to repeal will only impact budgetary provisions of the act, specifics of this action are still unknown.  The Republican intent is clear to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2015, HHS estimated that ACA had provided insurance to 16.8 million Americans who previously did not have insurance and dropped the U.S. uninsured rate by over 5%.  With so many Americans receiving insurance through ACA, the Republicans have vowed to repeal ACA but simultaneously replace it with something better.  The something better is still undefined. There have been suggestions of replacing Medicaid the state/federal entitlement program with block grants to states.  If ACA is eliminated and states are blocked grant  Medicaid, funds will be available for the lowest income, even if less funding is available.  Funding to help higher income individuals and families now receiving incentives to purchase insurance would be gone.  Other popular ACA requirements that would be erased are requirements for insurers to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26. Republicans have found themselves in lala land as far as how to replace ACA.  It is much easier to vote against something than to find creative, cost-effective replacements.

Shock and Awe: These terms come from  the military  and refer to rapid deployment of military strikes to demonstrate dominance, forcing an opponent into  a rapid reactionary response. President Trump’s rapid issuance of executive actions has been referred to as “shock and awe” approach to executive administration. In an effort to impose Trumpian philosophy on the federal government and force Democrats and the world into a reactive position, President Trump has acted aggressively  through executive order causing significant problems for many vulnerable people in the wake of his pen. Whether America is safer as a result of his actions remains to be seen.

Travel Ban: Trump executive order issued January 27, 2017 banning all immigrants and visa holders from seven majority Muslim countires(Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria)  from entering the US for 90 days,  and opening the door to more country-based bans in the future. Also bans all refugee admissions for 120 days—and bans Syrian refuges indefinitely.  The order essentially overhauled US refugee policy—laying the groundwork for a fundamental shift in how the US allows people to enter the country. Signed late Friday afternoon without consultation with Congress or impacted federal agencies, the order caused chaos at airports for individuals traveling from the seven countries listed  and all  refugees in transition who had been granted approval to come to the United States.  By Wednesday, February 1, 2017, the Trump administration said the ban did not include citizens from the 7 countries  who held a valid U.S. green card, a permit allowing a foreign national to work permanently in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security asserted Friday, February 3, 2017, that the order does not apply to dual citizens with passports from countries other than the seven listed. Also on Friday, the Justice Department estimated that the order impacted about 60,000 visa holders.  Tens of thousands of visas for foreigners inside and outside the U.S. have been revoked without notice.  If any of these people are in the U.S. and leave, they have probably lost their ability to return. Judge Brinkema, Federal District Court in Alexandria, described the Trump’s administration lack of planning and notice as causing “chaos.” Judge Brinkema went on to say, “This order touched something in the U.S. I’ve never seen before. People are quite upset.” By Friday evening, a Federal judge in Washington State had temporarily blocked implementation of the order across the nation.  The Department of Justice has appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit located in San Francisco.  On Saturday, the Justice Department said individuals with approved Visas would be allowed to travel.

Women’s March:  Protests for human rights and other civil rights issues  and against President Trump’s positions on these issues held January 21, 2017 in Washington D.C. with sister marches throughout the world.  The largest single day demonstration in U.S. history, drawing at least 500,000 marchers in Washington D.C. and  an estimated 4.8 million world wide.  A theme was “Build Bridges not Walls” in response to President Trump’s inauguration speech the day before the march which focused on “America First”.

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Dogs of Hell on Rampage in America

dog1The Dogs of Hell were trained Rottweilers, who escape a military compound and terrorized al small town in a cult movie of the same name (1982).  Replicating the actions of these fictional canines, the most racist, bigoted Americans have been unleashed by Trump’s unlikely Presidential win to terrorize people of color, the LBGT community and other vulnerable individuals.

Previously suppressed by societal norms and national leaders committed to inclusion and diversity, the day after the surprise win by Mr. Trump, these marauding dogs began shredding our fragile web of political correctness. The real face of the ugly American is now in full view. Apparently, I have been living in a fantasy world believing that we were slowly eradicating these attitudes but I have discovered to my chagrin that our progress in the area of inclusion is  an extremely fragile safety net loosely tethered by a web of civil rights laws, court decisions and public civility.

These Dogs have previously been muzzled by the broader community’s values. muzzled-dog The Dogs’ attacks after the recent election have taught me that bigotry is flourishing in this country in hidden places like  mold spores invisible to the naked eye, thriving in dark moist environments. The election provided the necessary well spring for an explosion of white backlash.

These dogs are even rampaging in Boise, Idaho. Last week, they wrote “Nigger!” as graffiti near our Black History Museum. My family was horrified when I used the “N” word at the dinner table describing the incident.  My daughter scolded me and said, “Never use that word again!” I would like to comply; but the only way to grasp the harshness of these attacks on the population they are intended to traumatize is to speak truth. The “N” word does not capture the abuse and rebuke inherent in this demoralizing word  scribbled in large letters in plain view for the sole purpose of causing pain.

The lone black female in the Idaho Senate, told me this graffiti is not an isolated incident. She described to me the experience of a two black children playing outside in Boise being accosted by white adults the day after the election and being told; “We can kill you and your parents, now.”

My sister tells of the Asian man she knows, born and raised in Caldwell, Idaho (a town of 50,000, 25 miles west of Boise) who has never experienced discrimination in Idaho. Last week a car driving by him, rolled down the window and an invisible male voice shouted, “Go back to where you came from!” The fact that this man would be returning to Caldwell would be amusing if it weren’t so horrifying.

These are just a few incidents from Idaho, a small, almost exclusively white, homogeneous state. We are generally pro guns but peace abiding. Imagine the power of this unfettered hate in larger cities with more diversity and opportunity to choose “We” versus”They”.kinghallgraffiti

post-truthThe Oxford Dictionary has named “post truth” as the 2016 word of the year. The word describes a culture in which an individual’s decisions are based on appearances, frequently generated by incorrect or deliberately false social media postings, not on facts.  I am fascinated and nauseated by our “post truth” world.  In our current political milieu, the Dogs of Hell can become vicious overlords of the most vulnerable. Made up stories of Muslim attacks lead to hatred of innocent neighbors.  Women wearing head coverings, symbols of respect for their religion, are suspect.

The trial of Dylann Roof is currently in the news. He is the white young man who joined a black Bible study group at Emanuel African Methodist Church, Charleston, South Carolina and ended up killing nine church members (2015).  He has been quoted as saying he, “wanted to ignite a race war.”  Roof’s actions resulted in public outcry, prayer vigils and persecutors seeking the death penalty.  He failed in his revolution.

Unlike Roof, if not restrained, the Dogs of Hell are capable of phenomenal harm to our constitutional rights. This election, we, the people, have unleashed violent forces of hatred in America.

As Christmas approaches, as Christains let us not just pray for peace on earth as if we are speaking of some distant land. We need to pray for peace in small town Idaho and other parts of America. We must actively engage our spiritual communities and push back the forces of hate which are spreading dark clouds of fear over our land.

 

The Day After

Late last night as the election results calcified, I received a text from a very good friend of mine in Wyoming reminding me that I had correctly called the election this summer.  I told my disbelieving liberal friends in June that Trump had a very strong chance of winning.  When FBI Director Comey announced 11 days ago that the Clinton email fiasco re-emerged, I knew in my heart that Hillary’s chances of winning were minimal.

What led me to have such a strong sense of Trump success even though I vote Democratic? First, Hillary never could shake, even among highly educated white women, the tinge of dishonesty or more correctly, covertness.  Everyone says Hillary is a private person but I believe in transparency in government. Hillary began her national career at Bill’s side as First Lady leading the failed health care reform effort behind closed doors.  I totally disagreed with her policy approach at the time though not the recommendations for a national health card.  This sense that  Hilary is not being completely candid has haunted her for years.  I wanted to love her but I couldn’t.  I  respect her years of tenacious advocacy for women and children, her policy knowledge, her ability to be knocked down and get back up again but I never got chills when I thought about voting for her. I would love to live to see the first woman elected President of the United States.  I would have been fine if that woman was Hillary but personally I was never captivated by her. Today, I could feel Hillary’s pain when she conceded.  She has given it her all to lead this country  on two different occasions and I think we all realize now that this is a dream that will elude her.

I am not sure Hillary could have done anything differently during this campaign. Her failure is one of charisma which I’m not sure one can learn.  The Obamas both have it in spades. I cried with joy when Obama won the Presidency the first time.  When he and his family walked on stage after winning, I felt the world had moved.  I had goose bumps when Michelle Obama spoke at the 2016 Democrat Convention about how “When they go low, we go high!” Having watched The Apprentice for many years with my daughter when she was younger, I know that Donald Trump is capable of captivating an audience.  In a world of social media, the personal image is political reality.  Trump correctly assumed as the polls and pundits did not that the large crowds he was drawing would result in a swell of passionate, dedicated Trump voters. These folks were what I call shadow supporters, not readily available to traditional pollsters. Can you see a big think tank reaching out to someone who goes to a rally wrapped in fake green turf to show their “grass roots support.” My guess is Trump supporters got chills voting for him and cried when they saw the swing states predicted blue  turning to bright red right before our eyes.

Winning a national election requires great outpourings of emotion (Of course, it can be argued Trump didn’t win the election since Clinton got more votes but given our electoral college approach, he put together the strategic states to run the board). In our electronic world, the charismatic individual whether we like their ideas or not has an advantage from the starting line.  Trump is nothing if not charismatic; even his greatest detracters followed his every move providing tons of free publicity for him through tweets, late night comedy shows, news stories.  I admit to some dark part of me daily checking what new strange tweet he had sent out.  Silencing his tweeting near the end of the campaign and keeping Trump on message further strengthened my sense that he could win this thing.  Throughout the campaign, he had been his own worst enemy.  Once someone wrapped up his spontaneous outbursts and put him on an airplane crisscrossing rural America,  Trump’s personal image solidified as a political outsider, pro-life business man who could build our economy,  relished a fight, told it like it was and was focused on protectionism.  HIs consistent mantra that America needed change struck a cord in America’s heartland.  His other failings such as sexual predator, misogynist, inconsistent statements from day-to-day, no clear policy positions on many issues, and a protectionist approach based on racism never stuck. Hillary’s image on the other hand, as  a policy wonk, part of the power elite establishment and probably dishonest to boot was with her from day one and stayed with her throughout the long arduous campaign, the dishonesty piece finally solidified for undecided voters with the Comey announcement of more emails for the FBI to check (so much smoke there must be fire).

The Republicans now control the Presidency, Congress, and with Trump’s nomination in January the Supreme Court. Our nation will no longer have divided government though we remain poltically and socially divided as a country.

It will be interesting to see what a Republican health care approach looks like.  My bet is thousands of individuals will once again be thrown off insurance.  But a step backward may be the only way to leap forward.  I agree with Bernie Sanders that  the only viable long-term health care solution for the U.S. is a national health care plan. Radical right regression may be what will unite progressives where nothing else has.

Democrats have every reason to be discouraged. They are without any recognizable leaders, they won the national vote, lost the election, failed to gain  control of the Senate, lost the opportunity to transform the Supreme Court and will need to reorganize and re-energize.  But as another friend of mine says, America made it through the Civil War and we will make it through this.

I was in McCall, Idaho last weekend when the Christmas Tree for the nation came into town.  It was cut down at the little ski hill outside of McCall.  There were crowds of people mulling around,  an announcer shouting  repeatedly the tree was coming, , the giant Idaho Potato came into sight, the McCall High School Band came by on a truck, a hundred or so disorganized children paraded by and then this big shining red semi-truck turned the corner dragging a gaily wrapped something which turned out to be the tree, covered for its journey East.  I thought at that moment this is America at its best, small town America coming together and celebrating something as simple as a giant pine tree on the move across our great country.

My husband and I were probably the only two Democrats in the entire crowd given how the voting across  Idaho went.  Idaho Democrats lost five legislative races on Tuesday bringing the Republican Legislative Super Majority to 84%. Idaho is the redest state in the Union.  I have a friend who chides me that Idaho Democrats can meet in a phone booth there are so few of us if we can find a phone booth anymore.  I still hope to see a woman elected president (Preferably a Democrat though I open to any strong, thoughtful female leader) in my life time. But for  now I am glad to be an American.  I celebrate we can have a contentious, nasty, close election and get up the next morning  knowing  we will be free to walk out the door,  talk about how crazy the voting was yesterday over a cup of coffee, express our opinions openly on Facebook or a blog and not worry about our safety.

God Bless America!

A Lexicon of Trumpisms

The Trump Lexicon keeps evolving as President Trump moves forward implementing his agenda.  To see the latest Trumpisms go to: pinkpoliticsllc.com

Our words have the power to destroy and the power to build up (Proverbs 12:6). 

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I volunteer to tutor refugees. These individuals have escaped unspeakable horrors and are  learning English. Working alongside these kind, hard-working adults has taught me how blessed we are to live in America.  Mr. Trump has created his own language to describe America, Trumpism. Mr. Trump’s own description of Trumpism: “I know words, I have the best words but there is no better word than “stupid”. Words most frequently used by Mr. Trump: win, stupid, weak, loser, moron, politically correctness, smart, tough, dangerous, bad, lightweight, amazing, huge, tremendous, terrific, zero, out of control, classy.

Listeners know when we hear Mr. Trump that his terminology is slightly off but those of us who grew up in the U.S. intuitively understand what he is saying. I challenge you to think about what you would think if you and your family had just escaped extreme violence half way across the world for sanctuary in the United States and you heard Mr. Trump describe America.  Below is a short list of Trumpisms.  There is no attempt to capture all of his misused words or to provide citations.  Rather, I want to capture the essence of his language.

Trumpism: Words made up by Mr. Donald Trump in his run for President of United States in 2016.  Mr. Trump has a vast, original lexicon which creates sweeping indictments and vicious mental pictures using just a couple of words or phrases. Some of his words are spoken; others have been tweeted in the wee hours of the morning.  Trumpism could also be considered Mr. Trump’s political platform.  Trumpism pushes nativism (foreigners are suspect) and populism (giving power to the people rather than political elites).  Through twitter and his speeches, Mr. Trump has created a mish-mash of images of America as a dark, dangerous place in deep economic decline.  Mr. Trump’s America needs saving.  His slogan is “Make America Great Again” as if returning to the past is a positive. His primary policy proposals are deporting illegal immigrants, tightening and/or stopping future immigration of certain groups particularly Muslims,  emphasizing  that foreign individuals living in America commit the majority of violent crimes particularly  rape and robbery while taking away American jobs.  Trumpism’s primary focus is that Muslim refugees are terrorist infidels, illegal Mexicans are criminals and global trade has crippled America.

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Trumpism, can be defined as both a political philosophy based on fear, nativism, populism, and a contortion of the English language against women, minorities, and anyone who disagrees with Trump

 

The Wall: Mr. Trump’s proposal to have Mexico pay for a wall dividing Mexico and the United States with the intention of stopping  Mexicans from illegally entering the U.S. Mr. Trump estimates the wall will cost $5 billion dollars. He promises the entire cost will be paid for by the Mexican Government. The Mexican President has refused to pay for the wall in a tweet.  Tweeting seems to be the primary form of policy development in this election year. Mr. Trump sees the wall as a beautiful thing with a door right in the middle for legal Mexicans to be welcomed to America.

Bad Hombre: Uncomplimentary reference to undocumented Mexicans living in America.  Hombre is Spanish for man. Trump used the reference to reinforce his vision of increasing hordes of criminals illegally crossing the Mexican border.  In fact, the Pew Research Center documents that the number of illegal Mexicans coming into the U.S. has stabilized in recent years and declined by about 1 million since 2007.  About 2/3 of all illegal immigrants have lived in the U.S. for a decade or more.  About half of immigrants coming into the U.S. are women.  There are 5000 children in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported by U.S. immigration authorities.  This figure is estimated to rise to 15,000 children over the next five years because of tightening immigration policies.  These women and children have not been part of any policy discussion during this presidential season.

Nasty Woman: Mr. Trump’s description of Mrs. Clinton at the 3rd and final debate.  He uttered it to interrupt Mrs. Clinton presentation on Social Security.  His intent was appeal to the old boys club where powerful women are seen as unpleasant and pushy and frequently described in private as “bitches”. In this case, Mr. Trump’s effort to belittle women led to a social media backlash from women who saw Trump’s remark as sexist rather than as descriptive of Mrs. Clinton’s temperament. As a young professional woman in the seventies, I can attest that smart, ambitious women were not described in positive terms by their male coworkers.  I am proud to be a Nasty Woman.

Miss Piggy: a revered children’s puppet on Sesame Street. Miss Piggy is a large female Pink Pig who dresses in extravagant outfits and frequently wears a crown.  Most American’s know Miss Piggy. Mr. Trump referred to Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado, as Miss Piggy when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe title.  Using Miss Piggy as a descriptor is a classic example of Mr. Trump’s skill at choosing short phrases to create a lasting image.

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Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996. Mr. Trump labeled her Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeping

Miss Housekeeping: Another term, coined by Mr. Trump, to describe Ms. Machado, who represented Venezuela in the Miss Universe Pageant. This image is premised on Latino women largely serving in housekeeping positions in the U.S.  This nickname can be seen as a sexist slur against Latino women and as slamming hard work done by many Americans who are surviving on pay below a living wage.  Nationally, unauthorized workers compose 23% of all domestic workers.

Locker Room Banter: Mr. Trump’s justification of the conversation he was having with Billy Bush prior to an appearance on Access Hollywood in 2005.  In the recorded encounter, Mr. Trump used extremely vulgar terms to describe women and what he would do to them. When the tape was released, Mr. Trump defended the conversation as the kind of talk that routinely goes own in all male places such as locker rooms.  My husband played college basketball and when I asked him about it, he responded that young guys might not use the best language but this is an example of a 60 year old man (at the time) who could be expected to have outgrown the titillation of talking dirty. Billy Bush was relieved of his position on Good Morning America for his role both in the conversation and for not bringing the tape to light sooner.

Bigly:  Frequently used by Mr. Trump to describe an idea or policy which is large in scope.  Bigly is an adverb and Mr. Trump has used it correctly.   On questioning, Mr. Trump’s staff clarified that Mr. Trump is not saying “bigly”.  He is instead saying, “Big League.”  Here is an example from an actual speech: Donald Trump has said, “Iran is taking over Iraq and they’re taking it over bigly.”  According to staff this is incorrect reporting. Instead, Mr. Trump said, “Iran is taking over Iraq and they’re taking it over Big League.”  I personally think bigly is easier to understand in the contexts he uses it.  Either term gives us the idea, that this is something big.

Extreme Vetting: Mr. Trump’s proposal to conduct ideological screening of new arrivals from countries with a history of terror (specific countries are unspecified).  Mr. Trump had previously said he would ban all Muslims from coming into the country.  This proposal would allow in some individuals.  However, all individuals from countries harboring terrorists would be banned from the U.S. until this new screening test was designed and in place.  The U.S. already has extremely rigorous screening approaches in place sometimes taking many years.  In addition, it is difficult to assess an individual’s most innermost beliefs and private opinions.  In a country that values free speech, this proposal may be difficult or impossible to implement.  Finally, individuals from other countries are less likely to engage in violence than native born Americans.

Yuuuge: Mr. Trump’s unique way of saying huge.

Braggadocios: A braggart who boasts so much about themselves that they become annoying to their audience.  The term was commonly used in the 19th century.  The word is so seldom used in the 21st century, braggadocios is not considered part of our common vocabulary.  Mr. Trump, who usually says he does not want to seem braggadocios, has breathed life back into this word.

Birther Movement: People who question of the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate.  Starting in 2011, Mr. Trump persistently demanded to see President Obama’s birth certificate to demonstrate that Obama was born in the United States as required by the U.S. Constitution.  Recently, Mr. Trump has said he believes Mr. Trump was born in the United States.

Speaking Mexican: Reference to Jeb Bush in a tweet.  Mr. Trump means that Mr. Bush is fluent in Spanish, something Mr. Trump obviously is not.

Taking the Shackles Off: A twitter comment on Mr. Trump’s revised strategic campaign breaking free from the traditional Republic platform and policy.  Trump’s new approach was the result of some Republicans disavowing their support of Trump in the wake of NBC sex tape. This announcement was followed by a stream of tweets filled with rage and resentment towards traditional politicians.

Rigged Elections: As political polls have begun indicating that Mr. Trump might lose, Trump has become more strident in his claims that the media and the Democratic machine are rigging the election.  Mr. Trump has said he would accept the election results if he won.  However, when questioned during the third debate, he refused to confirm that he would accept the results.   The charge of rigged elections is at the very heart of the U.S. democracy where for centuries Americans have cast their votes and lived with the results.  Mr. Trump’s charge also suggests he is not familiar with the structure  of U.S. elections.  Elections (even for national candidates such as Congress and the President) are under the control of the states. Forty-seven of the fifty states and the Puerto Rico have  a Secretary of State position. The primary duty of this individual is to serve as the chief election officer for the state.  In the three states without a Secretary of State, the responsibility for elections falls to the Lieutenant Governor.  Given the diffuse structure of elections in the U.S. it would be difficult to rig the outcome nationally.  As we know from the 2000 Bush/Gore Presidential election, the role of the Secretary of State in a close election can be very important. Former Vice President Gore received about 540,000 more popular votes than Bush across the nation.   In Gore’s presidential run, the Florida Secretary of State, Republican Katherine Harris certified that Bush had won the popular vote in Florida.  Her decision was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court on a 5 to 4 decision preventing a recount of key precincts in Florida.  Former Vice President Gore honored the decision and has been largely invisible on the national stage since.

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Gloria Steinman appeared live in Boise, October 17, 2016

Gloria Steinman told a sold out crowd in Boise on October 17, 2016  that the right to vote is what makes America great. People have fought hard and lost lives for each of us to have the equal opportunity to weigh in on America’s future. The America of 2016 is far more expansive and inclusive than our forefathers envisioned. We are a nation where each of us can vote regardless of race, religion or gender.

 

The refugees I work with fled totalitarian and military reigns with the hope of becoming Americans and gaining the right to vote. Hidden in Trump’s mangled phrases is the clear threat to equal opportunity. Isolationism doesn’t create greatness but it does breed fear.  I am yuugely hoping that Americans in bigly numbers will not pick a braggadocios birther, who engages regularly in unseemly locker room banter demeaning women, for their next president.

 

Redneck Lives Matter

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Playing on Payette Lake provides a metaphor for life

I have lived in Idaho almost 22 years, a third of my life. Idaho is the most Republican state in the nation.The state where a perfectly normal question is “Have you heard of the group Black lives Matter? Well, in Idaho Redneck Lives Matter.”  In rural Idaho, PETA stands for “People eating tasty animals.” (Probably shot with a concealed weapon, all perfectly legal.)

In this staunchly  Red environment,  I have transformed into a strong Democrat. I drive a blue car with a novelty license plate that says BLUEGRL. I am proud to be a Blue girl (Democrat)in a Red State.  I sometimes worry about the car getting keyed for advertising my political opinions.

I have a Republican friend who says Idaho Democrats could hold the state convention in a phone booth if we could find a phone booth anymore. Idaho Democrats running for statewide office get consistently  about 30% of the vote if the individual candidate runs a good campaign.   We haven’t had a Democrat elected statewide since our Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marilyn Howard, retired in 2006. No other position has  even been competitive in the 20 years I’ve lived here

The miracle of Bernie Sanders in Idaho is that thousands of people showed up for Democratic caucuses all over the state. In Boise, there are still Bernie yard signs up. Before the Democratic National Convention several hundred people marched in Boise in support of Bernie.While I still see Bernie stickers on cars and yards signs, I haven’t seen any Hilary stickers. I got an email  last week that Hilary had hired an Idaho  field organizer, a young woman, recent  graduate of  the University of Idaho.  The email said Hillary could use some help in Idaho. NO KIDDING! Hillary and  Idaho? Talk about an oxymoron! The fact Hillary has paid staff in Idaho shows the fundraising process of the Democratic Presidential campaign.  Maybe Hillary has a field organization in Idaho to recruit Bernie fans. But the few I know wouldn’t vote for Trump. They may choose to not vote and thus the need for Hillary to have a grassroots  organization.Paying to organize Idaho Democrats for a national election is like seeing how many people you can get in a Volkswagen. You can run around a lot, create frenetic energy, spend a great deal of time but in the end the number will be quite small.

In this environment,  where there are no decent Democrats running for national office why do I remain a Democrat? Afterall, I will be voting for Republican Congressman Mike Simpson in my Congressional District. Congressman Simpson is a retired dentist who supported expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He recently got Congress to  pass the White Cloud Wilderness Bill, designating three areas in the Owyhee Mountains  as wilderness. This legislation took years of  work. In other words, Simpson is a good guy.  Why bother with  the Democratic label at all when I am clearly the minority?

I have wrestled with my Democratic values for some time. I am forced to when I am consistently in  the minority. Saying my political alliegence aloud can lead to crazy arguments and loss of friendships.

I grew up a Republican in Wyoming. I can remember standing on the tamarack at the Cheyenne airport. My sister was dressed in white holding glittery  gold poms poms along with other teenage girls. I tasted  the bitter bile of jealousy as the wickedly cold wind made my eyes leak because I wasn’t old enough to be a Goldwater Girl and stand with the cheering girls. Goldwater went on to win only  six states,  Arizona (his home state) and five southern states.  He even lost Wyoming and Idaho.

Early in my early professional career I worked for both Democratic and Republican Governors. I considered myself an independent, supporting the individual rather than the party.

I capitulated to dyed-in-the-wool, bright Blue Democrat as I saw the Idaho legislature become progressively conservative giving tax breaks to business, failing to appropriately fund our public schools, repeatedly defeating Medicaid Expansion. Last year in the legislature an emergency room physician testified that at least a 1000 low-income Idahoans  die a year because of lack of health care. Our Republican  Governor Butch  Otter’s response was, ” Lots of people die every year.”

My husband  and I give monthly to Idaho Democrats.   I am volunteering to stuff envelopes for state legislative races. All of this money and energy with no expectation of it making a difference. The question is why bother?

I got the answer on Saturday at Payette Lake in McCall.  I was sitting on the dock at Ponderosa State Park watching my daughter and her friend  jet skiing across the lake. A woman with head covered, black leggings and a beautiful white lace top got on the back of a new jet ski behind her husband. I presume she was Muslim and the man was her husband. After bouncing across the water at full tilt, she came back to the dock sporting a huge smile. At that moment it became crystal clear to me why I am a Democrat. Jet skiing provided  a great metaphor for living in our complex world. My Chinese daughter was out on the same water with the Muslin couple and behind me some black families who were speaking a language other than  English, also in full dress,  probably refugees, were playing on the beach and wading in the shallow water, laughing and splashing. All of us from very different backgrounds were sharing  the lake  linked by our human capacity for laughter and joy.

I am a Democrat because I believe all lives matter. Hurrah for Rednecks, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Gays and everyone else! You all matter and American should be a big enough place that we can embrace and live with our differences.

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Everyone at the lake had a moment of shared joy across cultural boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malleable Barbie Adapts to the Times

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1959 Barbie.  An icon for 57 years of America’s focus on women’s breasts and looks, over achievements

First introduced in 1959, over the past 57 years, Mattel has tried to update Barbie to adjust to the times. To that end, the company introduced last week, Barbie for President with a female running mate. This combination is intended to be an inspiration for young girls. “By introducing the new President and Vice President Barbie dolls, the first all-female ticket, we hope to inspire girls to imagine themselves as leaders,” Erin Loos Cutraro, co-founder and CEO of She Should Run, tells Babble.

Throughout her life-span, Barbie has become ethnically diverse, moved from a beauty queen  and model to a professional.  Her hair originally a classic long pony tail which couldn’t be combed has transformed to long, short, curly, black, red, blonde, silky and brushable to totally changeable. Barbie’s  originally stiff body is now flexible.

But one thing that has not changed is her shape.  Research suggests that a real woman with Barbie’s figure would be 5’9″,  host  a 39 inch bust, 17 inch waist and wear a size 3 shoe. Given the wildly disproportionate trunk to base,  a real woman with this shape couldn’t walk, would have extremely frail bones, half a liver and probably be anorexic. Mattel is currently working on changing Barbie again by incorporating more diverse body types, though the exact nature of these changes has yet to be specified.

Rather than  launching a new wave of socially engaged little girls, Presidential Barbie seems antiquated.  This is particularly true when viewed in combination with Jennifer Aniston’s For The Record in the Huffington Post (7/12/2016 ).  Aniston writes about unwanted speculation from the media and complains about the objectification of her body in particular and women’s bodies in general.  Given these two pieces of evidence,  it appears  Americans have not progressed very far in their expectations of what an attractive young woman should look like.

I am left in a quandary about what American cultural expectations do to little girls self image.  We are pushing young girls in to pursue STEM programs (we want girls to go into math, science and engineering).  Women’s sports are on the rise with girls participating in every imaginable activity.  Cheerleading is still around but not the sole way for a teenage girl to be involved in a sporting event.  Yet with all these changes, Aniston writes just this week  The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty”. 

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President Barbie and her female running mate continue the oddly proportioned Barbie shape.

I would argue the newly released presidential Barbie doesn’t encourage young women to be whoever they want but rather reinforces strongly held  cultural beliefs that attractive women sport large breasts, narrow waists and are stilted rather than engaged in life.  These icons of American woman have fabulous hair styles and always dress correctly.

The Republican and Democratic conventions are rolling into our media space the next two weeks.  Speaking only last night, we learned within minutes of  Melania Trump’s presentation that she wore an off-the-rack white Roksanda dress costing between $1500 and $2000. The dress was described as “perfect for the White House.”  I am willing to bet we  will read about Tiffany and  Ivanka Trumps’outfits as well i.e. who designed it, cost and whether the dress looked appropriate for the setting.  All three women are drop-dead gorgeous so I can’t image any tacky comments about hair or appearance.  I doubt we will read anything about Marco Rubio’s, Newt Gingrich’s or Donald Trump’s suits (what they cost and what fabric they were made of, how did the tie go, did they get wrinkled or hang perfectly on TV).

While snide comments are frequently made about Donald Trump’s hair, these remarks don’t seem to have any traction. In comparison, an article about Hilary Clinton wearing an Armani suit went viral.  Mr. Trump’s suits routinely cost at least $7,000 but this does not seem to be of interest to the American public.  Sara Palin had a budget of $150,000 to purchase clothing for her Vice Presidential run.  Demonstrating that focusing on the importance of women’s appearance  rather than just judging individuals based on competence is not limited to party but rather to gender.

Michelle Obama has made being a Presidential wife or candidate accessible for the everyday woman by wearing clothes from Target along with custom designs from high end designers.   A gorgeous woman and outstanding representative of America women,  Mrs. Obama has also received considerable criticism from the right for “being angry” and  emphasizing “being black”. Passionate women when they speak are frequently seen as “angry” rather than committed.  One can hardly blame Mrs. Obama for sharing her black experience with all of us when so many of us seem to have such limited understanding of diversity. Brown versus the Board of Education, the landmark decision requiring integration of American schools  was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, five years before Barbie was launched.

More than fifty years later, Americans  are still struggling with their vision of women and race. Feminism was largely a white movement  and only recently recognized that American women as a group are quite diverse, representing many cultures and colors and have immensely dissimilar experiences.  American women’s commonality is their struggle to be seen as unique individuals with vastly under-recognized and under-utilized potential, capable of crafting a great American future.  It’s seems time to ditch the long-standing, stultifying stereotypes adopted into our culture many years ago.  Maybe instead of saying “Hello”  to Presidential Barbie and her look-alike running mate,  we all should  say”Goodbye” to Barbie and what she represents.