I pen this posting on early Tuesday afternoon. Thus far it has been a day of anticipation for a political junkie. President Trump’s announcement on America’s continued participation in the Iran Nuclear Deal is promised to come soon. (It came during this writing and I’ll comment on it soon.) It is Primary Day in four states that Trump carried in 2016 and everyone is waiting to see the results. Add to that the suspense that surrounds Gina Haspel’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. What was a political junkie to do this morning? In my case read two long magazine articles/essays. Let’s explore.
Monday evening Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow posted a piece entitled, Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General Of Physical Abuse to The New Yorker’s website. Within hours Eric Schneiderman resigned and I spent a considerable part of Tuesday morning reading the article.
In the article four women accuse Schneiderman of physically abusing them; three in consensual relationships, (although the physical abuse was not consensual). The fourth accuses Schneiderman of physically abusing her when she rejected an advance.
The New Yorker is a reputable publication; Mayer and Farrow (recent recipient of a Pulitzer Prize) are respected and ethical journalists. If this trio publishes something it is almost undoubtable true. Assuming the accusations against Schneiderman are true he had to go.
What concerns me is if something deeper was a play here. This came at the same time that news was breaking that Trump-aligned forces had been at work seeking personal dirt on Obama officials involved in negotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal. Schneiderman’s office was involved in litigation against Trump and his allies. In fact it was Schneiderman’s office that recently defeated Trump in court in the Trump University case. Trump will attempt to save his skin at any cost. If he can get one or more of his underlings off on a technicality or even slow down the process that is a big deal. Remember the Trump administration is little more than an organized criminal enterprise and the longer they stay in power the more money they skim. They can also hope that people don’t flip hoping to be the Russiagate equivalent of Oliver North and some day end up with a nice gig like President of the NRA.
Recently Kayne West said that slavery in America was a choice for the enslaved. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a piece in the Atlantic Magazine entitled I’m Not Black. I’m Kayne in response to that insane statement. I am among the many that think Ta-Nehisi is one of the great minds of the twenty-first century. I have to admit that I know next to nothing about rap and hip-hop. I know West is very famous but couldn’t pick him out of a lineup or name a single work of his.
As with all his works (and I have read much of it) I get a little lost in some of Coates’ prose because of generational and cultural gaps. We are of two different generations and ethnicities. However we are much more alike than not. We are both intelligent men who share a common humanity, desire for all to have opportunities and realize reality even when it may be unjust.
I found West’s statement about slavery being a choice both ignorant and offensive. Yes, that is correct; a white guy who grew up in the suburbs finds those remarks offensive. When a man is put in chains, under a gun and whip I don’t see a lot of choice options. West describes himself as a, “Free thinker”. (You often hear the alt-right describe themselves as “Free thinkers”.) I think West lacks critical thinking skills.
Slavery is often referred to as America’s original sin. It was certainly one of America’s ugliest chapters. It is something we need to learn lessons from so we never repeat it or anything akin to it. When someone who lives in privilege dismisses it as a poor or cowardly choice I find the ignorance and/or stupidity of that appalling!
Congratulations to Mayer, Farrow and Coates on some great writing and reporting. Shame on you: Schneiderman and West.
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