Open Letter to Donald Trump from a College Educated White woman re: your relationship with African-Americans.

Mr. Trump,

I could address various subjects, however I would like to focus on your relationship with African-Americans.

Caucasian to Caucasian.

First a suggestion… While it has been noted you recently switched from calling people “the Blacks” to “the African-Americans”, I feel you should drop the word “the.” It really sounds like you are speaking of objects, or even aliens…certainly not people like you or me.

Secondly, I recognize that you are playing to your nearly all White supporters. I get that it makes them feel good to see you appearing to care about African-Americans so you can’t be called a racist and therefore they don’t have to be charged with supporting a racist. From a strategy point, I understand why you recently started “caring” about the Black Community in spite of knowing you will not receive 1% of their votes …based on your history of housing discrimination, the language you use to describe some minorities, and your reluctance to distance yourself from White Nationalists. (Among other things)

I get that even “caring” about African-Americans in the way you do – continually professing your sadness over their hellish conditions – is meant to make your supporters feel good about themselves and confirm their belief they are at least one notch up from Blacks in their condition and status.

While I understand your strategy, I wholly condemn it. I cringe along with every Black person I know each time you outline the hellish conditions you and your supporters want to believe they all live in. So, for you and your supporters I would like to tell you about my experience with African-Americans – many of whom are like family.

The African-Americans I am friends with do not live in hell and certainly disagree with you that this is the worst time to be Black in America. For instance, they would say it was likely worse when our constitution considered people like them to be only 3/5ths of a human being. By stating this is the worst time in history for African-Americans is insulting to all intelligent Americans who know, acknowledge and respect the weight of our history. It is downright stupid and unbelievably insensitive to the Black community as it is a sign you have no regard for what they and their ancestors have experienced in this country.

As for African-Americans having nothing to lose by voting for you…

The friends and acquaintances of mine who are African-American would disagree that their lives are so miserable, they might as well give you a shot! They are all college educated – many having more education than your average supporter. They are all good family men and family women raising amazing children. They represent a multitude of religions and beliefs. They travel the world and continually learn and grow. They are successfully employed with titles like: Doctor, Sales Manager, Lawyer, Small Business Owner, Teacher, Controller, Auto Dealer, Public Relations Professional, College Football Coach, TV Personality, Political Consultant, Entrepreneur, Pastor, Soldier, Police Officer… I could go on! They are some of the spokes of the wheels that move America forward – just as I am.

My male friends who are African-American – some of whom were once athletes and actually spent time in locker rooms – would never talk of sexually harassing women, much less do it! They also aren’t on 3 marriages with children from all these different women.

My African-American friends are not living in the mystical inner city hell holes you like to depict. Some of them are certainly living in city centers in amazing lofts. Some are in suburbs all over the country. Some are living in the south in safe all Black neighborhoods full of manicured lawns and beautiful homes, the likes of which many of your supporters couldn’t imagine based on the way you describe neighborhoods “the Blacks” live in.

So, please spare us with your fake concern for African-Americans and your insulting commentary. If you want to address concerns the Black Community has, start with criminal justice reform and racial profiling – things that affect African-Americans of all ages and walks of life. Stop talking nonsense about imposing something unconstitutional like “Stop and Frisk.” Stop using the Black community to spread stereotypes and falsehoods. Recognize that while there are some poor Black people in America, they are simply human beings and no different than poor White people in the Appalachian Mountains or elsewhere, with the exception of the color of their skin and the biases they face because of that difference. Yes, there are Black Americans living in terrible situations in literal war zones created by failed government policies having nothing to do with safety net programs. But, don’t you dare continue to imply that this is the standard and millions of African-Americans aren’t better off.

As a White woman who actually has deep, meaningful relationships with people of other races I am speaking up because it is beyond embarrassing to watch you – a White man – parade around with such nonsense. It is infuriating to watch your majority White supporters eat it up. It is terrifying to see you empower White Nationalists who hate my African-American friends, my Jewish Friends, my Asian and Middle Eastern friends….and me for embracing them all.

You will not make America Great Again for people like you, because too many of us are too educated and motivated to ever allow this country to go back to the days where your antics were the norm.

I know you will fight until the bitter end and then some. Just know I am not alone in my thinking. There is an army of College Educated White women fighting with me and we will do what we can to stand up against you and for the rights and respect of all Americans.

I will only sign this as anonymous because in the unlikely event this reaches you or your supporters, I do not wish to be subjected to the barrage of hate mail and misogyny I have seen against others who have spoken up against you.

Good day, Mr. Trump
This article was prepared and submitted by an author who wishes to remain anonymous in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Cognitive Relevance.

In Case You’re Wondering, This Republican Is With…

My friends, this election is going to be great! Believe me awesome, the greatest we’ve ever seen!

We will see the highest turnout in the modern day era.  Believe me, it’s going to be great seeing so many people, of all walks of life, rural and urban come vote!   It reminds me of the images of South Africans once disenfranchised, standing in line for hours to vote for Nelson Mandela in 1994.  We and the world may we see that this year in America. A lot of people who usually stay home, will come out to vote!  That doesn’t mean we will all agree on who to vote for.  Our nation is split right down the middle.  Nevertheless, we all need to vote!

No one can stand on the sidelines for this one.  No one should.  Why, because this election is going to be great and all votes will matter.  I promise you, they will really matter. Remember the 2000 voter debacle in Florida?  If you think there were issues then, wait til you get a load out of November 2016.  There will be voter issues, so know your rights!

On one side we have Donald Trump who has energized his base.  A reality television celebrity, he’s got a solid base. On the other, we have Hillary Clinton.  A woman in the public eye over forty years running an historic campaign as the first woman of a major political party to win her Party’s nomination.

Trump has fired a wall of division into the air.  That’s made some friends on the Republican side nervous and they haven’t embraced him.  They also find it hard to back Clinton.   Then there are my friends who despite his wall of division are embracing Trump. These are not just White, uneducated voters as some on the other side seem to think.  These friends are of all races and very educated.  And they’ve taught me a lot.  One is to accept their choice. Know what, they’re right!  I’m okay with it. I love them even if I disagree with them.  That’s what makes America great!  We can agree to disagree.

That’s why, my friends who don’t like politics, I’m not asking you to change and like politics.  I am asking you to be engaged.  If you don’t stay engaged, if you don’t vote, a narcissistic, pompous bigot is going to occupy the White House and destroy years of progress.  After years of gridlock in politics, maybe that’s what America deserves! I don’t believe that, but if people don’t vote, that is what we are going to get.

Believe me, I promise you, it’s going to get nastier when the debates begin.  My fear is Hillary will not do well in those debates.  Not against Trump.  This man believes any lie he makes up.  How do you combat that? One person can’t, but many can.

This election is about American values. How do we ensure everyone has equal access to education, healthcare and jobs. I’ve been on this soapbox for years. When we don’t vote, we get politicians who take us into an economic recession, fiscal cliff and government shutdowns!

Heard the saying, We get the politicians we deserve. That’s why Congress is mired in gridlock and state legislatures battle over ObamaCare and education funding. We get what we deserve when we don’t vote.

We get them when the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo and sports programming takes our attention away from the real reality television show – politics, where politicians decision impact each and every one of us.

Do we deserve Trump? If we don’t vote and stay informed, unfortunately, yes we do. We’ve seen what happens when we can’t  vote.  Isn’t that what we saw in slavery when Blacks and women were not allowed to vote?  And through segregation, when Blacks died for the right to vote?

I know, its not easy, but I promise you, believe me, the alternative, not staying engaged and voting  is a lot worse. If we all vote, those for and against Trump, it will be great for America.  A Clash of Titans!

Who will win? I don’t know. I believe, the diversity of our nation, the merging of our cultures, the fabric of our values are intact.  For that, I have hope that Hillary Clinton will win.

As a descendant of slaves and slave masters, I am inextricably linked to the origins of our nation once mired in slavery.  That origin evolved into segregation and from there other issues emerged like immigration, women’s right to choose, sexual orientation and identity.   More of us are on the side that recognizes #BlackLivesMatter.  And we know that #BlueLivesMatter because by extension we all believe #AllLivesMatter.  But right now, we need a leader that understands why this is important today.

I’m with her because, for whatever mistakes she made or decisions she made in the past, she’s consistently chosen to be on the side of the majority in good and bad times. There are more of us together on these issues than ever before.  And we need a leader who has the courage to address and change when the times call for it, because she listens to the people.

For that, I believe if we stick together on both sides, what will emerge is a referendum on our past, and a signal to all of us that CHANGE happened in 2008. And when it’s all said and done, she’s the best leader for all.  Despite the gridlock in Congress and our state legislatures, as a nation we are moving FORWARD in the right direction. That’s why it’s up to all of us to VOTE!

And it’s why I’m with Her!  Whether you are with her or not, will you please, Vote?


Hillary, Pick Bernie!

clinton sanders
Photo credit: Newsday Thomas A. Ferrara


Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Standing in her the way, the past few weeks, Bernie Sanders picked up momentum too late.  Over that time, he made it interesting and painted in my mind three things Hillary can do to unify the Dems and win big in November.

First, put Bernie on the ticket.  What, you’re asking?  I know conventional wisdom says, pick a young, charismatic person from a swing state for Vice President and to make it more appealing a Latino right?  Not this year.

Everything about this campaign season is different.  Donald Trump the presumptive Republican nominee is an outsider pushing the buttons of racial and religious divide.  How can that be successful in 2016?  I don’t know everything.  I mean how does a guy who has poked at women, demeaned Mexicans and attack Muslim judges gain points in the polls?  Everything is different.

Conventional wisdom doesn’t work.  Not this year.  Instead of intellectually explaining your message, you have to dumb it down.  The message is clear, do the opposite of whatever seems normal.

Pick Sanders as your VP.  He’s old, not young.  Jewish not Christian.  A known commodity and household name, doing something most politicians are afraid to do, tell the truth.  And his campaign is a movement, not unlike Obama’s eight years ago!

Another reason to pick him? Hillary won’t be able to hang with Trump.  And she shouldn’t have to.  He’s out of her league.  She’s won a Senate campaign and lost a Presidential.  Guess where she’s been most successful?  Staying out of the fray and allowing Bill to be out front.  Now she’s the lead horse and has to stay out of the fray because it is where she is best.  The challenge is, she has to lead the conversation not be guided by it.

If she’s going to win, she needs to bring excitement to the campaign.  She doesn’t have the luxury of introducing someone new to the American people.  She needs someone the voters know.  Someone who can bang with Trump, while she remains above the fray and does two things.  #FeelTheBern

Take off the pants suit sometime on the campaign trail and let us know your story.   Some  friends, who are still undecided, ask why does she wear those suits?  It’s her armor.  Meeting her for the first time last year in Iowa, I was taken by how short she is.  Everything from her handshake, smile and eyes tell you, she’s not short.  She’s confident and fearless.  And she’s human.  All the mudslinging she’s been exposed to the past forty years would make many men retreat from the public eye, but she’s not shying away.  She’s right there front and center where you want your President to be.

Another question I hear is, if not Hillary, what type of woman will it take to get elected?  What is a woman supposed to look and act like to get elected?  I believe they should look like themselves.  A woman should not have to conform.  The public made this Hillary appear resilient, because she is.  But what is the road she traveled to get here?  Let’s take a glimpse before the pants suit at who she has been.

PART II tomorrow Hillary, Shattering The Glass Ceiling!

About the author:

IMG_6592  Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR), founder of Party Politics US and Associate Producer on The Framing of OJ Simpson.  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

Letter to the GOP Candidates by Pete Rearden

Pete Reardon photo by Steve Watkins
Pete Reardon photo by Steve Watkins

GOP candidates,

Well now, it seems that your little clown car is filling up rather quickly isn’t it? From Lil’ Jebbie towards the center to the Don on the far right to Graham Cracker out in the right field parking lot, you guys are all promising a vibrant and booming economy, job growth, and lower taxes. I, a pragmatic independent voter would like to ask some questions about this and a few other matters which I am curious about.

First question: since WWII the United States has suffered through 42 quarters of negative GDP growth. Of these 42 quarters, 31 of them have been during Republican administrations. How, exactly, is that not a sign that your economic policies aren’t weaker than those of the Democrats? It would seem to me that having almost 3 times as many quarters of negative GDP growth as your opponents is a sign that your economic policies don’t work. Granted, I am not possessed of an advanced degree in economics, so I may be missing something in the nuances, but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. In the past 70 or so years your pudding hasn’t tasted that great.

Let me ask you about taxes now. It has often been said that the tree of liberty must occasionally be nurtured with the blood of patriots. Since this is quite obviously a metaphorical statement, could that blood not also, metaphorically speaking come from the wallets of patriotic individuals and patriotic corporations? It would seem to me that when the nation isn’t being invaded, that those taxes could realistically be considered the blood of patriots needed to nurture the tree of liberty.

Moving right along, let’s discuss social issues shall we? For a group of individuals who claim to be all about liberty, freedom, and personal accountability, you sure don’t act like it when it comes to a number of social issues. Take marriage equality. Other than the fact that you wouldn’t be able to treat a class of American citizens like second class people, there are no down sides to it. It is a personal choice two people make. No one is going to force religions which don’t accept gay marriage to perform same sex weddings, and in fact, your strong stand against marriage equality violates the religious freedoms of many religious sects in the United States.

Women’s reproductive rights are another matter you take strong moral issue with. Why? If you are so big on freedom and liberty, why oppress the freedom of women to determine the course of their lives? I’ve known women who have had abortions. It has never been a choice they made flippantly, and in many ways is the height of accountability. They will have to remain accountable to themselves for the rest of their lives.

If you are so dead set against abortion, then why not make safe, effective methods of birth control available to women, along with evidence based sex education? Those have been proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to reduce abortion numbers far more effectively than restricting access to abortions. Seriously. Do you guys live in the real world, or in some fantasy?

Before you trot out Jesus, God, and the Bible, answer me this: where in the Bible does it unambiguously say that God opposes abortion? I’ve read the whole book a couple of times through, especially the more salacious bits, of which there are many. Nowhere in the book do I find a specific and unilateral injunction against abortion. Quite the opposite in fact. In the Bible forcing a woman to miscarry (aka an abortion,) is a civil matter involving a weregild. Since I am sure you aren’t familiar with the concept of a weregild, it is a monetary remuneration for the lost life. It wasn’t an offense which called for death. It wasn’t called an abomination. It required no ritual ablutions or ritual exile to cleanse the guilty party. It was a monetary transaction. I bet you didn’t know this, but according to the Bible you love to thump so much, between the ages of birth and one month, there wasn’t even a fine for killing a child. They were to be considered ‘as water.’ Between the ages of one month and five years the weregild was reinstated: three shekels for a girl, and five shekels for a boy. The Bible is unambiguous about that.

Speaking of God and the Bible, I note that many of you are quite willing to invoke his name and his will. It is only the savage who claims to know the mind and the will of God implicitly. What we can glean of the mind of God, through the Bible is that he is a champion of the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden, and those rejected by society at large. Did Christ hang out with the wealthy, the powerful, the elite, rabbis, and the like? Nowhere in any bible I’ve read. He associated with tax collectors (traitors to their people and their faith,) whores, fishermen, lepers, beggars, Samaritans (blasphemers,) and criminals. In fact, Jesus was forced to his death by a group of devoutly pious individuals who wanted only to protect their religious freedoms. Wouldn’t it be more honest of you to identify with the Pharisees, Saducees, and the Sanhedrin? I for one would be more willing to vote for you if you were that honest with yourselves and me.

These are all the questions and comments I have for you right now. Rest assured, as your campaigns progress I will have more uncomfortable questions to ask, but ‪#‎JebBush‬ ‪#‎ScottWalker‬ ‪#‎DonaldTrump‬ ‪#‎MarcoRubio‬ ‪#‎TedCruz‬ ‪#‎LindseyGraham‬ ‪#‎CarlyFiorino‬ ‪#‎BenCarson‬ ‪#‎RandPaul‬ ‪#‎MikeHuckabee‬ ‪#‎RickSantorum‬ ‪#‎GeorgePataki‬ ‪#‎RickPerry‬ ‪#‎ChrisChristie‬ ‪#‎BobbyJindal‬ ‪#‎JohnKasich‬, if any of you have the courage to reply with concise and articulate answers to these questions I will be more than happy to read your answers with an open mind.

One last thing, and this is directed specifically at Jeb, Don, and Scott; why do you feel it is morally acceptable to use the hard work of musicians for your own self aggrandizement without first asking their permission, or offering remuneration? That is called theft, and I believe your Bible has some pretty unilateral injunctions against stealing.

A concerned voter,

Pete Rearden is a photographer, photojournalist, and opinionated commenter on America.

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the author and should not be attributed to Cognitive Relevance (CR).