Uprisings: A New Deal?

By : Billy Manes
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On the last day of February, our national leader and television star Donald Trump launched his congressional speech with a nod to his wife and to Black History Month, attempting, apparently, to launch a new narrative about the Trump presidency, one that doesn’t involve salacious groping and Twitter accounts.

“Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” he said with all the gall of a teenage actor.“ Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

This newfound posturing – which, of course, is still shadowed in late night tweets accusing the media of failing him – rang true with a number of doubters, and for that we should be disturbed. There was nothing in Trump’s Feb. 28 speech that would reach beyond an eighth-grade social studies book; there was nothing in the speech which would inspire empathy for a clothes-less emperor; there is nothing in that speech other than a “torch” that will likely flame out.

Of course we want to respect our nation’s executive office and the person sitting there next to that button or phone or Congress, and we want our kids to, as well. But this pandering has to stop. It’s almost more tiresome than the “You’re fired” memes that trail Trump like so many snowflakes. This attempt at recreating a narrative of civil rights under someone who does not support actual civil rights is an insult to America, an insult to the people knocking on doors, an insult to the LGBT community. Frankly, it’s bad acting on bad writing (which was clearly crafted by someone else).

“Dying industries will come roaring back to life,” he said. “Heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need. Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve. Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land.”

Wait, which New Deal is this?

Oh, the one where immigrants are refused entry because of the absence of “proper vetting.” It’s the one that loves the deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, even though he disparaged the LGBTQ community during the marriage battle. It’s the one that wants to give tax breaks to the rich while simultaneously taxing the poor.

You’ve heard it all before. Just don’t believe him. Please. These are going to be a troublesome few years, and we’ll need each other to get by. Stay strong. Plant a tree. Make some feelings that are distant from the political maneuvers in the dark. We need you.

UpRising_JohnStembergerStemberger blunder

As if there weren’t enough bad news traversing the virtual transom, Boy Scouts-survivor and friend to no one John Stemberger was named to the state Constitutional Review Commission last week. You may recall Stemberger as the loudest Florida voice against LGBTQ marriage or as a blowhard presiding over the Florida Family Policy Council in all issues that matter to the community. You may just want to roll your eyes, but this is terrifying.

“We are extremely disappointed to find out that [House] Speaker Richard Corcoran has appointed extremist John Stemberger – someone who slanders LGBTQ people and attacks us and our families – to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission,” Equality Florida said in a statement.

Stemberger – who refers to the gay community as the “LGBT Mafia” – actively goes after any LGBTQ policy waved in front of the legislature. The CRC, to which Stemberger now belongs, only meets once every 20 years and will convene after this year’s legislative session.

legislatureSession time again!

On March 7, legislators gathered together to hold hands and speak peacefully about policy that matters to Floridians. Or, on March 7, legislators went to Tallahassee to proffer favors and make a mess of state issues. Whichever way you see it, the session is on!

There’s so much mess going on this year given that conservatives have taken over the entire estate nationally, but things that we’ll be keeping an eye on include HB 17, which will force local municipalities to curtsy to the state in order to make changes reflective of their region possible.

“But I think that ultimately the state needs to be the protector of those rights of the individuals and corporations,” House Speaker Corcoran said, according to WLRN. “And when the locals are overstepping their bounds, it is absolutely within the right and the jurisdiction of the states – as our founders intended – to rein that in.”

andrew_gillum_official_photoGillum aims for the left

The laundry list of potential Democratic replacements for Republican Governor Rick Scott continues to grow and shift; John Morgan, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Gwen Graham, Kathy Castor and even Grant Hill are on the “maybe” list. Last week, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum declared that he was indeed in it to win it, and he raced straight to Bernie town.

“Gillum was charter member when our caucus was founded in 2011, and he participated in our Building the Democratic Bench panel during Leadership Blue last year,” Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida president Susan Smith told the Tampa Bay Times last week. “We are excited to have the opportunity to introduce Andrew to our new members as he begins his run for governor.”

Gillum leans heavily to the left on issues including labor, civil rights and LGBTQ rights.

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