FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiSunday, June 18, 2017
ubochit@hotmail.de
Bonn, Germany

THE SHOOTING IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA: TIME TO HEAL THE WOUNDS OF TRUMP'S ELECTION (PICTORIAL)

We will use this occasion as one that brings us together, and not separates us further (House of Reps. Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi)

We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. And an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us (Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan)

Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms (Senator Bernie Sanders, whose campaign the gunman volunteered for in 2016)

This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy. Mr. President, every day we are having a gun debate because every day 90 people in our country die from gun violence. Many of them are kids (Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.))

irst of all, let me congratulate Donald J, Trump on his Birthday (June 14, 1946). Even though I'm a critic of his, as president, I like him as a person. I wish him all the best, and do hope he will prove some of us, who wrote him off, as a presidential material, wrong, some day.

It's an irony that on his Birthday, a gunman went on a shooting spree, targeting his fellow GOP lawmakers. A bad omen!

A little about Trump's early life: The dailymail describes him as a pint-sized bully who loved to pull girls' hair and once lobbed rocks at a toddler in his playpen. A loud-mouthed classroom know-all who could never admit he was wrong and boasted of giving the music teacher a black eye. And a sporting show-off who yearned to hear the crowd's applause . . . but who would smash his baseball bat in fury if he didn't win.

Arrogant, over-bearing, thin-skinned, determined, and not exactly great with the ladies - does this portrait of a child growing up in Fifties suburban New York sound like a certain grown-up (well, sort of grown-up) currently strutting the world stage?

It was Aristotle who said 'Give me the child until he's seven and I will show you the man', and Donald Trump, now 71, would certainly agree. The 45th U.S. President insists he's much the same character now as he was when he was in junior school.

According to Trump Revealed, a new biography compiled by Washington Post journalists who spoke to dozens of people who knew Trump as a child, he's not wrong. The psychological resemblance is uncanny, and not a little disconcerting.


Angelic: But little Donald Trump (above) would soon go on to become quite the bully (below).

Born in June 1946, Trump was the fourth of five children to Fred Trump, a ruthless Queens builder and property developer, and his Scottish-born wife, Mary, an immigrant who had fled poverty on the Isle of Lewis and met Fred at a dance in New York. Trump Sr. was a dour, authoritarian patriarch who dressed in a jacket and tie even at home.

A workaholic, he was already very rich by the time Donald arrived. They lived in a 23-room, red-brick, mock Georgian mansion in the well-to-do Jamaica Estates neighbourhood of Queens.

Anybody who knows Trump personally would attest that he's a happening guy, but that's different from being a good president. Even though I like him personally, I still see Trump as not possessing what it takes to be a president: It has nothing to do with money, age or education, but, character. Just as the WP noted, Trump's name is on skyscrapers, casinos, country clubs, neckties, jewelry, cologne, a shelf-full of books, a self-proclaimed "university," a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - and official portraits throughout the Oval Office. He has five children by three different wives; he hosted a long-running television show and sponsored golf tournaments, beauty pageants and championship fights. He ran a magazine and an airline. He has sent out more tweets than all the high school juniors in the United States put together. And he's ordered airstrikes on a Syrian airbase. Yes, President Trump has lived a very full life up till now, and as he turns 71 on June 14, he's leading an administration through one of the most tumultuous periods in recent presidential history (leading America into the gutter).

On a more important note: My heart, thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of the shoot out, when a gunman, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, opened fire on Republican members of Congress on a baseball field, on Wednesday morning, June 14 (a member of Congress, two Capitol Hill police officers and a couple of staffers were among the wounded). The congressional representatives were practicing for a charity baseball game against Democrats that still went on, on Thursday, June 15, as a show of unity, strength and resilience. As noted above, at least five people, including House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, were wounded at the baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

I don't support violence for any reason. Even though Trump and his Party members are creating the hatred that wants to consume America; but that shouldn't be an excuse for anybody to do anything weird, or try to take other people's lives. Violence of any kind is never justified, and is the last refuge of the incompetent. Unfortunately, some people are so aggrieved by the kind of politics going on in Washington that they have lost control of their emotion. If not for Trump, tell me how a man, who was 66, could have done such a heinous thing?

It was reported that James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, the suspect in the shooting at the congressional ballgame practice, who died from his injuries after being taken to a hospital that Wednesday morning, was highly critical of President Trump and other Republican leaders on social media. The suspect's brother said he was distraught over Trump's election.

He was out to kill the Republicans, and must have been hanging out waiting for the chance to strike; and to get his real targets, he even asked whether the baseball players were Republicans or Democrats shortly before the shooting. It was discovered that he had a list of Republican names in his pocket that was recovered by the FBI. The Independent reports that shortly he opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon - spraying as many as 50 or 60 bullets - the suspected shooter, approached one of those present and asked about their political affiliation.

The WP confirmed that in a series of letters to his local newspaper, Hodgkinson repeatedly blasted Republican lawmakers for favoring the "super rich." His Facebook page features anti-Trump rhetoric, including a recent post that reads: "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co." According to the Belleville News-Democrat, he wrote frequent letters to the editor between 2008 and 2012, criticizing Republicans' tax policies. Hodgkinson wrote in 2012: "I have never said 'life sucks,'", "only the policies of the Republicans." The Republican lawmaker who represented Hodgkinson's hometown said he was "always angry" about the GOP agenda, but "never crossed the line."

It's unbelievable that a man of Hodgkinson's age could be so harmful to others, if not for the way Trump has been running America. Violent clashes between left-wing and right-wing groups at rallies and protests around the country have increased since the election of President Donald Trump in November. Infact, because of Trump, Democratic and Republican voters now hate each other with passion. Americans have become more polarized in recent years, particularly since the divisive 2016 presidential election campaign.

As lawmakers search for a new tone in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats eyed President Trump as a necessary part of the solution Thursday, saying he has the power - and even the duty - to lead a change in the conversation. And according to the Washington Times, Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C, a fellow Republican, blamed Trump by saying that he's partially responsible 'for the demons that have been unleashed'. According to Rep. Mark Sanford, President Trump is "partially to blame" for the hostile, polarized environment that led to the Wednesday's shooting. Sanford said these in an interview on MSNBC: "I would argue the president has unleashed, partially, again not in any way totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed". He continued, paraphrasing remarks Trump made at a campaign rally last year: "The fact is you've got the top guy saying 'Well I wish I could hit you in the face and if not, why don't you and I'll pay your legal fees,' that's bizarre. We ought to call it as such."

Sanford said he's witnessed voters at townhalls, including one held at a senior center, hurling insults at each other and will often ask, "What is going on?" They'll say, 'if the guy at the top can say anything to anybody at any time, why can't I?'" Sanford said: "I think we all need to look for ways to learn from what happened."

The South Carolina Republican said Congress is at an "inflection point" and needs to be aware of the "forces at play" that could leave society in a "very bad spot." Sanford continued: "There is some heavy soul-searching going on right now because it was so dramatic and because it was so out of the ordinary and because people realized were it not for those two Capitol Hill police, it would've been a bloodbath."

Some members of Congress are asking for more security in their homes, communities and offices after the shooting incident. Many of the lawmakers said that they're getting death threats; some had their offices vandalized; and one even had a female constituent of his pursue him all around with her car, wanting to hit him. Just only an example here because of space and time:

The CBS News reports that a House Republican received a threatening email to her congressional office Wednesday following the shooting at the Republicans' practice for Thursday's congressional baseball game. The lawmaker, Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New York, received an email with the subject line: "One down, 216 to go…," according to a screenshot of the email provided by Tenney's office. The body of the email read: "Do you NOT expect this? When you take away ordinary peoples very lives in order to pay off the wealthiest among us, your own lives are forfeit. Certainly, your souls and morality were lost long before. Good riddance." Tenney's spokeswoman, Hannah Andrews, said her office receives similar threats all the time, but Andrews said, "This was particularly disturbing and disheartening given this morning's tragic events." Capitol Police have been informed about the threat, Andrews said.

On Tenney's official Facebook page, someone recently also posted a threatening comment aimed at her son, an active duty U.S. Marine currently deployed to the Middle East. The Memorial Day post said, "Waiting on your son to come back bagged," according to a screenshot provided by Tenney's office. Tenney, who was a supporter of President Donald Trump's campaign, said this is not the first time she has received a threat. People have walked into her local office and said "I hope you die," she told CNN. Tenney was elected to the House last November and previously served as a member of the New York State Assembly.

But why are so many lawmakers, most especially the GOP members, refusing to support a stricter gun control laws? Many of them voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Now, they want more security for themselves, but what of the ordinary citizens, who are vulnerable because of the loose gun control laws which make it possible for everybody, even the mentally retarded, to acquire firearm easily. The point is that the lawmakers, especially the GOP members, are the problems, and have created the chaos in the country. Let them live through it, just like every other American, to know how it feels.

The Republicans in Congress should act now, because nobody knows whose life will be on the line next. Many have been wasted because of lousy gun control laws. Now's the time for Congress to tighten things up! The AP reports that on the day that gunfire shattered the morning calm of suburban Washington, dozens of family members of those killed by past gun violence had gathered in the capital to lobby against Republican-backed legislation to make it easier to buy gun silencers.

Gabrielle Giffords was a Rep. Member before she was shot in the head while meeting with constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011. Six people died in that shooting, including Gabe Zimmerman, who served as Giffords' community outreach director. She and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, have spent the years, following her shooting, advocating for stricter gun control laws. The couple founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group that works to raise awareness of gun violence. They aren't getting the support they need. Hopefully, this incident will be the turning point that will ginger the lawmakers into supporting their former colleague, by helping in enacting laws which will make it possible to keep guns out of as many hands as possible. Instead of the Republicans blaming the democrats for the problems they caused themselves, they should start taking charge of their oversight functions and discharge them without any fear or favor, rather than covering up for Trump.

There's so much anger everywhere in America; and it seems the lawmakers have forgotten why they were sent to Washington. The country needs to unite, and the politicians should start the process, because they caused the problems. The L.A Times noted that the targeted shooting of Republican lawmakers at play yielded a kaleidoscope of emotions Wednesday - anger, revulsion, horror - but little in the way of surprise. The attack almost seemed a natural, if sick, extension of the virulence that surrounds the country's increasingly tribal politics. As if to prove it, events quickly settled into a familiar pattern: finger-pointing, blame-laying, partisan positioning. People today don't just disagree. They've grown to hate the other side, from President Donald Trump on down; not necessarily over issues or ideology, which can be debated or leavened by compromise, but rather as an outgrowth of a deeper pathology - a contempt toward people for merely existing. Marc Hetherington, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University said "It's hard to suggest it's an ideological conflict. What it's all about is bad feelings." He cited studies showing Republicans say they hate Democrats more than they hate atheists, and Democrats hate Republicans more than they despise religious fundamentalists.

The Reuters noted that the shooting has raised questions about lawmakers' security, renewed the nation's contentious debate over guns and drawn new attention to the harsh rhetoric that reflects America's political polarization. Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford political scientist, said to NYT: "But in the modern era, there are no 'ifs' and 'buts' - partisan animus is at an all-time high." Elected officials in Congress have moved further apart. Democrats and Republicans truly think worse of each other, a trend that isn't really about policy preferences. Members of the two parties are more likely today to describe each other unfavorably, as selfish, as threats to the nation, even as unsuitable marriage material.

A part of the problem is that Americans are less likely to have the kind of interpersonal contact across party lines that can dampen harsh beliefs about each other. Neighborhoods, workplaces, households and even online dating lives have become politically homogeneous. Voters are less likely today to have neighbors who belong to another party than they were a half century ago. Bipartisan marriages are on the decline.

Winding up, I implore President Trump to start leading from the front. He has spewed out so much hatred, from the campaign time till now. Trump is a major supporter of the type of violence that led to this in the first place. It was wrong when candidate Trump advocated violence at rallies to show people a lesson, or when he said 'I could shoot someone on Fifth Ave. and my approval would go up'

Let this ugly incident be a catalyst for positive change in politics and government; and just in the words of Rep. Mike Doyle, the Pennsylvania congressman, and the Democratic baseball team's manager: "when the leadership of this country is civil towards one another, maybe the public will start being civil towards one another too, and the news media will be civil towards members of Congress and the public. And we can change the mood in this country, so people don't get filled up with this type of hatred".

We're being told that U.S. Representative Steve Scalise's condition has improved but still remains critical. I pray that he pulls through. Just like everyone is saying now; let this shooting bring about a change of attitude in politicians and ordinary citizens of America. It's time for everybody to tone down the rhetoric, and just as Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the conservative Family Research Council, attacked by a gunman in 2012 over his opposition to same-sex marriage, said: "This is an opportunity for a fresh start for everybody in a position of leadership, all the way up to the president".

The divisive politics of the moment in Washington D.C. following the rise of President Trump must change. What the Republican controlled Congress should do is to jettison partisan politics, and then support the investigations against Trump and his campaign, which have so divided America, so that those investigations would move fast and be over as soon as possible, either exonerating Trump or indicting him. Americans want to move on, with or without Donald Trump, in peace, liberty, equality, and the brotherhood of man.

TIT BITS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2NXv9RL1i8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLzxrzFCyOs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPYZpwSpKmA

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