"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," Obama said, in jest. "I might even tap Sasha!"
We've never had a POTUS and FLOTUS like the Obama's before, and we've never had a Trump before. Two very different presidencies, one wrought with bigotry, racism and rampant white supremacy, and scandal, the other full of hope, unity and service. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama says we need to pay attention to who is qualified in the next presidential election.
"I implored people to focus and think about what it takes to be commander-in-chief," Obama told Robin Roberts in a "20/20" interview, in reference to women electing a misogynist in 2016 instead of a qualified female candidate.
She expressed the importance of voting, but went beyond that to describe the kind of person qualified to run this country.
"The commander in chief needs to have discipline, and read, and be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words," she said.
"I'm going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren't beat up and battered," the former first lady, who said she will not run for president, stressed.
"I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve."
She even joked that at this point, anyone is qualified to run for president —even her daughter.
"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," she said on Good Morning America "I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!"
.@MichelleObama on whether Hillary Clinton should run for president in 2020: "I think at this point everybody is qualified and everybody should run. I might even tap Sasha!" https://t.co/E6lGKfK6oR pic.twitter.com/Axrvs7SDZQ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 13, 2018
Obama and her husband were about service before, during and after the presidency.
Candidates like Trump, drunk with power, have a past, present, and future that mirror that intoxication.
Coming off midterms there are questions about what to do next — investigations of Trump, what lessons did we learn articles, predictions of the 2020 election, but getting back to what a leader, a public servant of this country is supposed to do — lead by serving its people — is a message that voters can review candidate criteria with.
"It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting," she said. "People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values."
Obama explained, "Where I'm at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. Let's see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That's what the primary process is for."
In looking at Trump's record, most of his decisions have been made to serve himself. His record of cheating employees out of money, not paying taxes, discriminating against Blacks in terms of who could claim residency in his buildings, misogynistic comments, scandals around payoffs for affairs — none of it shows signs of service.
Obama writes in her new memoir "Becoming" how Trump's division and bigoted messaging tactics to garner a movement to propel his campaign impacted her own family's safety:
"The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."
In current times, his decisions in the White House usually involve a lot of divisive words to spark attention from white supremacists, "look what I did" moments on twitter for validation, and little about what the country needs, but instead what the country should be afraid of.
And that is not why you get the job in the first place.
"You try to destroy our heritage; you're tearing down monuments!" he screamed.
Thousands protested for the 11 lives lost, the two victims in Louisville, and the many more stifled by President Trump's racism and bigotry.
Trump visited the synagogue on Tuesday and left.
On Wednesday he tweeted, "The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!"
Nearly 70,000 people as of Tuesday signed the petition from the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc to demand Trump stay away from Pittsburgh.
Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, had asked Trump to reschedule his visit to respect the grieving families and funerals.
Steven Halle, a nephew of one of the victims, Daniel Stein, rejected a meeting with Trump because of his comments blaming the synagogue for not having an armed guard to stop the gunman "immediately."
"Everybody feels that they were inappropriate," Halle said of Trump's comments. "A church, a synagogue, should not be a fortress. It should be an open, welcoming place to feel safe," he continued.
But Trump didn't care and came for his photo ops, and to promote Republican candidate Keith Rothfus via Twitter:
Yesterday in Pittsburgh I was really impressed with Congressman Keith Rothfus (far more so than any other local political figure). His sincere level of compassion, grief and sorrow for the events that took place was, in its own way, very inspiring. Vote for Keith!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Trump told Fox News on Monday night:
"I'm also going to the hospital to see the officers and some of the people that were so badly hurt," Trump said. "I really look forward to going. I would have done it even sooner, but I didn't want to disrupt any more than they already had disruption."
But his visit was drowned out by thousands who took to the streets of the city to protest, marching toward the synagogue, singing songs, and holding signs that said, ""Refugees Are Not Invaders," "Pittsburgh Builds Bridges Not Walls" and "Pittsburgh Welcomes All Who Don't Hate."
"It's an unbelievable image that we're looking at. These are peaceful protesters, walking along, grieving about the tragic death of 11 of their neighbors in a synagogue on Saturday, and protesting the presence of Donald Trump, the president, in their community today." pic.twitter.com/AuZbQxIq0o
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 30, 2018
Tuesday evening, Tracy Baton, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Women's March on Washington, stood on the steps of the Sixth Presbyterian Church and spoke to thousands:
Those who "would insert themselves on a national stage, into a city in mourning, before the dead are buried, is unacceptable," she said. "Those that would limit our neighbors' vote, that would foment hate against the Jewish community, Muslim community, people of color, LGBTQ people, as well as wage a war on women's bodies, are not welcome here!"
Jewish group IfNotNow organized a protest and sat shiva. Organizer and Pittsburgh resident Diana Clarke told the crowd, "We are here to mourn the 11 Jewish people who were killed on Saturday. We are here to mourn the two black people who were
shot by a white nationalist in Louisville, Kentucky, last week."
"I think that Donald Trump represents white nationalism and white supremacy, and that has no place in the mourning lives lost to exactly those systems that his administration upholds," Clarke told HuffPost.
"We have people who can't sit shiva because you're blocking our streets!" the Rev. Susan Rothenberg, a Presbyterian minister screamed at Trump when he arrived. "These people can't grieve! You're causing them pain!"
She continued, "You only care about you! You are not welcome on my street! These are my neighbors that were killed! You are not welcome in Squirrel Hill! Do you understand that?"
Public outcry opens dialogue.
Being gay is not against any rule.
Bigoted NYC Uber driver Ahmad El Boutari said his two female passengers kissing was "disrespectful" and "illegal," and after kicking them out of his car, he grabbed one of them by the arm to stop her from filming the incident.
Unproven criminal allegations of inmates was justice enough for Sessions.
On Friday, the Trump administration eliminated the Obama administration's protections over transgender inmates, putting a vulnerable population back at risk for sexual abuse/assault. Housing and bathroom assignments were originally to match up with gender identity, but now will be appropriated by biological sex.
Martin Luther King has been dead for 50 years and Donald Trump is our president. Who is responsible?
We will be deluged by Martin Luther King articles and columns today. Some will be excellent, like the one Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote. But most will be saccharine sweet and not say what needs to be said.
"Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other Black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters," owners of Cook's Garage said in a Facebook post.
A neon sign from a 1920s restaurant called the "Coon Chicken Inn" contains a caricature of a Black man, with the name of the restaurant in his mouth. In 2017, the owners of Cook's Garage, a restaurant in predominantly white Lubbock, Texas, think it's appropriate to hang the racist sign in their establishment and call it "Americana History."
After white Nazis march on Charlottesville, a white man shoots 500 people in Las Vegas and another white man slaughters 26 people in a Texas church, the white people running the FBI and DOJ are concerned about "Black Identity Extremism."
A new anti-Black acronym has popped up on conservative media — and Breitbart didn't invent it; the FBI did: Black Identity Extremism.
Here is a link to the FBI document. Given the fact that there are no nonwhite people in FBI leadership, and that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III had to admit to Rep. Richmond, "I do not have a senior staff member at this time that's an African American," it's understandable that this document reads like fiction. It reaches back into decades-old stories and concocts a threat that simply isn't supported by facts.
Have you ever heard of the Indian fable of the blind travelers and the elephant? Six blind travelers describe an elephant from the perspective of each feeling a different part of one. Each traveler has a correct description of the part that they felt, but none of them were able to describe an elephant accurately.
What the white men in the Department of Justice and the FBI can describe from direct knowledge are other white men. That leads us to a place where we have two white male mass murderers inside of five weeks, both using the same kind of assault rifle, and no FBI warning of any kind. No talk of White Identity Extremism, even in the immediate aftermath of Nazis marching in Charlottesville.
In fact, our befuddled attorney general had to be prompted — twice — by Rep. Karen Bass to recall White Identity Extremist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. And he admitted that "I am not aware of that" when asked if the FBI had done a report on such White Identity Extremists. You should watch this video.
Let's think about Black Identity Extremism and White Identity Extremism. BIE seeks equity in criminal justice and raises awareness in peaceful protest (like football players taking a knee); WIE seeks a return to pre-Civil War conditions of white supremacy.
WIE has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and cultivates loners like Dylann Roof to carry out its murderous extremism. BIE seeks a fair shake in employment, compensation, voting and access to capital.
The FBI report is a disgrace. Our attorney general is a disgrace. The president and his nearly all white male administration is a disgrace. Roy Moore is a disgrace. They are all linked together and that is a WIE disgrace.
Credibility is at the core of a successful diversity management effort. Secretary Tillerson provides a teachable moment.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is speaking about race as I write this. Humiliated by his boss, he's trying his best to sound like a nice guy who doesn't believe that Nazis and people who oppose Nazis are equivalent. He is going to try a diversity effort at the State Department.
He's making some classic mistakes. When a white man says "regardless of" race/gender/orientation/disability — look out, they don't mean what they're going to say next. If we are addressing existing disparities, it is never regardless of; it is because of. "Regardless of" dismisses the person you're referring to. It assumes a neutrality a white man like Tillerson simply doesn't have. Was Tillerson able to become the CEO of Exxon regardless of the fact that he was from Texas, an engineer and a white man? The person who succeeded Tillerson at Exxon is from Texas, has an engineering degree and is a white man, not an Asian woman with a nursing degree. If you cannot start the conversation with honesty, insight and clarity, you will never have the credibility to earn a successful conclusion.
He also quoted "my friend" Condoleezza Rice with another classic phrase of (perhaps well-meaning) clueless people: "It doesn't matter where you came from." Oh yes it does — especially for the State Department. Where you come from is going to shape your point of view and how you approach problems and solutions. I would think that the State Department should especially desire differences of where people come from (even from within the United States). When you dismiss people and their backgrounds with "it doesn't matter," you fail to honor or respect who they are. Not the basis to start a relationship. Certainly not the way to get the maximum productivity and advantage out of the differences — if you fail to recognize them as assets.
Secretary Tillerson is also describing diversity management initiatives that are very 20 years ago. The "Rooney Rule" for senior positions is just foolish if you're limited to promoting from within and your organization has not developed talent equitably. You are never going to be successful if you don't have goals, the means to accomplish them, an executive diversity council to oversee the efforts and the guts to hold specific people accountable.
After we have all recently seen white male behavior in Charlottesville and subsequent white male behavior from the president of the United States (the stereotype stings, but that's how most non-white, non-male people see it), white male leaders need to be very careful in their communications and efforts. The level of scrutiny, distrust and frustration has never been greater. I recommend white men be well-read and well-informed. It is offensive to assume the imprimatur over a diversity effort simply because you are/were a CEO, just as it would be offensive to go to MIT with your 40-year-old engineering degree and start teaching 400 level math. Start with books: "Chokehold," "Slavery By Another Name," "The New Jim Crow," "White Rage" and "My Bondage and My Freedom."
Engage in honest dialogue, perhaps through your resource groups, with people who don't look like you and are not from your privileged background. Listen more than you speak in those encounters. Understand it may take some time for people to trust you enough to be honest with you. Have (and express) some humility for your ignorance — you will find it received with great warmth and acceptance. Remember that actions speak louder than words; volunteer in places where you may pick up some first-hand experience and knowledge.
I wish Secretary Tillerson success, but I'm not betting on it.
Georgia education assistant superintendent jokes about lynching, Muslims, Gay people and nonwhite students.
Teachers and police assumed 14-year-old's science project was a bomb; his family insists the assumption was based on the boy's name being Mohamed and date being close to Sept.11.
When news broke on Wednesday that a 14-year-old Muslim boy in Texas had been suspended from school and arrested based on bigoted assumptions, social media went crazy. Hashtags were created and more than a million tweets were posted. By day's end President Barack Obama had invited the boy to the White House, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he'd love to meet him, Twitter had offered him an internship, and Google invited him to the company's science fair.