Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Eloquence of Dan Rather

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Sunday morning, after our national embarrassment was safely back in the White House, Donald Trump resumed his passion:  tweeting.  With thumbs flying, The Donald banged out twenty-some tweets covering a range of things which he deemed important:  things like the "success" of his first foreign trip as a national leader, the Republican victory in the Montana special election - as well as his anger over the media's "poor" coverage of that election, complaints about "fake news," anger over leaks of British intelligence, tax reform plans, and the media's complaints about his social media usage - a fair sampling of Trump's standard whine.

Several news outlets were quick to point out what Trump ignored - the killing of two men in Portland, Oregon, as they interceded to stop a lunatic who was shouting profanities at a couple of young girls, one of whom appeared to be a Muslim.  Some noted that while Trump is always quick to highlight acts of hate committed by Muslims, he appeared to be ignoring an example of the situation reversed.

Donald Trump has two Twitter accounts:  one, his private account and the one he mostly uses is @realDonaldTrump, and a second, one which can be accessed by him or members of his staff is @POTUS.  Yesterday afternoon (Monday) the Portland oversight was finally corrected with an acknowledgement of the incident on the @POTUS, a tweet that could have been coughed up by a staff member.

One of the things that was undoubtedly instrumental in pressuring a response from the Trump administration was an open letter to Trump that was penned by veteran newsman Dan Rather.   The ageless reporter spoke for all of America when he wrote:

Dear President Trump,

Their names were Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best. One was a recent college graduate. The other was an army veteran and father of four. I wish we would hear you say these names, or even just tweet them. They were brave Americans who died at the hands of someone who, when all the facts are collected, we may have every right to call a terrorist. A third brave man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, was wounded in the knife attack.

This story may not neatly fit into a narrative you pushed on the campaign trail and that has followed you into the White House. They were not killed by an undocumented immigrant or a "radical Islamic terrorist." They were killed in an act of civic love, facing down a man allegedly spewing hate speech directed at two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab. That man seems to have a public record of "extremist ideology" - a term issued by the Portland Police Bureau.

This "extremism" may be of a different type than gets most of your attention, or even the attention in the press. But that doesn't make it any less serious, or deadly. And this kind of "extremism" is on the rise, especially in the wake of your political ascendency. Most people who study these sorts of things do not think that is a coincidence. I do not blame you directly for this incident. Nor do I think other people should. But what a President says, who he has around him, and the tone he sets can set the tone for the nation at large.

Perhaps Portland, Oregon is off your radar. It is, after all, a rather liberal place. It's even a "sanctuary city." But it is still an American city. And you are its President. Two Americans have died leaving family and friends behind. They are mourned by millions more who are also deeply worried about what might come next.

I hope you can find it worthy of your time to take notice.

In the end, Trump, or more likely one of his staffers, did take notice and posted a comment.  It was the least that could be done.

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