Posts tagged with "donald j. trump"

The Arts And Humanities In Trumps World

Editors Note: This piece was also featured in DCReport

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

When it comes to the state of the Arts and the Humanities under Donald Trump’s administration, not much has changed other than his lack of action, his proposals to eliminate all funding for the independent federal funding agencies and his refusal to attend major cultural events.

The four new board members Trump said he would appoint to the National Council on the Arts were finally announced earlier this month. They are; Charles Wickser Banta of New York, Michelle Itczak of Indiana, Barbara Coleen Long of Missouri and Carleton Varney of Massachusetts. If these nominees are in line with Trump’s personal palate for art, Americans for the arts and humanities should prepare for the Scott Pruitt’s and Betsy DeVos’s of the art world. Funding for the arts hasn’t changed by much, but that’s only because Congress voted to restore money for the programs in the 2018 spending bill.  Trump’s proposed budget would have phased out all arts and humanities funding.

Victoria Hutter, spokesperson for National Endowment for the Arts, said “all of the NEA’s major funding programs have remained the same or seen slight increases.”  That’s true for now for the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Trump shows no interest in arts and culture. He skipped the Kennedy Center Honors, hasn’t given out any NEA or NEH awards, and became the first American president to suggest eliminating NEA and NEH all together. Lady Bird Johnson probably said it best, “Art is the window to man’s soul…” never mind. That may not be the best quote to use when it comes to Trump and the arts considering his attempt to undermine its importance in American society. Lady Bird’s quote, though poignant, clearly doesn’t cover Trump’s “soul window” because his window is covered with gold colored tin foil.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) joined the National Council for the Arts earlier this year. In addition to set functions and advisory roles, members are tasked with recommending individuals and organizations to receive the National Medal of Arts, a prestigious Presidential award. She said, “It’s clear from his repeated proposals to eliminate funding for both agencies that President Trump doesn’t appreciate the important work of the NEA and NEH or understand the incredible value they bring to our communities. That’s disheartening to see, especially because funding for these two agencies is such a miniscule part of the federal budget. But the loss of funding would be felt hard throughout the country. That said, I think the Trump era has shown that the arts and humanities do have allies in Congress—Democrats as well as Republicans. Twice he has proposed eliminating funding and twice it has been denied. This year, Congress actually gave NEA and NEH funding a $3 million increase. And for next year, the House has approved an additional $2 million increase on top of that.”

Bipartisan Congressional support for continued arts and humanities spending was on display just last week in amendments to the Interior Appropriations bill, which funds both agencies. A member introduced an amendment to reduce the two budgets by 15 percent—or $23 million each. The proposed budget cuts failed by a vote of 297-114.

Trump’s lack of interest or value of the Arts and Humanities isn’t a surprise considering his character and boorish behavior. But his attempts to destroy the national endowments for the arts and humanities should be of concern to anyone who considers the arts and culture valuable parts of our American identity.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Trump! The Global Shaming Of America

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

America is being shamed by the world. And it’s all thanks to President Donald J. Trump and his clan. It’s clear, we have an unusual leader at the helm. Unfortunately, the helm is leader of the free world and that’s terrifying af. It’s rare when the world speaks with one voice. And right now it’s chanting loud and clear across Europe, “We hate you Donald Trump, Go Away!” Even the State Department is cautioning Americans abroad to keep a low profile. And, believe it or not, the word Trump actually means Big Fat Problem Baby in Na’vi! That’s why they made a huge baby Trump float to “welcome” him. It’s true.

But, in all seriousness, the take away from this stance is positive and negative. It’s uplifting to know that most people, world-wide, don’t want to blur the lines that separate right and wrong for greed’s sake. This collective stance against Trump and all he represents—arguably, the worst of mankind—makes the negative response to his visit even more poignant, especially on the heels of countless terror attacks in the region and a wave of anti-immigration moves from the top down. I mean for God’s sake, Brexit happened!

On the other hand, it’s deeply disappointing to see the man who represents us as Americans not only behave badly in all social situations but is pushing to advance policies that divide and weaken us here and abroad. Rather than move us forward as a world that stands as one and beholden to goals rooted in humanity and prosperity, Trump is trashing his opportunity to make the world a better place for all of us. And that includes taking care of planet earth, allowing future generations to experience the miracle of life, nature and the universe.

With a decreased status as the world’s super power, thanks to China’s hot dragon breath behind our neck, America is perceptibly floating on “the Nile” River tap dancing away like Fred Astaire because the show must go on despite what’s at stake; nuclear war. President Trump’s performance at the G7 Summit in Europe didn’t go any better than his current visit across the pond. Remember the iconic photo of the G7 leaders looking down at the petulant child-man with all the power? I’m still embarrassed.

But seriously, is he that clueless and unprofessional?! Leaving the queen waiting? … Walking in front of her and just embarrassing himself and by default, the rest of us decent and good Americans? The. Queen. Of. England. Had. To. Stop. And. Go. Around. Him. While. He. Was. Puffing. His. Chest. And. Chin. Out. I cringed watching him walk with his chest inflated, chin up in the air and that ever present stupid, and spoiled, jerky brat look on his face. Keep in mind, Trump goes out of his way to treat women poorly. His lack of respect of the queen is right in line with what he embodies; misogyny. From refusing to shake hands with Angela Merkel, throwing skittles at her, insulting and rating women’s looks and boasting that he can get away with sexual assault. When it comes to modern social norms, Trump is revealing that manners and respect for others didn’t matter in his household when he was growing up. Only he did; shame on his parents.

And considering his hostile policies targeting immigration, you’d think his family never migrated here from one of the countries protesting his European visit; Scotland. His mother migrated to the U.S. from Scotland, paving the way for the life he now lives. Nevertheless, the hypocrisy that keeps him afloat is astounding. His current and third wife, First Lady Melania Trump is accused of lying on her own visa application… It’s hard to think back to her appearance on Larry King Live to support the birther movement to discredit Obama’s birth certificate. She clearly hiked Mount Audacity in Pandora…

The blatant racism, bad behavior, hypocrisy, bold-faced lying and shameful unprofessionalism from this family and the entire administration is astounding and dangerous because it sets the tone of normalcy and precedent for our nation, the world and future leaders.

From Britain to Scotland, people have taken to the streets to voice their disdain for Trump. And yet he doesn’t care that the world hates him and all he represents; American greed and culture. The world can literally see Trump … chosen “democratically”… grabbing America and the rest of the world “by the pussy” and we can’t move his little hand away.

Our democracy is hanging in balance and Trump, propped up by his supporters and enablers couldn’t care less. Why? Because they want to win; even though the prize is debasing American values.

The press plays a crucial role inflating the Trump blimp. Being their bread and butter makes coverage of him and his family increasingly disheartening. And, at times even laughable if there wasn’t so much at stake, making the laughter morph into instant pain and concern. World renowned expert on culture, Edgar H. Schein says culture is very hard if not impossible to change. But in the age of Trump one can argue that American culture is rapidly changing right in front of our eyes. Thanks Trump!

Partisanship is part of the fabric that formed our country. As a nation, we will never see eye-to-eye on how to govern ourselves or lead the world. But that’s what makes us innovative and progressive people. That’s why we have three branches of government, the Constitution and Bill of Rights to ensure our cooperation and coexistence with one another; a diverse people working to overcome a painful past and striving for racial, civil and economic equality. Unfortunately, the hive that accompanies Trump are like biblical locusts dead set on destroying everything in front of them. Who knew Roe v. Wade would be in jeopardy after all this time?! Don’t be surprised when bible thumping conservative lawmakers call for segregation across the land as they work to weaken the working class.

The election of President Obama revealed a dormant racist underbelly anxious to rear its ugly head; an attempt to reverse racial progress. And everything was Obama’s fault. Even rain couldn’t escape being blamed on the man. The trend, “Thanks Obama!” became fodder. Lawmakers at the highest levels of government were more interested in seeing him fail than move the country forward together. It’s those race-obscured blinders that has us waste deep in Russian election meddling today. A serious national security threat. Trump deflecting his involvement with Russia in swaying the election by pointing fingers at Obama is not only par for the course, it’s telling of the continued partisanship that has crippled our democracy.

Trump shames us at home and he shames us abroad. And his party remains silently complicit while feverishly turning the wheel of progress backward to fit a country and world that only values those with golden toilets. The wealthy, the ignorant and the racists among us are the only ones benefiting from Trump. And, the indictment of 12 Russians accused of tampering with the 2016 presidential election won’t phase him or his supporters. This, despite publicly being asked by Trump to hack our security system. Sadly, their “Make America Great Again” slogan touting patriotism as their rationale for standing behind the antithesis of what a great American actually looks like, lives on. Josiah Gilbert Holland once said, “The soul, like the body, lives by what it feeds on.” Perhaps it’s Trump’s glutinous soul diet that needs an overhaul for him to become the human being this world needs. But, I won’t hold my breath while I cringe.  Thanks Trump!

 

America’s Role In The Manifestation of Donald J. Trump

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

The Women’s March on Washington by all account, except perhaps President Donald J. Trump’s, was enormously successful. The event drew crowds from across the country and the world in solidarity against arguably the most controversial and despised figure on the planet right now; President Trump. Across the spectrum, outrage usually followed by ridicule over his rhetoric, views, policy positions and vision for the country has plagued the 45th president of the United States since the start of his campaign for the highest office and leader of the free world. Despite promising to make the country great again, draining the political swamp in DC and putting America first on everything—promises that any sound American would welcome with open arms, especially when considering the public’s view on politicians in general—Trump is still failing miserably to win the hearts and minds of most Americans. And the Women’s March on Washington was a clear indication of these shared sentiments.

Out of the gate, the new administration is feeling the heat from the media and the public following the two press conferences held by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who managed to make things worse by presenting the public with what, Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway dubbed “alternative facts” about the inauguration numbers and other petty Trumpisms.  Trump’s recent executive orders to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP), reinstating the Global Gag Rule, like former president George W. Bush did back in 2001, and imposing a federal hiring freeze similar to another president; Ronald Reagan, are campaign promises being kept. Whether his actions will lead to his “bigly” vision of making America great again has yet to be seen, nonetheless, Americans of all walks of life, including the international community, is anxiously bracing for the next four years of a Trump presidency.

All the same, the American public’s outrage over Trump’s election is baffling considering the evolution of American culture, values, and moral compass. Considering our modern culture, one would have to accept that as a nation, we are exactly where we put ourselves. From our fascinations and obsessions with scandals of all kinds, the sexualisation of women, our inability to not glorify violence in any form we see fit, including our appetite for all things plastic, easy and immediate, collectively we must all take responsibility for our role in the manifestation of Trump’s America. If you buy into the cheapening of our culture, you support—willingly or not—the creation of Trump.

Considering our very short memory of history and diminishing attention span, it will suffice to only mention a handful of our new cultural norms and objects of worship and value. Kim Kardashian becomes an object of sexual worship following the release of her sex tape. Former NY Governor Elliot Spitzer gets caught up in a prostitution scandal and is rewarded with his own show on CNN. The prostitute he paid for sexual favors also benefitted from the scandal. Ashley Alexandra Dupré was rewarded for assisting in the destruction of a marriage and family with her own column in the New York Post called “Ask Ashley.” Also, let’s not forget that Rolling Stone magazine honored the second Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaevwith a sexualized cover photo and article that will forever represent our state of mindfulness and object of worship. The young man and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, terrorized a city and he’s on the cover of a magazine projecting the look of a typical and innocent American college kid. Forget aiming for fame when infamy is arguably equally valued now days. Lately, it seems that the more celebrity figures behave badly, the more attention we laud upon them, essentially turning them into gold statues to worship as false gods. And, if the video of Ray Rice knocking out his then girlfriend didn’t make its way to the surface, can one honestly say that the outcome of his football career would stand as it does?

Ever since Trump started making a name for himself, the media and others in powerful positions, like former Access Hollywood co-host Billy Bush, encouraged his outrageous antics and behavior. Trump was made in America. He was permitted to grope, grab and force himself on us while we grinned, clapped and begged him for more. Trump didn’t sneak up on us. As a society we helped to create him.

Resting on our evolving values as a society, culturally, we all own a piece of what Trump represents. To quote the late Michael Jackson, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” With any luck, as we continue to evolve as a nation, for the better, Americans will take Trump along for a cultural ride on the roller coaster of our beautiful diverse society.