Friday, June 23, 2017

Commentary

Data from 60 qualitative interviews reveal the presence of racial tensions in 21st-century nationwide. Black participants expressed experiencing racial prejudice while operating automobiles, riding bicycles or walking. White passengers also reported witnessing data from 60 qualitative interviews reveal the presence of racial tensions in 21st-century United States, no communities seem to be exceptions.

Black participants expressed experiencing racial prejudice while operating automobiles. White passengers also reported witnessing instances of driving while Black (DWB) while riding with Black drivers. Specifically, White participants reported instances of profiling, where they witnessed Black drivers pulled over by police officers, although no traffic violation occurred.

While the United States has made valuable strides, we still have prejudices to overcome. Instances of driving while Black (DWB) while riding with Black drivers. Specifically, White participants reported instances of profiling, where they witnessed Black drivers pulled over by police officers, although no traffic violation occurred. Two themes emerged for Black participants: (a) fear that they would be pulled over, and (b) motivation to “survive” the law enforcement encounter. This latter statement also indicates fear of physical injury.

Participants’ experiences insinuate a continued racial tension between Black citizens and White law enforcement officers. Therefore, it is clear that while the United States has made valuable strides, we still have ingrained prejudices to overcome in many areas but particularly withint law enforcement. Specifically troublesome is the lack of data being recorded and or department cover-up.

This is a subject that is two fold, in terms of understanding it, from the view of behavioral science and social science. I view it from my experience as a former investigator (CDI) and my training, research and experience as a executive level race relations education specialist, while facilitating race relations seminars, executive EEO planning meetings, and resultant dialogue.

So looking at the word [profile] itself, let me provide several definitions and ways of viewing the subject of profiling: (1) the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere or to assist in identifying a particular subgroup of people. (2) the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies (3) consumer profiling; specifically the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics.

These days, many refer to stereotyping by police as when an officer thinks a person is committing some sort of crime simply because they are of a certain race, culture, etc. Profiling as it pertains to law enforcement does have a history and goes back quite a ways in the history of this country. In fact, informal criminal profiling has a very long history. It was used as early as the 1880s, when two physicians, George Phillips and Thomas Bond, used crime scene clues to make predictions about British serial murderer Jack the Ripper’s personality.

…To Be Continued

Andrew Jackson is a resident of Virginia Beach and active in the Seajack Civic League of that city.

Maybe it’s me, but it seems we who consume news in the many ways we prefer are being exposed to more coverage regarding acts of racism in America. Could it be that media outlets are deciding that it’s time to shine a brighter spotlight on this vile plague that continues to try to strike fear at the heart of U.S. citizenry?

No matter the cause, people worldwide are able to have access to these reportings. As many a person of color can attest, the United States of America is currently not post-racial. Nor has it been in its recent past as had been reported after the election of former President Obama. 

American actor, comedian, and filmmaker Jordan Peele brilliantly depicted his musings concerning race matters in the 2016 box office hit, “Get Out.” Get Out is being lauded as a “social thriller” in the same vein as “The Shining” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” among others. While on the surface this horror film may rightfully scare its viewer with suspenseful music and intermittent jolts from characters on-screen, more deeply imbedded in this movie are greater racial truths as experienced by African-Americans. 

Oregon-based millennial actor, Seth Rue critically addresses race in 21st century America. “Part of what makes the American iteration of white supremacist patriarchy peculiarly powerful in its destruction is that the mechanisms it employs to constantly assert and reassert its oppressive hegemony have been crafted and honed over hundreds of years to be invisible.

“These mechanisms all collude to be extremely effective together, and it is incredibly hard to identify them at all, let alone fight to protect against and ultimately break them. It is even more difficult to find any mainstream popular media that is allowed (by the industry) to highlight them. Get Out does this, and in a fashion that is equally stunning and satisfying.”

Chicago-based millennial activist and illustrator, Bianca Xunise has this to say about race in America. “I really enjoyed how Get Out portrayed what it is like to see the world as a Black person. Often we get told (by white people) that we are exaggerating or that what we see is just us being paranoid, but microagressions are apparent and prevalent throughout our day to day. “Though in this film it is pushed to the extreme, it does still capture that overwhelmed feeling.”

She further states, “Get Out offers a great opportunity to gain some understanding  to the plight of people of color and offers those who are curious a moment to walk in our shoes. Plus the movie is also pretty funny!”

Sadly, what is not funny is the reality that people of color do regularly experience aggressive and microaggresive acts perpetrated by the dominant culture which are meant to terrify and subjugate those already marginalized. This is typically done as a measure of control.

Recently Cleveland Cavaliers basketball phenom, LeBron James, spoke out at a press conference intended  to address the 2017 Basketball Finals that his L.A. home had been vandalized by someone (or a group of someones) who spray-painted the “N” word onto the side of his property. James soberly stated that “no matter how many people admire you, you know, being Black in America is – it’s tough.”

As an activist and minister for more than three decades, I could not agree more with each of these featured voices. It is tough! Fortunately, there are many people, old and young, who are not fearful to use their platforms to share experiences and truths as it pertains to race in America.

What makes me equally appreciative is that American media has become less hesitant to let the world know what is happening in our own backyard. For this willingness, I am grateful. 

Bentley de Bardelaben is Executive for Administration and Communications for the United Church of Christ.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
When he was running for President, 45 asked African-Americans what we had to lose by electing him.  Embracing the most dystopian view of the African-American community, he attacked our schools, our streets, crime rates, and unemployment and suggested that we were so far down that electing him could only improve things.

Curiously, he never talked about racism when he talked about the status of African-Americans.  He never spoke of hate crimes, police killings, or racist symbols like Confederate flags and Confederate statues.   He never denounced some of his most racist supporters, including Klucker David Duke and alt-right leader Richard Spencer.  He just asked what Black folks had to lose by electing him!

We’ve been learning what we have to lose in these nearly five months of 45’s “leadership.”  He cynically used HBCU Presidents in a photo op, while cutting education funds that help HBCUs.  He has been silent or slow in denouncing racist incidents that have occurred on his watch, including the lynching of Second Lt. Richard Collins III, and the murder of heroes Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, who stood up to the rabid racist Jeremy Joseph Christian, who was harassing two young women on a train in Portland (it took him three days to respond tepidly to that incident).  As of this writing, two days after a noose was hung in the Smithsonian Museum for African-American History and Culture, he has not uttered a syllable of condemnation.   These issues don’t appear to be important to him.

Are we surprised, then, that the budget he has submitted to Congress, would eviscerate civil rights protections in literally every area of our lives.  Already, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has moved back toward draconian jail sentences for minor crimes, reviewed consent decrees with police departments, looking to loosen them, and suggested that the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department can be smaller. The budget reflects that so clearly that Venita Gupta, who led the Civil Rights Division under President Obama and now leads the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, says she sees this budget as a “setback” for civil rights.

The new budget calls for folding the Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, although the two agencies do distinctly different work.  EEOC investigates civil rights complaints, while OFCCP audits contracts to ensure that employees have equal opportunity in terms of both promotions and pay.  The proposed budget cuts OFCCP by 16 percent and eliminates 130 full time employees.  When the other 470 employees are absorbed into the EEOC, that agency will not get an increased budget despite its expanded mission.

Both agencies have been important in ensuring that civil rights violations are rectified.  In 2010, EEOC had more than 20 active cases that involved nooses.  Even as nooses continue to be hung as symbols of intimidation and hate, such as the noose hung at the African-American Museum (the second hung at a Smithsonian museum in a week), the agency charged with investigating these complaints would have fewer resources to do so.

Similarly OFCCP has won money settlements for thousands of employees, and changed employment requirements when those requirements have a discriminatory impact.   Women employees at Home Depot were among those receiving monetary settlements because of OFCCP investigations.

At the Department of Education (surprise, surprise), a woman who opposes affirmative action leads the Office of Civil Rights.  That office will be cut significantly, limiting its ability to investigate discrimination complaints in school systems.  At the Environmental Protection Agency, efforts to look at environmental justice have been eliminated.

From the noose hung at the African-American Museum to the defacing of LeBron James’ home with a racial slur, there is continuing evidence of the persistence of racism in our nation.  This racism is emboldened by a national leadership that is silent despite its manifestations.  We cannot be surprised.  Our 45th President, after all, once said he did not trust African-Americans to work on his accounting.  He probably would have failed any OFCCP audit, and certainly attracted several housing discrimination lawsuits decades ago.

The President who has been accused of discrimination has the power to ensure that his capitalist cronies face fewer accusations by weakening civil rights enforcement.  What did African-Americans lose when 45 was elected?  Among other things, we (and others) lost civil rights protections!

Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and Founder of Economic Education. Her podcast, “It’s Personal with Dr. J” is available on iTunes. Her latest book “Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and public policy is available via amazon.com

The American public is watching events unfold that are usually reserved for the courtroom. We are witnessing the evolution of what may be an overwhelming case against a sitting U.S. President. It’s evolving everyday in the nation’s top newspapers and among the nation’s best television news networks. Journalists in both mediums are doing what I believe to be their best work since Watergate back in the early 70’s.

Prosecutors use a deliberate pattern in their work. There is a method to the madness of presenting evidence to a jury. They lay a foundation from opening arguments. Then carefully construct their case. This pattern goes on everyday in every courtroom in the United States.

In a very real sense, we’re watching the same process play out in the evolving FBI Investigation of President Trump’s campaign connection to Russia. The case has been building in the court of public opinion since before Trump’s inauguration.

Make no mistake, what’s going on right in front of us is intentional. It is the practice of slowly revealing what Trump has really done to the nation and his constituency, in particular. A constituency prone to extreme reactions and predisposed to deliberate skepticism. The kind of constituency that’s being slowly introduced to what appears to be a troubling scenario.

I’ve often wondered whether that narrative involves a candidate who never thought he’d win. Who in the process may have decided to use the election for familiar purposes. But low and behold, he actually won. What an inconvenient blip. A blip that may very well land him in the precincts of impeachment.

The FBI is now doggedly tracking and tracing an unholy and unsettlingly cozy relationship with Russian officials at the highest levels. Slowly, methodically accurate information is being rightly released to a public that has a constitutional right to know.

I’m fascinated by the evolution of what appears to be a disciplined and clear case. With each revelation the investigation inches closer to the Presidency, closer to what’s looking more and more like a direct link to Trump himself. With every revelation, every step in this investigation, the path of evidence is putting more pressure on a President who doesn’t really handle pressure well. Who may very well prematurely implode.

By Trump’s own admission, son-in-law Jared Kushner is one of his closest advisors. Only one person is closer. His daughter Ivanka, Kushner’s wife, the mother of two of Trump’s grandchildren and his personal confidant. What fascinates me most is the level of abject naivety. The clear and present danger of Trump’s blunderous allegiance to Russia. He’s placed his son-in-law in a treasonous position, placed the father of his grand children in harm’s way.

Who in his or her right mind would think they could get Russia to provide a back channel communications link without U.S. Intelligence finding out. What kind of confused mind would want to? I do wonder as I wander, could the motivation be a desire to get Russian President Vladimir Putin to tell him what to do? How to do it? What would make Trump desperate enough to risk his own demise and the compromise of his beloved Russia’s security?

By now, barring some elaborate deception, even Putin must be wondering what kind of confused mind he’s dealing with. And we, you and I, well we get to watch the case against Trump unfold right in front of us.

Let’s stay tuned for the motive, see whether or what kind of smoking gun emerges. Could it be when all is said and revealed we may find The Case Against Trump is about the same obsession that’s sent many a poor soul to ruin since the dawn of civilization? What the O’Jays called Money, money, money, money, MONEY!

Dennis Edwards is the Interim-Pastor of Richmond’s Historic 4th Baptist Church. He is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist, a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.

It’s been coming for some time now. Actually, since day one. President Donald Trump has been on the melt down track from the beginning. Now it’s happening right in front of the nation and the world.

Donald Trump, the deal maker and now beleaguered President, has come undone. The final confirmation is the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Yet in the ultimate indication of consistency Trump continues to unravel in a daily reality tv kind of way.

I’m told people come undone when “they have lost their composure or self control”. One meaning of the phrase leans toward what happens when things don’t go as planned. I doubt that one applies here.

The truth is Trump’s unraveling is developing an evolutionary life of its own. His mental and emotional states are questionable at best. At worst there appears to be a delusional facet to his thinking.

One day after firing Comey, Trump sees no apparent problem with gladly entertaining Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavorov along side Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey I. Kislyak. In the Oval Office, no less, in front of a photographer from the Russian News service Tass. For some inexplicable reason, he sees no problem with having a Russian photographer chronicle the event to the total exclusion of American news organizations. By the way the second Sergey is reportedly a known Russian Spy.

Our intrepid President goes on to add indiscreet insult to abject bad judgement by confiding in both men “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Then he makes a startling admission “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”.

In exactly what world does he live? Trump literally admitted motive and method under Federal Statues for criminal “Obstruction of Justice”. But the coming undone doesn’t end there. He adds emphasis to cluelessness by saying “I’m not under investigation”. Apparently he doesn’t realize when his campaign is under investigation so is he.

Sounds like something you’d tell your boss doesn’t it? No wonder at least one Republican Congressman has reportedly openly wondered whether the President actually works for the Russians. I must admit the Oval Office meeting sounded like an employee reporting to his or her superior.

The tenor and tone of this meeting piques a particular interest. The President’s demeanor is chummy, overly comfortable as if he was finally around friends. He’s genuinely at home with this group of Russians. So much so he shares classified intelligence on ISIS with them from Israel, one of this nation’s closest allies and a major intelligence partner. Clearly, the information was for American eyes and ears only.

The new National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster does a hurried news conference trying to ease the impact of a clear Presidential security breach. Less than one day passes before Trump literally throws McMaster and his denial that really wasn’t under the oncoming bus. Trump blows the credibility of the only person in the White House with a modicum of integrity, basically admitting he did it and saying he had every right to do that as President.

Meanwhile, back in reality, the fired Comey drops a few real life note bombs of his own. He’s been jotting down, documenting, his meetings with a President who apparently openly asked him to shut down the Federal Investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey’s notes recall this soon to be famous obstruction “I hope you can let this go.”
But it’s not Comey with the inability to let things go. Trump is apparently obsessing about these and other issues a President should be above and beyond. He’s still talking about ratings and imagined success, while the nation reels in uncertainty and out and out fear.

I wanted to say he’s coming undone. But I can’t tell you that. Trump has come undone and he’s not finished yet. Frightening, isn’t it?

Dennis Edwards is the Interim-Pastor of Richmond’s Historic 4th Baptist Church. He is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist, a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.

The time is now for America’s legislative body at the state and local levels to bring a full stop to the endless harassment and killing of Black children at the hands of the men and women in law enforcement sworn to protect and serve them.

Of those that made the news, Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old from a Dallas, TX suburb, was a latest victim of law enforcement. Jordan’s death follows an unrelenting pattern of Black children who are subjected to undue harassment and excessive force, or death, by police officers. Many of these reported killings have taken place in settings where children are simply doing what young people do in the course of their daily life. In school, at social events, in playgrounds and on their streets Black children are harassed, tormented or killed by police officers.

For victims, their families and the greater community, the trauma of these acts against children is too much to bear. These acts also shed light on our state and local legislative bodies as institutions that have not acted in the better interest of keeping our children safe.

After waiting months, we have learned the U.S. Department of Justice will not file charges against the two Baton Rouge, LA police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, for the death of Alton Sterling last summer, in a convenience store parking lot. Now, it is up to the Louisiana State Attorney General to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against these two police officers. Will the State Attorney General fail its citizens, too?

The failure to prosecute and convict nearly every officer involved in fatal force shootings of unarmed Black people, underscores the urgent matter of substantive accountability and justice. The police officer who killed Jordan Edwards was swiftly terminated, but that is not accountability in measure to the life he took.

Police officers are public servants. They answer to municipal and state elected officials. When will our elected officials stand for justice and ensure that the children of our communities are protected and served rather than harassed and killed? Do we need to elect new legislators in order for them to take notice and take action regarding these egregious killings and traumatic treatment of our citizens?

Police officers, by law, are granted an extraordinary range of authority to make life and death decisions. It is time for elected representatives to use their authority – entrusted by the public who vote them into office – to rein in police officers by changing the laws that shield them. The safety of our children, wherever they may be, begins and ends with elected representatives who enact laws and have the power to hold their subordinates accountable for their actions or failures thereof. We certainly will hold them accountable on election day.

Brian L. Pauling, is the CEO and President of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., whose world headquarters is in Atlanta, Ga.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
“They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had ‘no rights which the white man was bound to respect’; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”
– Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, Dred Scott Case, 1857

Isn’t this 2017?  The above words were spoken 160 years ago.  Obviously, in light of federal prosecutors not finding any cause to indict the cops who killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Justice Taney’s words still ring true.  To that end, Black people have no civil right to life that prevents us from being shot and killed by police officers who are, in turn, given a paid vacation and allowed to go free.  Sickening?  Frightening? Evil?  Uncivilized?  All of the above?

Before you start throwing out all the excuses for Mr. Sterling’s demise, I know he had numerous arrests and convictions for other crimes, none of which, however, called for the death penalty.  I know he was a “big man,” and I know he was struggling against the two officers. I know he was tasered and they said it had little effect on him.  I do not know if the gun they pulled from his pocket was put there or if it was his.

I do know what I saw and what I heard, and one point jumped out at me—and still does. What happened to Sterling reminded me of a Black man named Nathaniel Jones, another “big man” who was killed by Cincinnati police officers.

Yet another more recent memory is Eric Garner, a “big man” also killed by police.  Jones and Garner were killed as the cops repeatedly said, “Put your hands behind your back.” Sterling was killed as the cops were saying “Get on the ground!”

Lawful orders, yes, but they do not rise to the capital punishment level.  What gripes me is that the cops yelled “get on the ground” at Sterling when he was already on the ground and they were on top of him.  They shot him three times and then told him to get on the ground; then they shot him three more times.  Again, he was already on the ground and under their control when he was shot at point blank range.

The U.S. Department of Justice, under Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, says it can find no indication that Sterling’s civil rights were violated.  In other words, Alton Sterling had no rights the two White cops were “bound to respect.”

They could force him to the ground, put a knee on his neck, and shoot him six times, all with the full support of the DOJ.  Of course, they did not know their dastardly act was being videoed, but I am sure they knew it was on audio via their own communication devices.  So they yelled, “Get on the ground!” for evidence that Sterling was not on the ground yet.

Three questions:  What? So what? Now what?  The “what” part has been disclosed, and the DOJ has said “so what?” Now it’s up to us to say, “now what?”

Though I have said this for decades, I will repeat myself.  The only way to deal with these kinds of situations is through economic sanctions.  What made the NCAA and the NBA pull its games out of North Carolina in response to a bathroom law that affected transgender people, who felt the law discriminated against them?  Why did then Governor Mike Pence succumb to corporate leaders that said if a proposed law that discriminated against gay people was not rescinded they would move their businesses out of the State of Indiana?

Why has no athletic group, Louisiana State University, or any major corporation in Baton Rouge threatened to move and/or cancel anything in light of Alton Sterling’s death? It’s because Black folks are so crisis-oriented, for the moment rather than the long haul; we do not seem to be willing to organize ourselves around practical economic strategies that would surely make it clear to everyone that we are just as serious about our rights as other groups are.

Folks in Baton Rouge should demand corporations threaten to do what those in Indiana and North Carolina did.  LSU should do what the University of Missouri football team did by refusing to play until justice is achieved for Alton Sterling.

The NCAA should cancel its tournaments as they did in support of the transgender population. (After all, being killed is much more serious than going to the bathroom of your choice.)  If they refuse, then do not support them.

There must be a price to pay for mistreatment against Blacks.  As the saying goes, “Think globally; act locally.”

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
After months of “repeal and replace” rhetoric, Congress has finally passed a pitiful little bill designed to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.   To watch Republicans gather in the Rose Garden to “celebrate” the narrow passage of their paltry bill, you would have thought that 45 was about to sign ground-breaking legislation.

Instead, changes to the Affordable Care Act must be ironed out between the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It is unlikely that the Senate will be as quick to succumb to 45’s pressure in the same way that the House did.

Only 20 Republicans had the decency to oppose the flawed legislation.  Meanwhile, groups like the American Medical Association and the AARP have said the legislation is unacceptable.  It illustrates the odious nature of the 45 Presidency, which is a triumph of predatory capitalism and exploitation.

Poor people lose with this legislation, and so do people with pre-existing medical conditions.  Older people, too, will lose, but people who earn more than $200,000 a year (or couples who earn more than $250,000) see their taxes go down by about 3.8 percent.   The 45th President says this plan will lower premiums and deductibles, and that those who have pre-existing conditions will not be hurt.  The legislation says otherwise.

Democrats were silly, but not wrong, to serenade Republicans with “hey, hey, hey goodbye.”  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was colorful, but not incorrect, in telling the Republicans who voted for the legislation will “glow in the dark.”  As New York Democrat Louise Slaughter said, some committed  “political suicide” by voting for the rancid bill.
Republicans were so desperate for a victory that they didn’t even wait for the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the bill and talk about how much money the bill will cost, and how many people will lose their health insurance under the legislation.

Instead, they crowded on the White House lawn as if they had something to celebrate.  Their gathering was akin to someone giving a party because they took, but did not yet pass, a final exam.  But 45 and his cronies were clearly so desperate for any kind of victory that they reveled in their preliminary celebration.

The legislation that passed on Thursday, May 4 is, by most accounts, worse than the legislation that failed weeks ago.  Then the CBO said that about 24 million people would lose health insurance, and that premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher in 2018 and 2019.  The nonsense that was passed on May 4 is likely to create consequences that are even more severe.
It is preliminary to wail, moan, and wring hands this early in the game.  After all, the Senate has to weigh in, and the Senate is already writing its own legislation.  Some say they will take House concerns into consideration, but others insist that they will keep their own counsel.

Similarly, it is preliminary for 45 and his henchmen to celebrate something that is only the first step in an arduous process that may take months to complete.  What is worth noting, though, is how pitiful this White House is, how eager they are to celebrate narrow victories, and how desperate they are to scrap President Obama’s important health insurance legacy.
Those smiling people in the Rose Garden were, at best, delusional.  They were celebrating the “repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, and its replacement with a paltry, mean-spirited plan to make health insurance more difficult to attain.

It would have been useful if, instead, Republicans had joined Democrats to fix those parts of the Affordable Care Act that can be improved.  Unfortunately, that would mean giving credit to the President whose vision and foresight provided health insurance to millions of Americans.

Thank goodness for a process that sometimes seems cumbersome.  Now, the cumbersome process will save us from Republican anti-Obama venom.  These folks were in such a hurry to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act that they ignored cost, preparation, and process.  They were so eager for a celebration that they weren’t even clear about what they were celebrating.

They are setting themselves up for 2018, and their small, petty victory may be the origins of their defeat, if only Democrats have the discipline and the energy to keep the pressure up.
Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and Founder of Economic Education. Her podcast, “It’s Personal with Dr. J” is available on iTunes. Her latest book “Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and public policy is available via amazon.com

Had a long over due visit with a good friend the other day. He has to be one of the smartest political minds I’ve ever encountered. He’s also a great person. We connect on the human level as we talk politics, people and approaches to problems. He’s a lawyer who’s taken his legal training to a higher level. I want to hear what he thinks and it would appear he wants to know what I think. Wow, there really is no accounting for taste is there. The added benefit is we don’t look alike.

When the subject of President Donald Trump came up I sensed a tinge of the nonplussed in his spirit. Nothing hostile, mind you. Just a clear indication that he was aware of my own sense of being nonplussed by a president who’s nonplussing an entire nation.

“Nonplussed” is one of those phrases that says and doesn’t always say exactly what we are thinking. It comes from Latin root words meaning “no more, no further”. Definitions include “to render utterly perplexed; puzzle completely”. Another defines this verb used with an object this way “To put at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; bewildered.”

That may very well have been part of how my friend might feel about some of my columns . But the longer we talked, the more it became apparent that he, too, is nonplussed by a President he supported in November. The most revealing thing he said was how he and other supporters are now second thinking their choice. It is the kind of honesty I’ve come to admire him for and look for from him.

But it also represents a political sea change of sorts. Trump’s approval rating is evidence of that. At the 100 day mark Trump is what the Washington Post calls “the least popular chief executive in modern times”.

What a dubious and disturbing assessment. In spite of his proclamations otherwise, voters aren’t seeing any major legislative accomplishments after his first months. The administration’s inability to do anything meaningful with or against Obama care sticks out like a kind of Presidential sore thumb.

Polls also make particular note of little if any improvement in “his temperament and honesty”.

This may be the most disturbing of all observations. I suspect that number is at the heart of his 53 percent approval rating. Only 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance. They are his base along with a few percentages added on for his aggressive posture toward North Korea.

But the truth is Trump’s disapproval rating is “14 points higher than Bill Clinton’s disapproval rating in 1993”. When compared to Former President Barack Obama, his numbers are cause for alarm. At the same time in his Presidency, President Obama had a 69 percent approval rating compared to a 26 percent disapproval rating.

Add to all of this the latest Russian Connection news and the “Nonplussed” have even more reasons to linger in a Nonplussed state. CNN sites 3 more “Trump-Russia connections”.

Last December comes word Trump’s son in law “met privately with the head of a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions”. January brings revelations one of his major donors “flew to a remote island to confer with a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin”. I hear things like this so much I’m beginning to think of Putin as a kind of ex officio Vice-President. Then comes word that as long as four years ago, “a Trump advisor interacted with a Russian spy trying to elicit intelligence”.

No wonder my “Nonplussed” friend and many of yours are thinking twice about their Presidential choice in a kind of Nonplussed way.

Dennis Edwards is the Interim-Pastor of Richmond’s Historic 4th Baptist Church. He is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist, a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.

Our economy is driven by three fundamental factors, the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. The word economics comes from two phrases, that in short, mean “the management or administration of household resources or things essential to daily life.” Where there’s a surplus, life is good. Where there’s a deficit, life can be tough.

On a secular level the economy is about things essential to survival. At the spiritual level the essential truth of Christian faith life is a belief and trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I call it “Resurrectionomics” because where there is a surplus of faith in the resurrection, life is full and wonderful. But where there’s a deficit, there’s a crisis of confidence in all things important to us.

The resurrection made right a relationship that went wrong at our own hands. Without that relationship, our faith economy falters. The collapse shows up in how we react to the actions of the powers that be.

These White House centered reality TV Show antics shake the nation’s confidence in itself and the stability of the world around us. The domino effect is undeniable. The dangerous banter between the United States and the world’s other Megalomaniac in North Korea are cause for real concern. The saber rattling threatens our world and personal stability. It heightens insecurities and gives us another reason to worry beyond trying to make it in the world. Now Americans most comfortable with being productive in life must think about the survival of the world as they know it.

Are we there because we don’t understand the power of the resurrection? Are we there because we’ve never considered how it is written into the DNA of nature, how it makes hope possible and overcoming inevitable.

Sometimes I wonder, have we forgotten that the Christ of the Resurrection has been making a habit of flipping trump cards throughout history? Maybe the time has come to see how he flips this one. After all slavery was flipped; Jim Crow was flipped; segregation was flipped; and those who opposed women’s rights have been flipped. It was all done in the construct of a Divine Economy. By sheer nature and power the resurrected one always turns the total of the sum of death and dying into the substance of eternal life.

When was the last time China had to say let cooler heads prevail; let’s not let things go too far. Isn’t it amazing where the resurrection spirit shows up?

Resurrectionomics even plays a roll in the political sphere. Those who lost in previous elections because they did not vote, voted in protest or unintentionally bought into the Russia’s manipulation scheme don’t have to accept a political death of sorts. Their coming back to life may already be in the works. It may have a scheduled day and time about a year from now. Who knows, maybe that Resurrection will take place on Election Day November 6, 2018. On that day 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. 39 state and territorial governorships are contested. What a great getting up morning November 7 next year could become should a right thinking majority rise from the death of a political mistake to halt a deadly anti-democracy agenda.

Resurrectionomics is the personal production, distribution and consumption of a faith that applies the gift of salvation and the power of God to everything in our lives. It is the engine that drives our conviction that nothing can separate us from His love, neither life, nor death, nor kings or principalities, nor rulers of the darkness can prevent us from living life and life more abundantly. It’s all because of that third day morning, isn’t it?

Dennis Edwards is the Interim-Pastor of Richmond’s Historic 4th Baptist Church. He is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist, a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.