When Leadership Plays Hide and Speak
“Turn out the lights….the party’s over.” Those lyrics sang by Willie Nelson back in 1967 is somehow relevant today and speaks to what we have now devolved into. For as far back as I can remember, the lights of the White House were almost never off. I even asked a handful of DC residents, and they said the same. On Sunday protestors took to the streets of the nation’s capital to show their anger and disgust by demonstrating against the recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police. Amidst the backdrop of different parts of the city in flames probably the most famous monument in the city, no America, went dark. And the self-proclaimed courageous leader, who once said he would have run unarmed into Stoneman Douglas High School to stop a mass shooting, hid in an underground bunker.
In a real show of leadership, on Wednesday, former President Barack Obama addressed America about policing and racism during a Zoom town hall meeting. He spoke sternly, confidently, and eloquently without glossing over or minimizing the pain being felt across the entire country. He thanked protesters nationwide and encouraged young Black people by urging them to “feel hopeful even as you may feel angry, because you have the power to make things better….” He spoke on past protests of the days of Dr. King compared to those of today saying “I knew enough about that history to say, there is something different here. You look at those protests, and that was a far more representative cross-section of America out on the streets, peacefully protesting, who felt moved to do something because of the injustices that they have seen. That didn’t exist back in the 1960s—that kind of broad coalition.” He also let the protesters know that protesting alone isn’t enough and urged them to hit the polls come November. Concerning protest and politics he said, “This is not an either-or. This is a both-and….” Love him, hate him, or feel indifferent to him (guilty), we can all see the stark difference in his leadership versus the current.
Meanwhile at the White House, Twittler is urging govenors to crush the protests through gestapo style tactics and domination. He used childish antics of insulting and testing their manhood and mettle by proclaiming they would look weak if they did not do as such. He shamefully used police reinforced by National Guard troops as his own personal attack dogs to disperse a peaceful protest deploying tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash grenades. All of that just for a bogus photo op at a nearby church. It was shameful, embarrassing, and disgusting. As if that poor display of leadership and character wasn’t enough, he upped the ante by invoking George Floyd’s name touting economic growth during a bill signing Friday. “We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down and saying this is a great thing happening for our country. It’s a great day for him.” In the words of the idiosyncratic politician R. Clayton “Clay” Davis of the Wire, “Sheeeeeiiiiiiiiit.” Trump once again proves how self-serving and out of touch he really is.
Which brings me back to those lights. White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley told Newsweek, “This is nothing new. The White House lights go out at about 11pm almost every night.” But according to The Guardian, in normal times, the lights are only off when a president dies. Honestly, I don’t find it coincidencental that the lights going out coincided with protestors being in front of the White House or with the imposed 11pm curfew. I don’t find it surprising either. I honestly believe no other recent presidents would have taken that course of action. I would think, or hope, that they would at that moment show solidarity with the people and display the White House as a beacon of light during a dark time.
But we have Trump. And that action was about as Trump as shit gets. As he constantly displays his enormous disdain for BLM, protestors, and anyone who decides to not walk lockstep with his ideals through 140 characters or less, the tensions continues to rise. Instead of threatening violence, attacking all news as fake, or declaring ANTIFA as a terror organization, but not the KKK, he should be trying to bring this fractured nation together. Instead, we are banding together despite and to spite him. And that is indicative of piss poor leadership. For all of his dog whistle rhetoric and threats containing bluster, he is a cowardice and small man with a painstaking royalty complex. He turned his back and the lights off on the American people only to go hide in an underground bunker and continue stoking and fanning the flames of inequality and injustice. And for that, from here on out, he will henceforth be known as the Bunker King.