On Pocahontasgate

November 30, 2017

If you haven't read about the latest kerfuffle involving the President google Navajo and Pocahontas, and you can read up on things for yourself. 


Here are my three thoughts on what I am dubbing Pocahontasgate.


First, if you are the President of the United States and you are honoring war heroes here is the list of phrases that should come out of your mouth, "Thank you." That's it, that's the list. Ok, rhapsodize about these incredible people, their bravery, and their sacrifice. But at no point should anything about you come out of your mouth. And don't utter a word about politics. Don't talk about taxes. Don't talk about healthcare. Definitely don't take potshots at your opponents, even if the opportunity presents itself. The soldiers being honored this week fought in some of the bloodiest, most wretched battles ever fought, give the old ego a break for a few minutes. 


I won't even get into the presentation occurring in front of a painting of Andrew Jackson. Long ago I gave up hope that anyone in this country would actually understand history well enough to think of such things. Information like that is usually hidden in books that are thick and have big words.


Second, to clarify, the opportunity did not present itself in this instance. Trump seems to frequently play word-association games. He reminds me a lot of a friend of my wife's family who once met some college girls my wife was mentoring who were Japanese. Immediately, he asked them about the internment camps in World War Two. I couldn't decide whether to crawl under the table, or to dispose of his body quietly. The key difference is that he is not the leader of the free world. People whose brains work (or short circuit depending on your view) this way visit a friend in the hospital and immediately tell every hospital horror stories they know. We have a President whose brain plays giant word association games, and more often than not I look at the associations his brain makes and think, "You sir, need serious help."


Third, and this is in no way to justify what Trump said, or the venue where he said it, but I don't see how in 2017 a wealthy (net worth 4-10 million dollars) white woman who may be, and it isn't even definite, 1/32 native American, gets to pass herself off as a minority. I am at least as native american as Elizabeth Warren, and if 1/32 is the standard I am also Jewish for what it is worth.


It seems basic, but one of the first things we can do in this country when it comes to equality is to reject the claims of white one-percenters claiming minority status. It would be a small step, but at this point we need steps, even if they are tiny ones.


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