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Words Fail When Talking About Trump

August 20, 2017

Day by day it’s more difficult find new words to describe Donald Trump the person, and what he is doing to America. Each tweet brings something new and appalling. Yes, if we had only listened to Hillary; but then again 'Oh those emails.' 


In columns my references to Trump include his being a misogynist, a sexist, a racist, a friend of racists, a friend of fascists, a man with no understanding of history, uneducated, and a disgusting pig. The last brought outrage from friends who said I was offending every pig.


For the moment, like it or not, this man is our President. He represents us on the world stage. He is invited to world forums and will be invited to speak at the United Nations. How could this have happened? We know part of the reason; nearly 50% of Americans didn’t vote. Some who didn’t like Hillary and voted for a third party candidate ended up helping to elect Trump. A realistic person would understand what was going to happen if that was done in big enough numbers. My Facebook page is replete with people who opine Bernie or Biden or some other candidate could have defeated Trump. But they weren’t on the ballot for a host of reasons; Bernie because he lost the primary to Hillary by nearly four million votes. It was very clear any general election vote not for Hillary was a vote for Trump and anyone who didn’t vote for her must look themselves in the mirror these days and take some responsibility for Trump.


But that’s the past and getting beyond that is what is important. Trump is in the White House. We need to work together for a future where he and the Republican Party go down to defeat. Robert Mueller may bring down Trump but we will still be left with Pence and policy-wise that could be even worse. Whichever is in the oval office in November 2018 it will be our next chance to begin to turn the tide. Taking over the House of Representatives, the Senate or both will stop any outrageous legislation Republicans can dream up. We shouldn’t have had to wait until 1:30am in the morning to know whether Trumpcare would be defeated.


If Trump is still in office in 2018 Democrats only need a majority in the House of Representatives to vote to impeach. The Senate would need two-thirds to convict and that might be hard to achieve even if Democrats take back the Senate. But just a majority in the House will in essence end the Trump Presidency and block Republican legislation.


So calling this abomination of a man names won’t accomplish what we want. We need Americans to recognize how frightening what he says and does is. Then we organize and get people to the ballot box. Democratic candidates will win if we vote. First we need to stop the nonsense about demanding ‘purity’ from our candidates as the likes of Nina Turner, president of ‘Our Revolution‘ is talking about. Turner forgets she would never have won any office if purity was a determinant to voting for her. No one is pure and there is no candidate who will pass a purity test from enough voters of all different backgrounds to win an election.


The only promise we should demand of a Democratic candidate for Congress is they will commit to vote for a Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate and a Democratic Speaker in the House of Representatives. We should ask our Democratic candidates to speak out and reject a President who is unable to fully and totally distance himself from neo-Nazis, white supremacists, racists and homophobes; and reject a president or any official who is comfortable denigrating women. Our candidates need to speak out for economic equality and opportunity.


We will not win if some who reject all Republicans are doing and all this President does and says don’t vote for the Democratic candidates up and down the ticket; from City Council, to State Legislature, to Governor, to Congress. No one can sit out the election or say they are protesting and voting for a third party candidate they know has zero chance of winning. That will only end in more Trumps being elected. What more proof do we need than George W. Bush and Donald Trump.


Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It is messy and the founders of our nation in their wisdom set up a form of government requiring compromise. Compromise among decent people. Racists, homophobes, misogynists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists aren’t decent people. Neither is a President who gives them comfort of any kind. Too many Americans believed his lies and voted their own biases, including bias against a woman. Let us not waste our next chance in 2018 to defeat all he stands for and take back our country.


This column was first published in the Huffington Post.

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'School for Lies:' a Kahn/Ives Collaboration, a Laugh a Second

June 6, 2017

There can be no better evening in the theater than when you can watch a Michael Kahn/David Ives collaboration. They have gotten together before with productions of The LiarThe Heir Apparent and Metromaniacs.  This newest collaboration on School for Lies is a little different but just as wonderful.

This time Kahn decided he wanted to do School for Lies even though it had been done before. But in typical Kahn fashion he decided it wasn’t quite in the shape he wanted it. So he contacted Ives who told the audience at the meet the cast evening at the Lansburgh Theater that “at the suggestion of Michael Kahn he re-read his play he found many things to change.” With suggestions from Kahn and his own rethinking the play together they clearly found a way to make a good play into an even greater play. You will laugh from the first line till the last. 

 Veanne Cox (Photo by: Courtesy of Playbill) Veanne Cox

School for Lies is based on the 1666 ‘The Misanthrope’ by Moliere.  The play appeared in paperback in 2012 and the explanation read “Adapted from Molière’s The Misanthrope, David Ives’s The School for Lies tells the comic tale of Frank, who shares with Molière’s Alceste a venomous hatred of the hypocrisy that surrounds him. Like his predecessor, Frank gets into trouble for insulting the work of a dreadful poet, Oronte, and falls in love with Celimene, a witty widow. In Ives’s madcap version, however, Celimene returns Frank’s affection because she wrongly believes him to be King Louis XIV’s bastard brother. Borrowing from Shakespeare, reality TV, and everything in between, The School for Lies is an inspired entertainment as well as a pointed study in self-delusion, all rendered in sparkling couplets.” In this updated version Ives has included references to the Trump administration which we all know can be viewed as a tragedy.  But like with many tragedies you laugh to keep from crying, and with School for Lies every reference leads to another laugh.  

This updated production continues to be done in sparkling couplets which the cast brings to life in a way that leaves you wanting more. This is actually a very short production for those use to Kahn’s long evenings in the theater. It is done in one act of ninety minutes. Gregory Wooddell who plays Frank is brilliant. His comic timing is perfect.  As those who know her anticipated Veanne Cox who plays Arsinoe turns in another incredible performance. For those who don’t know her Veanne Cox received a Tony nomination for her performance as Amy in the 1995 revival of Company on Broadway. We will surely see her name on the list of Helen Hayes nominees next year. 

The Set (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) The Set

Victoria Frings as Celimene is a firecracker as is Dorea Schmidt as Eliante. Those who know Tom Story from all his great performances around town will be mesmerized by his Oronte. His comic timing has never been better and he is a delight to watch.  Each member of the very talented cast brings something wonderful to the play. They include Cameron Folmar as Clitander, Liam Craig as Acaste, Michael Glenn as Dubois/Basque, and Cody Nickell as Philinte

The creative team aside from author David Ives and the always brilliant director Michael Kahn includes scenic designer Alexander Dodge, costume designer Murell Horton, lighting designer Mark McCullough, sound designer Christopher Baine, and composer Adam Wernick

School for Lies will be at the Lansburgh Theater through July 9th.  I suggest you get your tickets before they sell out which based on the reaction of the opening night audience will be quickly. 

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Do More 24 'Start Your Activism @ Home'

May 25, 2017

Do More 24 “Start your Activism @ Home" is our region’s largest online giving day.  It takes place during the 24-hour period occurring on June 8th from 12 midnight to 11:59 pm and it is hoped on that day close to $2 million will be raised. Turns out you can start giving today. 


Given President Trump’s budget proposal and the skyrocketing demand for services from the region’s vulnerable populations, the time is now for us to step up and support the metro area nonprofit community.  These groups are involved with issues ranging from animal welfare to workforce readiness; protecting our environment to family financial stability; providing educational opportunities to children and adults, supporting the needs of the LGBT community, to helping the homeless find housing, and much more.


Kelly Brinkley, COO for United Way of the National Capital Area, said “Deep budget cuts on Capitol Hill coupled with a skyrocketing demand for life-saving services has underscored the need for support from local residents to make sure our neighbors receive the help they need.” 


To highlight the organizations who are the beneficiaries of this event the United Way of the National Capital Area has planned an event on Thursday, June 8th. They will bring together hundreds of nonprofit organizations who serve our area's most vulnerable populations to raise money that will be reinvested right here in our own community. The community-wide block party will be held from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm at PEPCO Edison Gallery (702 8th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.  The block party will bring together local nonprofits and community organizations – from step teams to marching bands and pet adoptions. 


The leadership of the United Way NCA and the nonprofits they support are encouraging local residents to funnel their frustrations and passion over these budget cuts to our community by giving locally to nonprofits. Remember again that they reinvest that money right here in our area to help our neighbors!  


So how can you give starting today? United Way NCA has made it easier than ever to contribute by allowing advanced giving on DoMore24. Just one click now and you can see all the participating organizations and make your donation today. Between now and June 7th you can decide what to give and your contribution will be credited on June 8th.  Make a difference in your community and participate in Do More 24 “Start your Activism @ Home.”

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