Bernstein: Trump presidency a national emergency

Carl Bernstein says details from Bob Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," should be a warning sign to congressional Republicans and the country that the Trump presidency is a national emergency.

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 6:55 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 7:19 PM

If, as Bob Woodward alleges and is being reported in early extracts of his tell-all book about the Trump White House, President Trump called his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an Alabama resident, a "dumb Southerner," he may have finally done something he has long been unable to do: unite black and white Southerners.

We may not agree politically; actually, we disagree passionately on most issues. We don't see eye-to-eye on the issue of race and Confederate monuments and memorials. Even our views of Jesus and Christianity are diverging and increasingly at odds. But boy are we tired of having to contend with the stereotype that we are slow and unintelligent.

This side of the n-word, "dumb Southerner" is maybe the most impactful epithet you can throw at someone in the South. "Mentally retarded," another term Trump reportedly used to describe Sessions, is also high on the list. Trump has since tweeted a denial of using either term.

Calling Southerners some version of dumb is so effective that even Southerners do it to get under each other's skin.

Residents of South Carolina rejoice by thanking God they aren't Mississippians, who often show up at the bottom of good rankings and the top of bad ones, with South Carolina usually one rung above.

Alabamians are happy they have South Carolina to kick around.

North Carolinians are proud to be home to the New South city Charlotte and the Research Triangle that includes high-profile universities, which makes it easier for the state to claim world-class status and deny that this stereotype applies to them, too.

Such slurs pick at an open scab, that of school districts in the South repeatedly showing up at the bottom of educational lists and too high on lists about heart disease. It is a scab that is reopened every time an A-list Hollywood actor speaks in a distorted, haunting drawl to try to sound genuine when portraying down-on-their-luck, unsophisticated Southern-based characters on the big screen.

It stings us all, black and white. We are tired of having to remind people that we don't "talk different" any more than do Bostonians or Bronx residents, that the pace of the words that flow from our mouths is not indicative of the intellectual activity taking place inside our heads.

That's why even Trump ally Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, said "I resent that" when asked about Trump's use of the epithet.

A version of the slur was used in 2000 by a high-profile South Carolina state senator, Arthur Ravenel, for whom one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in North America is named, because the National Association of Colored People initiated an economic boycott of South Carolina to protest the flying of the Confederate flag at the Statehouse.

Ravenel caught heat for referring to the NAACP as the National Association of Retarded People -- then doubled down by apologizing to retarded people. He also later said he had mixed up his words because he was scheduled to meet with the SC Association for Retarded Citizens.

It was a way to put black Southerners in their place, to remind them that they would never be as good as white Southerners. Trump has turned even that racial divide on its head because he allegedly used the term to refer to a Trump-voting and supporting white evangelical Christian who served in the US Senate, was a captain in the US Army, received a law degree from the University of Alabama and is now the nation's top law enforcement official.

If Trump thinks that about a white Southerner with such a long list of credentials, there's little reason to believe he doesn't think the same thing about many of the white Southerners who always show up at his rallies to passionately praise and cheer him. What's worse is that the slur comes courtesy of a fast-talking New Yorker who never showed any concern for white Southerners, rich or poor, before he ran for president. And yet, I suspect, while black and white Southerners will be united in our outrage about the slur, many white Southerners will stick with Trump.

Just days after he announced his intentions to run for the presidency, I spent time reminding white members of the Tea Party in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, area that they had more in common with me, a black Southern native, than they did with Trump. Our parents and friends struggled to stay safe doing dangerous work at nearby factories and were struggling to find a new way forward as those factories were closing. We spent a lot of time praying for each other. We needed a better healthcare and more adequate educational system. We shopped, side-by-side, in Walmart and cashed our checks at local credit unions. We ate at the Southern-style buffet restaurants.

Trump knew nothing about any of that, I said. It didn't matter. They flocked to him anyway, led by men like Sessions, the first sitting US senator to endorse Trump. That's why though I empathize with Sessions, and others like him who have to endure unfair slurs from men like Trump, I likely won't be shedding too many tears. I've been all cried out since the night of the 2016 presidential election.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Hi: 85° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 92°
Columbus
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Feels Like: 92°
Oxford
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Feels Like: 88°
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Feels Like: 92°
Lots of tropical moisture leftover from Nicholas, along with some bits and pieces of low pressure will combine forces to give our area some good chances for some showers and thunderstorms over the next several days.
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