Politicians sometimes say the strangest things

Politicians sometimes say the strangest things
April 08
00:00 2016

James B. Ewers Jr.

Guest Columnist

Primaries and caucuses are events that are happening almost every week now. This has been the case for many months now.  Barbershops, malls, hair salons and places of worship all have people in them asking the question: “What do you think about this year’s election?”  The responses will vary but you will always get an answer.

Some pundits who follow these matters say this year’s election is like no other. Well, probably the same can be said for the election held eight years ago. Barack Obama, a candidate with limited political experience burst onto the scene to win the presidency of the United States of America.

Barack Obama’s spirit and his belief in the American people captured our hearts and minds.  I believe his campaign slogan “Yes We Can” is one of the best ever. It gave us a newfound hope in ourselves.

President Obama has made America more inclusive and welcoming than at any other time in our history.  Yes, we can bring your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  Yes, we can provide healthcare to all of America’s citizens. And yes, we can worship and pray together.

What has attracted the world to President Obama is his ability to be a bridge-builder and his understanding of what affects the least of us affects all of us. Even during his campaign for president, you didn’t hear mean-spirited attacks between him and his opponents.  In fact, he made one of his opponents, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State.  He could do that because they both engaged in a humane campaign.

Of course there have been critics of President Obama, yet he has engaged them all with dignity and respect.  Traps and snares have been laid out for him, but he has walked over and through them unscathed.  To paraphrase a scripture, Psalm 105:15 says, ”Touch not my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

Some people have been whining about President Obama for eight years, but I will guarantee you those same people who are whining now will be crying later when he leaves office. Many of us have learned that sometimes when you are in the middle of good, you don’t realize it until you don’t have it anymore.  Some didn’t have healthcare pre-Obama but now have it with President Obama.  Some didn’t have a job pre-Obama but now have a job with President Obama.  Lastly, some of us had children in wars in foreign countries pre-Obama and now they are out of harm’s way with President Obama.

I have witnessed and voted in a lot of elections over my lifetime.  I have faithfully exercised my voting privilege. However what we see being played out at least on one side defies description.  I will go deep into my urban lexicon of terms and use the phrase young people use and say it’s a hot mess.

Prior to now, I have never heard a candidate say he is going to build a wall and keep everybody out of a country.  I have never heard a candidate for the highest office in the land suggest that if you worship differently, speak differently and have a different lifestyle, you are not embraced in America.  He wants to make America great again.  When was America not great?

I have never watched fights occur at political rallies and the candidate himself not vehemently condemn them.  Instead, his response is simply, “Go home to mama” or “Get them out of here.”

Recently, I watched an NBC reporter ask this same candidate about the Ku Klux Klan.

His response was he needed a little more information about the group and its leadership.  This was unbelievable that anyone could give that response.  Yet this candidate leads the race for the Republican Party nomination.

I will simply join the chorus when I say that the Grand Old Party is in shambles and disarray.  Many years ago, my Spanish teacher at Atkins High School, Dr. Madeline Scales, would use the term “shell shocked” when our answers were not correct.  Well the Republican Party is officially “shell shocked.”

It started when Barack Obama was elected to his first term as President of the United States of America.  It continued when Republican Congressman Joe Wilson said, “You lie” on September 9, 2009 during the State of The Union address.  This Republican shell-shocked mindset continued when The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  All of this is simply emboldened by the coolness, aplomb and human touch that President Obama displays when he interacts with people and deals with the issues of the day.

The Republicans are disorganized, dis-jointed and disgraced by what is happening today.  It is my opinion that the GOP paid way too much attention to President Barack Obama and trying to stop him.

Their unified and collective mantra was “No we can’t” instead of “Yes we can” for the good of this country.  Their constant no refrain meant they weren’t paying attention to what was happening to their party.  Donald Trump was happening to their party.  As a result, they got a candidate straight from a variety show as their choice for the most important office in the world.  C’mon man, just c’mon.  He slipped through the cracks and now is on public display every day.

Some traditional Republicans like former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have tried to stop him.  So far it hasn’t worked.  I am reminded of the song by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams entitled, “Too much, too little, too late.”  I may be wrong.  We’ll just have to wait and see as the Republican National Convention is just around the corner.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C Smith University where he was all-conference for four years.

He is the President Emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio and a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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