The Heat: U.S. vice presidential debate

Compared to last week’s presidential debate filled with interruptions, Wednesday’s encounter between Vice President Mike Pence and the challenger – Senator Kamala Harris – was relatively civil.

Then earlier today, shortly after debate organizers announced the next presidential debate would now be virtual – President Trump said he would no longer participate.

CGTN’s White House correspondent Nathan King has the details.

To discuss:

  • Jadan Horyn is a writer and conservative commentator.
  • Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for “Roll Call’ and host of the “Equal Time” podcast.
  • Joel Rubin is democratic strategist
  • Amy Holmes is a writer for HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and a columnist from the Swiss weekly, “Die Weltwoche.”

To remember John Lewis, remember the real John Lewis — and his righteous fight

Many Americans, when they remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, reflexively turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, quoting selective passages about content of character. But my sister Joan, who stood under a shaded tent that day, making signs with freedom slogans for out-of-towners to raise high, had a different answer when I asked for her thoughts. Not to take anything away from King, she told me, “It wasn’t just that speech. It was all the speeches.” And what impressed her teenage self most were the words of a man who was just 23, a few years older than she was.

On that day, John Lewis was already stirring up the “good trouble” he favored when he said: “To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!”

It was a speech that, in an early draft, was a tad fiery for some elders in the movement for equality and justice. Lewis did tone it down — but not enough to lose its urgency.

Some of the tributes to Lewis, who died last week at the age of 80, emphasized his generosity of spirit, evident in his ability to forgive and embrace those who beat him into unconsciousness. But the picture is incomplete without acknowledging the impatience, the fury to make it right, that saw him through more than three dozen arrests, five after he was elected to Congress. Just as those who would have been or probably were in that majority of Americans who considered King a rabble-rouser then and revere him now, many are all too eager to recast Lewis as a secular saint who just wanted everyone to get along.

Of course, they would. It would let them off the hook.

POLITICAL WRAP: Trump Campaign “Culture War” Strategy; A New Silent Majority?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump, at Mount Rushmore on Friday night, set the stage for a campaign increasingly focused on “culture war” issues.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” the President said.

So, is the appeal of a “culture war” campaign too narrow?

Or is there a Nixon-esque “Silent Majority,” as the President is saying, ready to show up in November?

Click above for more with our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis.

There is more than one way to be Black — and to be an American

Elijah McClain of Aurora, Colorado, was many things. The slight 23-year-old, who looked younger, was a massage therapist one client described as “the sweetest, purest person I have ever met.” He was a vegetarian who taught himself to play the guitar and violin and shared his musical gifts with shelter animals to calm them. Family members said he sometimes wore a ski mask because he was anemic and always cold, and perhaps to create some distance in a world he found overwhelming. (And aren’t we all supposed to be covering our faces these days.) In his final trip to a convenience store, though, he interacted with the clerk and customers, it seemed from video, offering a bow on his way out.

Did he look “sketchy” and “suspicious” to a 911 caller and police because he sang to himself on the walk home and waved his arms, perhaps conducting a symphony only he could hear? McClain told the police who stopped him, “I am an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

The three officers escalated the confrontation, took him down with a hold that made him utter a too-often-heard refrain: “I just can’t breathe correctly.” One officer threatened to sic a dog on him. If they saw his quirks, his idiosyncrasies, his joy, it did not translate. If they heard his pleas, these enforcers of laws the young man had not broken did not listen. “You are beautiful and I love you,” he told them. He apologized for vomiting as police tossed around his 140-pound body before medics shot it up with strong drugs.

Now, Elijah McClain, who police say committed no crime, is dead.

Special Program – Black Charlotteans: A Candid Conversation On Race

The death of George Floyd and the unrest that exploded across the country has forced a conversation on the table. It’s a wake-up call for America to examine the impact of racism and reckon with injustices people of color face daily. Every Black American has a story to tell. Is the country ready to listen? Award-winning columnist Mary C. Curtis sits down with fellow Charlotteans of color to share some of those stories and reflect on this moment.

Host:

Mary C. Curtis, journalist, speaker, columnist at CQ Roll Call, and contributor to WFAE, WCCB-TV and a variety of national outlets. She is senior facilitator with The OpEd Project.

Panelists:

Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC Charlotte and author of “Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism.”

Justin Perry, owner and therapist at Perry Counseling Healing and Recovery. He is a partner with the group Charlotte for Black Futures

Tonya Jameson, political consultant, former Charlotte Observer reporter

Leondra Garrett, native Charlottean and longtime community advocate who works with the groups Block Love Charlotte and United Neighborhoods of Charlotte to build community and feed our homeless neighbors.

POLITICAL WRAP: Confederate Monument Controversy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump is speaking out about the removal of monuments.

“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments,” the President said during a rally on Saturday night.

It comes as Governor Roy Cooper orders the removal of Confederate monuments in Raleigh, citing public safety concerns.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has more on the debate surrounding monuments and other Confederate symbols.

A Special Juneteenth Town Hall Conversation – “Generations in the Making: A Reckoning with America’s History” – Video

ASMP pre-empted our regularly scheduled Friday Town Hall in recognition of Juneteenth. Our distinguished guest is award-winning journalist, educator, speaker and editor Mary C. Curtis.

The current American moment is not only about George Floyd. It’s not only about law enforcement. It’s about the systemic racism that has been present in our society and culture since before the country’s founding. It affects every facet of American life. “Unless we consider that history, it is impossible to understand what’s happening today,” says Curtis. “It’s rooted in the soil of American history.”

ASMP members have a unique ability to frame how others see the world. We must educate ourselves so we can use our gifts to build a just and equitable country.

 

Will cries of justice resonate with Trump voters of faith?

For so long, the Supreme Court was the deal-maker and -breaker for white evangelicals and, to a lesser extent, white Catholics and their unshakable partnership with the Republican Party. The GOP knew it in ways the Democratic Party never did, to its peril come election time. In 2016, with a narrow victory, President Donald Trump won the right to transform the federal judiciary and, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s help, has delivered.

But with the court’s decision this week protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers, written by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Trump’s prime-time appointee, some of those voters were a little shook. This would not be the only reason to wonder if Trump is losing his grip, if only a bit, on his most faithful (no pun intended) voting base.

While there is no reason to think that those guided by socially conservative beliefs will turn en masse to the Democrats and Joe Biden — better the thrice-married devil you know — a few in that group may be considering issues of life and rights in more nuanced ways. You can see it in the sometimes clumsy but also heartfelt reflections on the growing protests proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” and demanding police reform.

How open are faith leaders to the cries for justice from their flock and from “the least of these”? And if actions to eliminate inequality matter, will the Trump administration be evaluated and found wanting? Not that it would trigger a seismic shift away from a candidate and a man who is transactional in all the ways that matter. But might it initiate a conversation centered on the words of that good book Trump brandished but never bothered to open in his infamous photo op in front of St. John’s Church?

Mary C. Curtis: Lawmakers Work On Police Reform Legislation

CHARLOTTE, NC — WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis talks police reform as lawmakers of both parties work on a legislation.

Mary C. Curtis: George Floyd Protests, Americans Frustrations, and Nationwide Call to Action

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People across the country are pushing for criminal justice reform in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a now ex-police officer in Minneapolis.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis has more on the nationwide call to action and the frustrations from fellow Americans.