Posts Tagged ‘Protesting’

Trump Victory & American Loss

November 12, 2016
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Melania Trump poses for British GQ magazine fifteen years before becoming the First Lady.

President Elect Donald J. Trump’s wife Melania will inherit the title of First Lady when he takes the oath of office in January, 2017.  Unless you have been hiding under a rock, by now you realize that Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States of America.

Trump has been on record making racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic statements that struck a chord with the American electorate.  Trump also campaigned on promises to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, increase military power, end universal healthcare, limit funding to United Nations initiatives, and to rescind US participation the Paris Accord that focuses on global warming.  Despite facing pending criminal charges that alleged that Donald Trump raped and sexually assaulted a child, he has continued to the highest office in the land.  (The rape charges were officially dropped days before the election on November 4 according to the Jeff Zarranandia of Snopes.)  The president elect has no prior government experience but he has vowed that he is the person that can make America great again.

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Protesters against President Elect Trump are pictured in Seattle, Washington. Foreign press like The Indian Express focused on the breadth of the protests in America.  [Source Associated Press via The Indian Express]

Some United States citizens feel a profound sense of loss due to the election of Donald Trump.

Many Americans are already protesting the Trump ascension.  Most notably a movement using the moniker Yes California along with the hashtag #CalExit is organizing to separate Western states from the rest of the United States.  Demonstrations have been held in cities throughout the entire United States in the days following the election results and it is a situation worth monitoring further because the world has taken notice.

The policy changes recommended by President Elect Donald Trump have far reaching effects.  The United States of America has technically been at war for 223 out of the 240 years of existence and the use of the military depends upon the moral authority of the presidency, and congress to act.  Trump has advocated a more aggressive use of the military that has been ruled illegal or unconstitutional along with beginning new armed conflicts in new countries.  The opinions held by citizens of other countries is trending downwards and confidence in the proper use of the United States military power has also significantly eroded around the world.  The destruction of life and property is also very unpopular to begin with, but it is even more detested when the results can be seen on the nightly news.

The motives for using force are eventually rendered naked in the age of information and even more subtle shifts are studied in great detail.  The Paris Accord is an agreement fostered by the United Nations that officially went into force on November 4 as published on their website.  Environmental concerns over global warming have caused responsible industrialized nations to limit their own production of harmful gasses for the good of everyone on the planet. Donald Trump doesn’t believe that human activity can cause climate change and has expressed a desire for the United States to back out of the obligation during his campaign.  While he might be unsuccessful in his initial desire, this sort of stance reveals that President Trump would be reluctant to continue to doggedly pursue solutions to a shared, pressing problem.

A novice politician without any experience in government beat out seasoned lifers on a grueling campaign trail but citizens of the world are now questioning American integrity for electing such a polarizing figure.  The new direction that a Trump presidency would proceed in is likely to be viewed as reflecting the views of the American populous even though he failed to win the majority of votes.  Instead of informing would-be constitutional scholars on the Electoral College system that the United States is a republic, perhaps we should all examine Trump?

Even a perceived deficiency in character in the President of the United States can significantly alter reality for voters at home in America and foreigners abroad.  It is dangerous for the United States to endure such a loss and in turn, it puts the entire world in peril.

[Featured Photo from The New York Post files]

Stomping Grapes In Jerez For Vendimia

September 6, 2016
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The Cathedral in Jerez de la Frontera during the official opening of the Vendimia Festival.

The ‘Pisa de la Uva’ or the stomping of the grapes is the most important Vendimia Festival in all of Spain. Xerez may be the city of horses but the name is literally translated as sherry. The wine is amazing and unique; and the city of Jerez has a history with wine unlike any other city in the world.

Let’s recap: sherry = Jerez = Xerez = famously fortified wine.

I met some friends on the steps of the Cathedral in order to witness the Blessing of the Grapes which is the traditional start of harvest events as sanctioned by the City of Jerez.  In fact, on this particular occasion the government became the central story in 2016.  Apparently there were some disgruntled workers that took it upon themselves to protest the mayor during the proceedings.  Loud horns and blaring sirens were directed at the officials conducting the ceremony.

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These guys really know how to clear out a grape harvest festival.

The desired effect was achieved and most of the attention went to former government workers that had the audacity to hold a politician’s feet to the fire over one of her campaign promises of reinstating them.  Flyers littered the ground as tourists and locals alike traversed the steps of the Cathedral to hear the words from the priest.  Anyone within 500 meters of the protesters would easily hear the tumultuous din that they were causing, but none of the audience could even hear a word of the blessing.  The protesters showed the world that they were adamant by not only drowning out the voice of the church, but they also completely distracted what looked to be school aged children performing in the band.

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Vendimia is normally festive.

Spain is a wonderful place full of character.  There is no way to factor that unique aspect of the culture into an event, such as this.  Of course in the front rows that were carefully partitioned ahead of the rabble the gentlemen in suits or women in fine dresses didn’t even peer in the direction of those protesting for their jobs.  Some people had made it a point not to notice what absolutely could not be ignored.  Others were even more prepared and donned their own earplugs.  Many of the local folks simply gave up and resigned themselves to drink fino, amontillado, and oloroso away from the noise.  The tourists like myself were treated to an extra ambiance of Bronx cheers and chants at an otherwise peaceful, yet abbreviated event.

Protests happen all around the world and the complaints of the aggrieved have never agitated this New Yorker to the point that I lose empathy so I pushed on.  My understanding of the festival wasn’t diminished as much as my hearing but it would have been very nice to see how much my Spanish comprehension has improved.  The only chance to listen to anything at all was the eerie silence of the protesters during one, purposefully elongated, Spanish national anthem during which all stood quietly.  I have to admit that the band was pretty good and that the idea of a national anthem without all the problematic and pesky words might be growing one me.

I had no use for the audio in the video above so rest assured that you will be spared and any offensive sound is replaced with a mellow soundtrack.  The last thing that I will write about this event is that the good people of Jerez did have the decency to pour some wine for the masses.  Maybe I’ll see you next year?