Voices | Aug. 20-27

Reactions, rants and other random musings from you, our readers

Trump
This week, our readers chat Trump, transgenders, and our undying love for Phillies baseball. | Image provided

Donald Trump’s 11th hour

With rapidly falling poll numbers and a pandemic that has been slowly eating away at the economy, which was once one of President Trump’s strongest selling points, his presidency may be approaching its dying days, and while he may attempt to exude unflinching confidence in interviews, the desperation to gin up votes and win back the disaffected has to be creeping in.

The evidence was not just plastered on his dejected face the night after a meager crowd of 6,200 people — most of them wearing no mask, of course — assembled for his rally in Tulsa. It was evident in his scaremongering over what he deemed will be “the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT election in history,” as he screamed out on Twitter. 

He has made unsubstantiated claims about mail-in voter fraud and even more outlandish, counterfeit ballots from other countries somehow working their way to our shores and past polling officials, who obviously have safeguards in place to make sure those who vote are actual American citizens. 

Trump has refused to say that he would concede the election if Biden was victorious. He has suggested that the election should be delayed, an idea that was flatly squashed by many of his fellow Republicans. He even implied that “the people” might demand that he remain in the Oval Office beyond eight years if he beats Biden.

All of this leads to the peculiarly timed hiring of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who recently orchestrated what has been called a “Friday night massacre” to reconfigure the leadership at the U.S. Postal Service amid concerns about how the agency will handle an anticipated influx of mail-in ballots this year. 

As part of the shakeup, DeJoy, a major Trump donor, “reassigned or displaced” 23 executives, according to The Washington Post. Even before the restructuring, the new postmaster general drew criticism for his attempts to shave spending and rein in the post office’s yearslong financial troubles, which could have led to disruptions in mail-in ballot deliveries during state primaries.

Traditionally, the office of postmaster general draws little to no political attention whatsoever and has been a nonpartisan position. This year, however, is much different, given Trump’s preemptive claims about election fraud, seemingly laying the groundwork for his eventual contention of the election results should he lose.

The appointment of DeJoy is suspicious, to say the least, and could be another marker pointing to Trump’s growing anxiety, installing one of his more ardent supporters in a year when mail-in ballots are expected to see a sharp increase. Trump, while at the same time hurling suspicions at Democrats about supposed dirty election tactics, has unwittingly turned the suspicion on himself.

Let’s say that Trump actually did hire DeJoy to try to subtly guide the election in his favor by disrupting the mail-in voting process, as multiple commentators have suggested. Even if he was willing to take the fall for the president in some grandiose scheme to covertly use the Postal Service as a vehicle to do Trump’s bidding, the president would not escape scot-free. 

In fact, if Biden wins on Nov. 3, Trump and Co., with or without any election malfeasance, may be facing years of additional legal scrutiny related to his impeachment by the House of Representatives and many other scandals and potentially illegal behavior.

Trump has apparently had a grand old time in the White House – golfing, raging on Twitter, bickering with the media, lying to his constituents, bringing international shame to the country and hocking beans and chocolate wafers from the Oval Office – but sadly for him, he may not live long enough, at 74 years old, to outrun all the investigations and indictments that could descend on 725 5th Ave., New York, NY, once he leaves office.

I would say this is just the tragic tale of an old man who may spend his remaining years in public disgrace, but had he shown a scintilla of compassion, honesty and integrity at any point during these past four years, many of his current woes could have been avoided.

As it stands, however, the sun is setting on “The Donald,” and when night descends, the historical record will not be kind. It will show an unprecedented legacy of incompetence, corruption and nepotism that has dimmed our democracy and hobbled our troubled nation at a time when we can ill-afford to go backward.

Jeremy Styron | Philadelphia

The SHOUT Out

Philadelphia schools will reopen early next month – virtually – and students will continue to learn from home until at least mid-November.

Your turn: What are your thoughts on the school’s reopening plan? Should students go back to school from the jump, or possibly stay out all year? Send your thoughts to voices@philadelphiaweekly.com.

Reduce worldwide poverty

Did you know that the global rate of malnourishment has been reduced by 50 percent in the past two decades and more children are in school today than at any time period in history? By tackling world poverty, we can alleviate the suffering of millions and tackle the most troublesome causes of violent extremism worldwide – lack of opportunity, insecurity, injustice, and hopelessness. By advocating for global poverty reduction, you can help make drastic changes for those living in poverty, such as those which have been made in the past two decades, even more prominent. 

You can take action locally to help our global community, and help your own community, by volunteering for the Borgen Project. Visit borgenproject.org

Mackenzie Smith| University of Pennsylvania

These are all still on the Turnpike as of today, the question is how is this still happening? | Image provided

Acts of transphobia must end

Dr. Rachel Levine is the current Pennsylvania secretary of health. Dr. Levine has been disrespected in the media and by individuals because she is a transgender woman. The disrespect toward Dr. Levine has been demonstrated by the misuse of her chosen pronouns in the media and in interviews. 

During a press call, a radio host from Pittsburgh repeatedly called Dr. Levine “sir” during the call. In addition, Gov. Wolf has stated that Dr. Levine has experienced some of the “most vile and toxic transphobia our Commission has seen in our commonwealth in recent years (Time, 2020).” 

Wake up, Pennsylvania! Now is the time to act. If you witness acts of transphobia, then step in and make it known that it is wrong. If you personally demonstrate acts of transphobia, then sit down and reflect on how you could take all that negative energy inside you and do something good with it. I encourage you to research workshops where you can educate yourself on issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces on a daily basis.

– Mickayla Selembo | Latrobe, Pa.

The sound and the fury of Philadelphia fans 

Although COVID-19 has kept Philadelphia sports fans out of the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park, a group called the Phandemic Krew found a way to make their voices heard at Phillies games. With air horns and cowbells, this passionate group of fans meets at the corner of 10th Street and Phillies Drive during game days. With ladders set up along the fence, fans try to catch a glimpse of the game. Television sets inside Ashburn Alley are also on so fans outside can watch the games through the fence.  

The Phandemic Krew was started by two diehard Phillies fans – Brett and Oscar – who make sure everyone wears a mask and does not leave trash behind after the game. They even have a banner to hang up during the games along with an inflatable Phillie Phanatic. The fans keep up the energy in a fun way throughout all nine innings. These Phillies fans even seemed to have gotten under the skin of the Yankees manager Aaron Boone. 

On the Sunday afternoon I attended, it was a fluid crowd of anywhere between 50 to 75 people. My son Ian and I met up with some friends. We brought our coolers and chairs. It is sort of like tailgating but directly outside the ballpark. At one point, Ian climbed a ladder to watch a bit of the game. Even though the Phillies lost, it was a fun time. 

If you are in South Philadelphia during a Phillies game, make sure to stop down by Citizens Bank Park to blast an air horn or two with the Phandemic Krew. 

– Jason Love | Somerdale, New Jersey