In Days of Discord, President Trump Fans the Flames


The New York Times shows why people around the world “pity” America.”

The San Francisco Chronicle highlights the “disturbing irony” of two knees.

Peter Baker of the Times writes today, “Mr. Trump has presented himself as someone who seeks conflict, not conciliation, a fighter, not a peacemaker. And he has lived up to his self-image at a perilous time.”

As I read Mr. Baker’s column, it became clearer to me why, during these horrific times, the world is “pitying” the United States.

Horrific times – in which the murder of a another black man by police, in broad daylight, is this time completely documented on video;

Horrific times – in which the legal protests by angry citizens, black and white, railing against this “murder by police” have turned into riots and destruction in cities around the country as appropriate action against all the police perpetrators in this crime is inexplicably slow to come;

Horrific times – in which the blame for these riots has been attributed, with no apparent evidence, to “far-left activists” by the chief law enforcement official in the United States, Attorney General William Barr;

Horrific times – in which the President of the United States has demonstrated not only a lack of a leadership, empathy and compassion, but has deplorably fanned the fires through inflammatory statements and tweets.

Here’s the link to, and a PDF of, Baker’s column.



Some key excerpts:

While other presidents seek to cool the situation in tinderbox moments like this, Mr. Trump plays with matches. He roars into any melee he finds, encouraging street uprisings against public health measures advanced by his own government, hurling made-up murder charges against a critic, accusing his predecessor of unspecified crimes, vowing to crack down on a social media company that angered him and then seemingly threatening to meet violence with violence in Minneapolis.

Mr. Trump made no appeal for calm. Instead in a series of tweets and comments to reporters on Saturday, he blamed the unrest on Democrats, called on “Liberal Governors and Mayors” to get “MUCH tougher” on the crowds, threatened to intervene with “the unlimited power of our Military” and even suggested his own supporters mount a counterdemonstration.

“If they had (breached the White House fence) they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”

“Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE??? They love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.”

Is there any wonder that the world feels sorry for us; pities an America that once stood for freedom and hope; feels sorry for the America, self-described as exceptional. America exceptional? Yes it is – and that’s why they pity us.

Let me close with this one last thought: In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, sports writer Ann Killion wrote a column entitled, “Kaepernick and Floyd: 2 knees, 2 reactions, 1 issue.”



Here’s a summary of what she wrote:

The disturbing irony of Kaepernick being made into a monster for taking a knee during the anthem in protest, in contrast to Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin taking a knee on Floyd’s neck and killing him, is not lost on anyone.

And here’s the image that accompanied the column:

Sorry for us? Pity the United States? Not surprising.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

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