Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 27, 2017

Slippery slope

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

I know a lot of people were shocked and surprised when Donald Trump won the election. I know I was, but deep down in my gut I knew that it was a possibility. That’s why when folks were yuking it up during the primary season about the hilarity of Donald Trump winning the primary I was hoping that one of the other Republican yahoos, yes even Ted Cruz, would eke it out in the end.

Because we’ve seen a form of this locally and if it can happen in a “progressive” town, it was inevitable that the dog whistle slogan that has some Americans frothing with joy did the same in our own local election.

From the Texas Standard about the inauguration speech:

At Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, he laid out his foreign policy plan for his next four years in office:

“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first — America first.”

While this has probably horrified any number of self-styled liberals and progressives who remember and recall the history around the term “America First”, briefly for those who may not know:

It is extremely unfortunate that in his speech Wednesday outlining his foreign policy goals, Donald Trump chose to brand his foreign policy with the noxious slogan “America First,” the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.

Too many people turned a blind eye or simply shrugged when it was used locally:





“Alamedans First” was no less dog whistle-y than “America First” and it’s a slippery slope that we tread when we allow “Alamedans First” to stand unchallenged, as it is when we allow “America First” and its history to be normalized.

In the end we ended up in an election between a super qualified, if flawed candidate who did a very poor job camapaigning and a less qualified populist candidate who was beloved by any one she shared an alcoholic beverage with at some point.

And we’ve seen, in real time locally, the inefficacy of someone who rides into office on a platform of being negative about everything. Ready to attend the opening of every envelope across the island, but uninterested in actually creating any meaningful policy.

We’ve also seen, in real time locally, the leaks from City Hall regarding tantrums when things aren’t going the Mayor’s way.  We’ve also seen, in real time locally, the spillover into the public realm of the Mayor’s private grievances spilling over into publicly opposing the City of Alameda’s stated positions on certain issues.

If we, self styled progressives and liberals, are going to resist the national agenda because of the unqualified person that sits in the Presidential chair.  We should also be hyper aware of what happens locally, what we normalize locally through our actions or our inaction, and if we don’t like what has happened nationally we should never let it happen locally.  No matter how fun or friendly someone seems at Rockwall or Peets.


  1. The mayor was all about Alamedans First until it came to defending those being evicted for forced out by high rents. In this town, you are always only a real Alamedan if you can afford it. That’s why seeing Alameda vote itself a sanctuary town is a bit ironic, especially to those who, over the years, have been excluded by Alameda’s arguably racist planning policies.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — January 27, 2017 @ 8:28 am

  2. Poor gurl shouldn’t have to…

    The Dø ‘On My Shoulders’ – Official video

    Comment by jack — January 27, 2017 @ 9:52 am

  3. For those unaware, Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) did a lot of propaganda cartoons in support of US involvement in WWII. Yeah the “Green Eggs and Ham” guy.

    Comment by brock — January 27, 2017 @ 9:56 am

    • Before anyone else gets offended – here is a ‘trigger warning’: a lot of the Dr. Seuss propaganda from that time, could be seen as – uhhh – insensitive to people of Japanese descent today.

      Comment by brock — January 27, 2017 @ 10:01 am

  4. Perhaps you should read some context for perspective

    AmericaFirst was primarily an anti-war movement. It only got its anti-Semitic reputation from a speech Charles Lindbergh made, which destroyed his reputation for all time.

    I have a hard time finding anti-Semitism in Trump, since his number one daughter converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kirshner, who now has an office in the White House as a primary Trump advisor. Don’t put much stock in dog whistles. It is a sign of prejudice and bigotry when you use a label to define a person you know little about.

    Comment by vigi — January 27, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

    • BTW, it was a New York Times reporter, David Sanger, who suggested Trump use the term “AmericaFirst”, not DJT himself. He got a little sandbagged there.

      Comment by vigi — January 27, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

      • So the President* was TRICKED by a dirty coastal-elite, main-stream-media, NYT reporter (probably Jewish!) and ignorant of important U.S. History?

        Bannon says the MSM are the opposition party. Why is he taking their suggestions?

        *is this also true of his speechwriters and advisers?

        Comment by brock — January 27, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

  5. He wasn’t President yet. But when someone gives you an idea, you never know how it might be used to advantage. Thanks to Hillary’s term “a basket of deplorables”, “Les Deplorables” has a completely new & different worldwide meaning

    Comment by vigi — January 27, 2017 @ 4:10 pm

  6. And let me add on to vigi….

    America lost 100,000 men in only one year of fighting during WWI. Wilsons 14 points were rejected but for the League of Nations, which we didn’t even join. And Congress’s Nye Committee found that bankers and munition makers had conspired to get us into WWI. All national polls showed that more than 80% of Americans thought we should stay out of foreign entanglements. America First was a very popular nationwide organization that suggested we should be well armed, but take care of our own. The day after Pearl Harbor they joined the war effort to protect our country. I call that being an American.

    Comment by Now you know — January 27, 2017 @ 8:35 pm

    • “Being American” is also living by the words inscribed on the Statute of Liberty. Something that the “America First” sentiment didn’t do back during WWII and something that the “America First” sentiment certainly doesn’t do today.

      Comment by Lauren Do — January 28, 2017 @ 6:20 am

      • Yeah but…. Not sure if you purposely used the word “Statute” in your description of the Statue or if it was just a convenient and intentional misspelling for a rhetorical purpose. The words I assume you’re writing about (the huddled masses…etc) were written on a plaque which is part of a poem and was added belatedly and had nothing to do with the meaning of the Statue’s original message.

        The name of the Statue is “Liberty Enlightening the World”. The meaning of the Statue is on the tablet held in her left hand, is part of the Statue itself and has “July IV, MDCCLXXVI” inscribed on it, which references the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In her right hand is the beacon which isn’t lighting the way for immigration but lighting the world to seek Liberty.

        The original message celebrates the new nation’s political values and had nothing to do with immigration. Its original meaning was a force for the betterment of humanity by seeking independence for people and nations as a whole, not just for those who chose to immigrate here.

        But as the world changes, so does the meaning of independence.

        Comment by jack — January 28, 2017 @ 10:22 am

  7. I learned how to deal with President Donald Trump from our current mayor. I kept hoping and praying that, once she was in office, she might “grow into the job.” I kept hoping…and hoping..and hoping…
    All to no avail, of course: we have seen locally what happens when people who lack the ability to lead are in charge, so I stopped holding my breath.

    As a person of faith, I earnestly pray that President Trump will experience a profound and miraculous conversion and become an enlightened, wise POTUS. (With God, ALL things are possible.)

    But I am not holding my breath and I will continue to oppose him as much as I can–just as I opposed the war in Vietnam, Richard Nixon’s illegal and unconstitutional crimes, and marched to save the environment decades ago.

    With any luck we will see regime change here before we see it in the White House–and it may be somewhat easier to accomplish, too. 😉

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 27, 2017 @ 9:27 pm

  8. Trish’s campaign used locally-sourced ingredients in what was a very similar recipe to Trump’s. Seize on discontent and, rather than look for genuine solutions to problems, just make a lot of noise and whip people into an anti-establishment, anti-outsider frenzy. It was as effective as it was ugly in both places, again mutatis mutandis. This doesn’t mean that Trish was a Trump supporter: the median voter in the Alameda is well to the left of the US median voter (her vocal and failed commission-nominee notwithstanding). Nor does it mean that Trish supporters were Trump supporters (but to paraphrase John Stuart Mill on conservatives and stupidity, although it is true that not Trish voters in Alameda were Trump voters, it probably true that most Trump voters in Alameda were Trish voters).

    Comment by BC — January 28, 2017 @ 9:03 am

  9. New passports came in the mail this morning. It was a sobering moment….

    We get ours easily based on circumstance of birth, yet if citizenship were merit based, millions of immigrants and green card holders, et al who have worked and sacrificed to become American & who believe in America would score higher on citizenship merit than millions of native born folks. A nation of immigrants, built by immigrants is turning other immigrants away, led astray by a budding fascist whose grandfather, mother and 2/3 of his wives were immigrants.

    What a sad irony.

    Comment by dave — January 28, 2017 @ 12:34 pm

    • Where you going?

      Comment by jack — January 28, 2017 @ 1:13 pm

    • “Budding fascist”? How can you be a budding anything at age 70?

      BTW, did you know our Alameda Free Library has a liberal bias? I thought i would check out a copy of “The Art of the Deal” since I haven’t read any of DJT’s books. Our library does not have a copy. In fact, although DJT has written 15 different titles, our Alameda Fascist Library has only one of them.
      i asked a friend of mine [a retired AUSD teacher] if she knew this. She said: “Yeah, the Alameda Library doesn’t have any conservative titles I have asked about. And they refused to order them for me”. No wonder so many Alamedans hold only one point of view. They simply haven’t read anything else.

      Fun fact: After grandpa Friedrich Trump immigrated to the US, made his fortune during the Klondike gold rush, and returned to Germany to take a wife, Germany accused him of immigrating to the US to avoid the German draft, and kicked him out of the country.

      Comment by vigi — January 28, 2017 @ 4:13 pm

      • This is ridiculous. They have several titles by Ann Coulter, according to the catalog (including “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!”) and over 30 (!) works by Bill O’Reilly. I’m guessing “The Art of the Deal” was weeded due to lack of interest.

        Comment by trow125 — January 30, 2017 @ 11:38 am

        • You consider Bill O’Reilly’s titles representative of conservative thought? Most of his books are historical, and about Killing Someone: Jesus, Kennedy, Lincoln, etc. He has written a few about his positions, but he is no Thomas Sowell or William F. Buckley Jr. [When I read WFB’s books in high school in the 1970’s, I had to check them out of the NAS base library].

          I haven’t looked for the Ann Coulter books. Thanks for the news. The title is new, and my teacher friend gave up on the AFL long ago.

          “The Art of the Deal” was a 1987 NYT Best Seller. Like him or not, it is supposed to be an autobiography of our current POTUS which makes it a necessary addition to any public library serving a city of our size.

          The “lack of interest” factor is exactly the reason the library gave to my friend for not having the books she was interested in. [She didn’t mention which titles she requested]. I worry about a library that might be lacking significant titles for “lack of interest”.

          Comment by vigi — January 30, 2017 @ 12:26 pm

      • They don’t currently have The Art of the Deal, but they have 4 other Trump authored books in the system, including his follow up Art of the Comeback. You CAN request the book be brought into the system, as an inter-library loan. I chatted with the Main Library today and they said they could order it from Oakland. There’s a form you can fill out online, or there’s a hard copy version of the request form available for those who don’t want to risk breaking into City Hall West to use a computer.

        Comment by AMF — January 30, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

      • Tump didn’t even write The Art of the Deal; he doesn’t have the attention-span. It was ghost-written by a struggling writer. Great story in the New Yorker about he regrets it: A quotation: “If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.””

        And the library has books by Buckley, Hayek and other serious conservative writers. And in terms of junk-writing, as noted, they carry Coulter; they also have Romney, Malkin and Gingrich. Plenty to keep the gullible enraged and misinformed, I would think.

        Comment by BC — January 30, 2017 @ 1:36 pm

        • Oops – I forgot to put quotation marks around word “authored” in my earlier post – thanks for the catch BC!

          Comment by AMF — January 30, 2017 @ 3:42 pm

  10. Spain for sure, couple other places TBD.

    Comment by dave — January 28, 2017 @ 1:28 pm

    • you might want to erase no. 9 before its time to check back in at Customs/Immigration. Word is that King Donald is sensitive to criticism.

      Comment by MP — January 28, 2017 @ 2:24 pm

      • it’s

        Comment by MP — January 28, 2017 @ 2:33 pm

        • Truth is an affirmative defense.

          Comment by dave — January 28, 2017 @ 3:05 pm

        • so far this week it’s been an offense

          Comment by MP — January 28, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

      • Right o, On second thought dave, probably better to stay out of Morocco since it’s doubtful king Trump would allow you back into the US after visiting a Muslim country.

        Comment by jack — January 28, 2017 @ 3:10 pm

  11. Don’t need a passport for Spain. Go south and cross over into Morocco (need a passport, no visa)..great country to visit…once..

    Comment by jack — January 28, 2017 @ 1:53 pm

    • Every other time I’ve been to Spain it took a passport

      Comment by dave — January 28, 2017 @ 3:04 pm

      • Yeah, you need a bad.

        Comment by jack — January 28, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

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