Here are my remarks introducing Rep. Keith Ellison as keynote speaker at the ACLU/NCA Bill of Rights Dinner in April 2013. The attacks on him now that he is running for DNC chair are beneath the dignity of responsible advocates.
The recent spate of attacks on Rep. Ellison’s record of support for Israel & the Jewish community must come to an end https://t.co/X6djyI391N
Happy holidays, everyone. I say it that way because my friends embrace a variety of cultural and religious traditions. I wish to be inclusive. You could say that I think All Holidays Matter. If that offends you, it likely means that you are a Christian supremacist, though you probably hadn't thought of it that way because you just took your Christian privilege for granted. With that attitude, you probably also voted for Trump. Well we live in a diverse society, and religious freedom means not just yours but everybody's. So instead of wailing about a nonexistent war on Christmas, kindly shove a good old pagan Yule Log up your backside. Fa la la la la.
This reminds me of watching plays and movies over the years and noting that characters with deformities almost always represented evil. A person with a hunchback was never just a person with a hunchback. This is a cheap device that should be overcome.
As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides-”Democrats failed to understand white, working class, fly-over America.” Trump supports are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out.
The thought of having to deal with this cascading hatred and ignorance month after month for four years is almost too much to bear. But we must endure, and we must be clear about what is happening, for which there is no legitimate excuse. And we must support one another. The haters are running rampant, but there are more of us than them. Do not let the normalizing media and the lies of cynical people make you forget that.
Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the cold open of Saturday Night Live on November 12.
This was the most beautiful moment on SNL in a long time, possibly since Steve Martin's tribute to Gilda Radner after her death. It was followed by Dave Chappelle as guest host with a sharp monologue whose closing line made me proud to be from the same town. Our national challenge will summon everything we've got, but we will get through this together.
This is one of the most brilliant stand-up routines I have seen in a long time. After all these years Chappelle had the same relaxed tone, the same flawless timing, the same sly subversiveness, the ability to nail the truth and mine humor out of the most controversial material.
Chappelle's bit on the Pulse nightclub massacre leaves me in awe (please watch before reacting). His passing reminiscence of his school days in Washington "dreaming of nights like this" was quite touching, and his final message to Trump was devastating. He conveys a similar combination of vulnerability and authenticity as Richard Pryor, whose ability to connect using personal material verged on the miraculous.
This is important beyond entertainment because we need sharp voices who can cut through the mountains of cynical crap that have been fed to us by the likes of Kellyanne Conway. Dave nailed this the way Kate McKinnon did with her cold open by singing Leonard Cohen. Both provided spiritual nourishment that we will need for what is coming. (PS: Dave's Roosevelt reference was to Teddy Roosevelt inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner, which provoked a huge backlash.)