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Posted: November 19, 2016

When all else fails, go to the Czech Republic

Gerry WarnerPerceptions by Gerry Warner

Well, you won’t have Warner to kick around anymore! At least for a while. Let me explain and please forgive me for channeling Richard Nixon.

By the time you read this, I’ll be 30,000 feet or so in the heavens on a KLM flight from Calgary to Amsterdam and then on to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Prague, Czech Republic.

In Prague, I’ll be taking a one-month intensive course in teaching English as a second language and if things work out according-to-Hoyle, which they seldom do, I may be spending more time in the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia until the so-called “Velvet Divorce” of 1993 when Czechoslovakia became two separate countries; the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Actually, that’s no longer quite true because the Czech Republic is going through another name change that will see it become “Czechia,” a name I won’t try to pronounce but you’ll probably see on TV on the uniforms of the Czech hockey team when they play in the annual international World Junior Hockey Championship in Toronto in December.

No, I’m not fleeing North America in the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning victory in last week’s election. But Czechia may be an interesting, if not safe, place to land in light of what the US may become under the sway of “Herr Donald.” Yes, that’s an allusion to Hitler, which I truly hate to make because I was hoping against hope that Trump might surprise us again by continuing to act graciously as he did for a brief while when he spoke to Clinton and Obama in the aftermath of the election. Unfortunately, two events since Trump became “President Elect” have me thinking differently and fearfully.

First his appointment of Steve Bannon as his “Chief Strategist.” Bannon is the man Bloomberg Business Week calls “the most dangerous political operative in America” and one of the leaders of the “alt right,” a secretive, white nationalist, extremist group. Now as chief strategist, the former executive chairman of the ultra-conservative Briebart News, will never be more than a heartbeat away from Trump or the Oval Office.

The mainstream media, which underestimated Trump throughout the campaign, calls Bannon a misogynist, an anti-Semite and a neo-Nazi and there is evidence to back up these toxic allegations. Commenting in The Guardian, Michael Keegan, president of the progressive pressure group People for the American Way, said: “By choosing Steve Bannon as chief strategist, Trump has made clear that he intends to carry the racism and anti-Semitism of his campaign straight into the White House.”

Then there was the sickening story Tuesday about the small-town West Virginia official who posted a message on Facebook about First Lady Michelle Obama saying, “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape (sic) in heels.” In response to this incendiary, racist posting, Clay, West Virginia Mayor Beverley Whaling replied, “just made my day Pam.”

I’m not making this up. Pamela Taylor, the official who sent the post has since been fired and the mayor forced to resign. But how do you respond to a racist outburst like this? If ever there was a beautiful, gracious and classy First Lady it’s Michelle Obama. So, was this an isolated incident of toxic racism or is it typical of how millions of Americans think? I’d like to think it isn’t. But if it is, there’s more than a swamp that needs draining in Washington and I manifestly think Trump is not the man to do it. He would only add to the problem and trigger a potential race war. And Trump hasn’t even finished naming his cabinet yet in a cutthroat battle a CBC commentator called a “knife fight.”

But maybe this is just another example of the mainstream media getting it wrong. There must be some sort of an explanation for the malignant hatred floating in the ether since Trump’s great victory. In the meantime, there’s only one thing I can say for sure.

I’m so glad I’m going to the Czech Republic Friday.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who hopes that Trump will soon realize that being President is more than just another reality TV show.

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