Charlie Hodge

Hodge: Is agitating Donald Trump really a good idea?

Kelowna columnist Charlie Hodge has a long history of political agitation, but…

By Charlie Hodge

Occasionally as I move forward with my life I am overwhelmed with a feeling I am about to step back into the past. It is with that sense of déjà vu that I will soon fill out a renewal form for my passport.

Once I receive it I really have nowhere to go.

From a financial status I do not have the bucks needed for a long distance trip and from a health perspective a trip to some of the cheaper, impoverished countries is not wise. However, it is the political realm in which I see my largest barrier.

Sometime next year I hope to hop on a plane with Tez and visit Los Vegas. Not because I am a slot machine addict (which I am) but because I would like to see the Vegas Knights play an NHL game in their new rink as an expansion team. It’s simply something I would like to do.

My concern is the Trump factor.

Back in my earliest journalism years (I began writing for the Kelowna Capital News 41 years ago) I wrote a column called Overtime Oracle. It was supposed to be a sports column but I regularly snuck in stories about life, music, environment, social issues…and eventually the editor of the day (Pat Denton) let me start a second column – HodgePodge. Even with something as innocuous as sports I found a way to get in trouble or stir the pot on a regular basis not only to the chagrin of Denton and our lawyers but also, apparently, a few other big shots.

One of the sports/social issues I wrote about regularly back in the mid to late 1970’s was the disgusting racial related injustice dealt to the number one contender for the middleweight championship of the boxing world, Rubin Hurricane Carter. For a number of years I regularly wrote articles chastising the U.S. government and justice system for wrongly incarcerating Carter on trumped up murder chargers.

Carter and a friend John Artis were falsely accused of a 1966 triple murder in a bar in Patterson, New Jersey. Despite the fact that no weapon or any other key evidence was provided except the testimony of two witnesses who said they saw “two black men” commit the crime, Carter was sentenced to life with no parole.

For 18 years Carter lived in prison adamantly denying his part in the crime and insisting he was framed for speaking out on civil rights issues, which was clearly the case. It took 10 years of effort to finally get a re-trial that worked. By then Carter’s plight had drawn the attention of many supportive celebrities including Mohammed Ali and Bob Dylan. Carter’s autobiography The 16th Round was banned for years. Eventually the two ‘witnesses’ admitted they had lied in court about Carter’s role. Carter had numerous witnesses who had previously swore he had been with them and could not have committed the crime.

Finally after nearly 20 years the Hurricane was set free.

However the tentacles of his false imprisonment were huge and impacted many, including me.

In 1979 my first wife and I attempted a holiday to California. Unaware that some of the threats I had received about my columns on Carter were actually legitimate, Catherine and I merrily pulled up at the U.S. order crossing only to be denied access. It took half an hour of arguing before I finally learned we were being denied access because I had been labelled a ‘political agitator.’

Wow. I handled the decision with mixed feelings. Part of me was honoured that I had made such a stink as to be noticed. Catherine failed to see it that way.

Flash forward to today and the state of chaos south of the border and how backwards everything has slid since the moron with the bad hair-do took over at the White House. Considering his myopic and paranoid nature and his concern with “enemies of the U.S.” I have little reason to doubt that once again a list of trouble makers (real or perceived) is stacked on desks at border crossings.

Sadly it seems the spiral of insane actions, comments, and decisions by Trump and his cohorts continues to escalate. Not only does he continue to bully anyone who does not agree with him, he also continues to poke and prod sleeping tigers. Trump and the U.S. now have good reasons to be paranoid at their borders since they have angered China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran and even the NFL.

These are indeed scary times and only going to get scarier.

So, if and when that passport arrives I will hold my breath and hope I manage to travel to Vegas for my dream trip. However, I will not buy my hockey game tickets until I actually get there.

Tez, on the other hand, has told me that she intends to continue on to Vegas with or without me.

Smart girl.

Just Posted

Kelowna Gospel Mission creates more meals with new slicer

The slicer was donated by the Morningside Rotary Club

Jumper cables ignite small car fire

Fire crews quickly put out a car fire in Rutland Wednesday afternoon

Central Okanagan residents urged to chip it, not chuck it

Plans already in place to dispose of Christmas trees after the upcoming holiday

Outbreak affects eight people in Vernon

UPDATE: Gastrointestinal illness reported at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Kelowna auto dealer revs up KGH building project with big donation

Kelowna Toyota has donated $30,000 to help build JoeAnna’s House on hospital grounds

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

RCMP volunteers step up parking lot patrols for Christmas

Citizen’s On Patrol look to deter criminal opportunists while giving shoppers peace of mind

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Most Read