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The Rant

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I know I am often slow on the uptake, but would someone please explain to me how anyone, anywhere, at any time, under any set of circumstances could find one miniscule thing likable about Donald Trump?

I think he is the creepiest person on the planet and I can barely stand to watch him on television.

I was flipping through channels one morning last week and saw his Las Vegas endorsement of Mitt Romney and it occurred to me that someone somewhere might actually care who Trump endorses and I can't for the life of me figure out why — or why Trump would feel like he's in a position to endorse anyone at all. He's never served in government or held any kind of position that had anything to do with law or public policy. He has a bunch of garish real estate developments and that embarrassing reality television show, but that's about it. Well, that and that thing on his head, which proves that money truly can't buy taste or intelligence.

The whole thing just seems very odd to me and very indicative of the slippery slope the United States is on toward becoming a country that thrives on nothing but celebrity, hype, and, quite frankly, mindlessness. Here's a guy who is not in politics and caused the majority of the big, ridiculous, unfounded stink about President Obama's citizenship, which cost a lot of people a lot of time and trouble when they could have been doing much more important things, like helping other people, which the reptilian Trump doesn't seem to ever have done. Maybe if he did, his face would unfreeze from that constant look of having just smelled feces and he could smile for once. Why does anyone care what he thinks about Barack Obama and where does he get off asking him to release his birth certificate? Why doesn't Trump focus on things like joblessness being at a three-year low under Obama, the lowest since the president inherited the financial crisis three years ago.

I can imagine — no, dream of and fantasize about — a world without Donald Trump in it, but there's another Donald who changed the world and without whom I can't imagine a world. That was Donald Cortez Cornelius, better known as Don Cornelius, the Soul Train creator and host who died last week an apparent suicide.

Can anyone imagine the world without the "love, peace, and soul" of Soul Train? Not only did he do more to promote soul music than anyone in the world, but he also did wonders for race relations by bringing people together for the love of music. He was like a member of the family to me, because he was in the den on the television every weekend with his smooth-as-silk voice, great hair, cool eyeglasses, and wild outfits. I don't know of anyone who didn't love Don Cornelius. He was just so suave and smart and funny and seemed to genuinely love what he did and all of the people around him. And that included a lot of musical artists from Memphis or with strong Memphis ties: the Bar-Kays, the Temprees, the Dramatics, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Earth Wind & Fire, Ike & Tina Turner, and others. Cornelius gave all of these musicians a national platform and brought them into millions of homes. Who knows what their careers might have been like without that exposure. And what on earth would the 1970s have been like without the Soul Train dance line and the robot? I would even wager to say that Michael Jackson's career wouldn't have taken off the way it did if the world hadn't seen him as a kid with the Jackson 5 on the show.

So who cares what Donald Trump thinks when we have lost the great Don Cornelius, a man who helped build careers, rather than having awful hair and firing people? I would much rather have the endorsement of Donald Cornelius than the megalomaniacal builder of tacky towers and cheesy casinos. Would you rather hear Trump say, "You're fired" over and over or listen to the velvet-voiced Cornelius sign off with, "And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace, and soul!" The answer to that question might say a lot about you.

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