His March from Egomania to Cruelty and Fascist Subjugation
Last week, The People, Yes! –-- to quote a powerful poem by Carl Sandburg.
We The People proved that vigorous public action including letters to Congress and to various Editors, vigils at Congressional home-district offices and speak-outs at town meetings, lobbying by the AMA and even some insurance companies, and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience –-- sit-ins in Congressional offices that resulted in arrest -– could and did stop the steamroller of White House and Congressional efforts to kill thousands of Americans for the sake of reducing taxes on the hyper-wealthy.
As the song that Jews sing at the Passover Seder says, Dayenu! -- For a moment, that is “enough” for us. And now take a deep breath and look for the next verse in the song –-- the next action.
There are three major directions in which public action might focus on preventing further disasters carried out by the deliberately cruel and egomaniacal Trump presidency with its cruel and neo-fascist anti-democratic allies in Congress. :
First, let’s be clear: Personal egomania is so dismissive of other human beings that it easily becomes political cruelty. The personal egomaniac wins support from corporate wealth because he promises massive tax cuts for the self-obsessed wealthy, the end of regulations to protect the public, and subjugation of all who are outside “the family” and even of the Earth itself.
For Trump, the protected circle of “family” becomes literally just that, as even ardent supporters like Attorney-General Sessions are publicly slandered and threatened.
When it comes to the public at large, there are many whom Trump and his Congressional toadies define as outside “the family”: Blacks, Latinos, the poor, immigrants, Muslims, the disemployed, independent-minded women, LGBTQ people, the critical press.
Even those who voted for Trump are damaged by his and his political allies’ sabotage of their health and their lives. And to keep them voting for their despoiler, they are encouraged to sneer and snarl at others even “lower” by race and religion on the white-nationalist, anti-Native version of a totem pole..
There are three parallel tracks by which to oppose this would-be fascist regime: (a) Opposing acts that disempower grass-roots communities and wound the Earth; (2) Resisting attacks on democracy and civil liberties; (3) Creating new life-giving alternatives.
(1) Direct opposition, including actual resistance in the form of disobedience of decrees that demean and subjugate people.
Thus the airport demonstrations helped stir judges into canceling decrees against refugees and bans on Muslim immigrants. Thus courageous vigils and even sit-ins by “Dreamers” who are risking deportation by publicly protesting.
That will certainly require reaching out in new ways to all those who have been treated as marginal in our society – – both those who have long been marginalized like Blacks, Latinos, GLBTQ people, women, the poor -- and those who now feel newly left out from the new economy and the new culture of the 21st-century. [To read the rest of this essay and see additional graphics, click on "Read More" just below.]
It means taking on right now the struggles for –
- healthcare as a universal human right,
- access to higher education as a right,
- affirmation of individual choices about sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, and gender as human rights for women and men and those who are stretching beyond those binary definitions of gender,
- empowerment of neighborhoods to develop their own co-ops and the celebratory (not discriminatory) aspects of their own cultures;
- freedom of religion for human beings, not distorted to give corporations power to control the religious choices of their workers and their customers.
- a Federal budget and tax system that enhance economic equality and cultural freedom
And it means defining as a human right our ability to live as part of a planet that is life-giving, healing, and healthy.
It means direct resistance to new Trumpian directives of the EPA -- now really the Earth-Poisoning Agency – that will leave our food, our air, our drinking water vulnerable to poisons and our Mother Earth subjected to global scorching.
(2) Strong support for independent investigations into the possibility that Trump and his minions colluded with the Russian government to distort and defeat the democratic process of American elections.
I notice that there are some progressives who think that this whole issue is a distraction from issues that actually affect the pocketbooks, the dignity, the health, and the lives of flesh-and-blood Americans.
Some have suggested ignoring the “Russia” question and focusing on the known Neo-Fascist campaign to drown democratic elections in overwhelming floods of money, and to strangle democratic elections by excluding various categories of voters and gerrymandering the districts in which they vote.
But I think this is “Both/And,” not “Either/Or.” I think that the emergence of an international fascist alliance – – you might say, the Faschintern – is extraordinarily dangerous.
The connections between the anti-democratic white-supremacist governments of the United States, Russia, Poland, Hungary, and the white-supremacist parties in Britain, France, and even the Scandinavian countries bode ill for the future of democracy in Europe and America.
Those who are deeply concerned by the erosion of democracy and those who are deeply hurt by specific anti-democratic policies should unite to oppose this Neo-Fascist upwelling. We need not "centrism" but truly “populist” pro-people political movements to appeal to the left-out people who have supported these fake-populist energies.
Trump has made some noises suggesting he might fire Robert Mueller, the chief investigator into the ”Russia” question and related matters. If he does try to set himself and his cronies above the law, we must all treat this as a crisis in democracy itself -- exactly the kind of “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution had in mind when it provided for impeachment.
Many members of the House and Senate have made clear that they are operating out of fear of being “primaried” out of office if they clash with Trump. So if Mueller is fired, We the People must crowd every Congressional and Senatorial office demanding a vote to impeach and then a vote to remove Trump. Not leaving till it’s done.
(3) Not only struggling against despotic acts of government and corporations, but also creating new life-giving alternatives.
One key focus should be greatly increasing the “co-op” sector of our lives: enterprises that are governed by one-member=one vote, not one dollar=one-vote. (The latter often turns out to mean, “One million dollars = one million votes.”)
We should be demanding investment money to multiply food co-ops so that no American neighborhood is without one.
And in a generation when we eat from the Earth not only food for our mouths and bellies, but “food” in the form of energy –-- coal, oil, sunlight, wind – we should be organizing neighborhood and congregational solar-energy and wind-energy co-ops.
And health co-ops ---- neighborhood clinics governed by the neighbors.
And money co-ops --- credit unions, where the members can democratically decide where to invest the money. In a coal-mine company that is destroying West Virginia mountains, or in a solar-energy company that is turning sunlight into electricity?
And a religious life that sees ceremony not as empty rote but as a heart-felt affirmation of justice and compassion, moving toward an Earth that sustains us all in abundance and justice.
- That sees Yom Kippur as a time to fast so as to remind ourselves of the hunger millions suffer, and of our obligation to feed them.
- That sees Passover as not only a time to recite the ancient Ten Plagues as we drip the wine from our cups, but as a time to stop the modern Carbon Pharaohs from bringing on our planet the modern Plagues of global scorching.
- That sees the Good Friday pilgrimages through our cities and small towns on the “Way of the Cross” as a time to visit the neighborhoods that wealthy corporations and their subservient governments have made into slums, pools of disemployment, epidemics of asthma, schools empty of learning. And to resist the crucifixion of those neighborhoods.
- That sees Eid aI-Idha -- the Muslim festival that shares food with the poor to commemorate Abraham’s offering as a sacrifice not his son but a ram -- as a teaching for compassion and sharing: “Do Not Kill Your Children in War; Feed the Poor!”
- That sees a time of meditation as a chance to hush’sh’sh and listen to the One Universal Breath of Life we share with trees and frogs and grasses -- and all other humans.
Where there is no Vision, the People Perish. And where there is no Plan, the People Perish.
As you see, The Shalom Center is committed to the creativity that comes from the Spirit Rising. As you also see, we affirm all these nonviolent avenues of Resistance and Creation – and we continue to put most of our energy into the healing of our deeply endangered Mother Earth.
And The Shalom Center will provide you with the tool-kits, the blueprints, for vigorous local action. Please help us do this by contributing through the maroon “Contribute” button in the left-hand margin.