Are these moments connected?
In Philadelphia yesterday, hundreds of gravestones in a Jewish cemetery were toppled.
In Tampa yesterday, a mosque was burned.
In Standing Rock, North Dakota, a careful legal memo written by a Justice Department lawyer detailing the right of the Sioux Nation to protect its land and water was thrown in the garbage by command of the White House and bulldozers resumed tearing through Sioux graves and driving out the Water Protectors.
In the Fort Lauderdale Airport, Muhammad Ali’s son – a US citizen -- was detained and grilled for hours by federal agents about whether he was a Muslim.
In the Philadelphia Daily News, columnist Will Bunch drew together reports of Immigration officers reveling in cruel and pointless humiliation of American Muslims and brownish “foreigners.” See <http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Just-following-orders-Trumps-goon-squad-goes-wild.html>
Are these moments connected? Indeed they are. When a fish rots, the stink begins at the head.
The stink of cruelty and subjugation begins in the White House, and it infects not only those under direct orders but those “volunteers,” those civilians whose worst bendings of the soul are glorified by the White House, and whose best impulses toward compassion and truth are met with sneers and contempt.
These moments are indeed connected. And so must be our response, as it already has been. Muslims raised money and brought their bodies to repair Jewish gravestones. A Jewish woman suffered the mangling of her arm by a police-fired concussion grenade because she steadfastly insisted on being a Water Protector for the Sioux of Standing Rock. And those are but a few of the glowing lights of love.
For years, The Shalom Center has focused most of our attention on those whose greed for Hyperwealth and drive for domination are destroying our common home, the Earth wherein we live. We call them the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs because, like Pharaoh in our ancient story in the ancient Bible, they subjugate human communities and they bring Plagues upon the Earth.
As the Bible tells the story --
“Then a new king came to power in the Land that became Tight and Narrow. ‘Look,’ he said to his people, ‘The Godwrestling People have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous And, if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and rise up over the country.’
“So they put police over them to oppress them.”
Sound familiar? The morning papers report – The White House is preparing a Federal budget that will slash civilian spending -- on pure water, truthful teachers, swift railroads, skilled doctors, justice-pursuing lawyers -- and ramp up the military money that already outdoes all the other military establishments and terrorist arsenals in the world, put together.
Racism, militarism, and materialism are the three deadly “triplets” endangering America, said Martin Luther King on April 4, 1967, fifty years ago, exactly one year before he was murdered.
We need “a radical revolution of values,” said Martin Luther King on April 4, 1967, fifty years ago.
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society [where] machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people -- to a “person-oriented” society,” said Martin Luther King on April 4, 1967, fifty years ago.
“We are confronted by the fierce urgency of Now,” he said.
Today the urgency of Now is even fiercer.
We must end the subjugation of the Earth, of women, of Blacks and Muslims and Mexicans and Jews and Sioux and of the white working-class and lower-middle class people who in despair and rage voted for their enemy.
The fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s most profound and prophetic sermon-speech should be a time for us to gather, to relearn his wisdom and to act with as much courage as he did. Already networks are gathering to do this. (See https://MLK50.org.)
We are in this together. That is the only truth the White House is trying to teach us, precisely with its myriad lies. If we focus on different issues, it is because the issues are different the way the pieces in a jigsaw puzzle are different. They fit together in a wholeness of Truth.
And so must we.
With blessings of Truth, Justice, and Peace –-- the three pillars which, the ancient Rabbis said, make it possible for the world to stand. And then one of them added, “These are not three, but one!” -- Arthur