Yesterday Donald Trump used the power of the presidency to protect himself from the ongoing FBI investigation:
Did he or his supporters collude with the government of Russia to corrupt American democracy and win his own election?
His firing of FBI director Comey was a travesty on justice and the Constitution, and his trumped-up “explanation” of it was a deliberate middle-finger “F--- you!” to the American people. (Long ago my teen-age kids taught me that ”Forget you!” was an even worse attack on someone’s dignity. Trump’s assault on our memory and dignity combines the two.)
He assaulted democracy "within" the law, like the takeovers of other tyrants in not-too-distant memory.
People protest is the only worthy response. The Shalom Center has already written our members and friends in and near Washington DC, encouraging them to take part in the White House protest at NOON TODAY, called by MoveOn.
We urge that all around the country, we help organize such protests at Federal buildings. We urge that clergy of all faiths, lawyers of all political persuasions, teachers of all disciplines -- our neighbors of all regions and origins -- name this putsch exactly that – a tyrannical act to annul democracy. We urge that protesters fly the American flag – this way:
We have also written several key independent-minded organizers suggesting that if there is no serious motion by — say — next Monday to create an official independent investigation of Trump & Russia, that they create a high-profile People’s Commission of Investigation made up of people like this —
- Sally Yates, the deans of a couple of law schools, if possible Judge Merrick Garland;
- a few clergy — e..g Jim Wallis at Sojourners, Rabbi David Saperstein, Sister Simone Campbell of “Nuns on the Bus,” Joseph Cardinal Tobin (the new Archbishop of Newark, appointed by Pope Francis);
- Reps. John Lewis and/or Elijah Cummings and/or Barbara Lee —
- former Republican NJ Governor "Christie" Todd Whitman;
- Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Such a Commission would not have formal subpoena power but would have great public clout to invite/ force witnesses to appear and could put them under oath through affidavits.
Don’t wait! -- Demand a formal independent Commission. Crowd your way into your Congressmembers’ home offices, or on the doorstep. Don’t leave till they commit to supporting it. That has been one of the most successful tactics so far, in mounting the Resistance.
And tell the truth about how tyranny turns into cruelty.
Most tyrants resort to cruelty when resistance to their tyranny endangers them. Some tyrants make cruelty a plank in the platform of their ascent to power.
Beginning in the days when Trump used humiliation in his reality TV program, giving viewers shivers of delight as he snarled, "You’re fired!" he has used cruelty as part of his toolbox to gain power.
Then his cruelty was psychological. As candidate and as president, he has made it physical.
- It is physically cruel to repeal regulations that keep our water pure, protecting our children from mercury and lead.
- It is physically cruel to deprive 24 million Americans of their health insurance, as he is trying to do.
- It is physically cruel to deprive sick people of access to carefully controlled medical marijuana, even where states have concluded it is life-supporting.
- It is physically cruel to reopen and re-escalate the US war in Afghanistan, sentencing American soldiers and Afghan civilians to death and maiming.
- It is physically cruel to order immigrant families who are living calmly in the United States to be shattered by deportations.
- It is physically cruel to incite arson attacks on mosques.
- It is physically cruel to deprive low-income women of the only health clinics they can afford.
- It is physically cruel to worsen the climate chaos that has brought on droughts, famines, floods, storms of refugees, thousands of deaths.
When Trump fired Comey, the point was not to humiliate him but to humble us -- We the People. Not a TV show but naked top-down anti-democratic power. This tyrannical act is intended to disempower us, to male it possible to impose cruelty on myriads of people,.
Why? Maybe egomania, narcissism, even sadistic pleasure in subjugating others. (Remember his delight in physically assaulting women.) AND -- this tyranny, thse cruelties now has a strategy -- for the sake of enriching himself, a few thousand hyper-wealthy Americans , and a few hundred global corporations.
What do we do? First we tell each other the truth, as I have tried to do in this letter to you –- and I welcome your thoughts and responses, which I will be glad to share with our readers and members.
Then we plan how to renew democracy from the bottom up. In the next few days, I and others here at The Shalom Center will share with you our sense of strategy, of how to do this.
Our strategy must be rooted in our spiritusl commitment. To draw on a old poem by Robbie Burns for new purposes --
Now’s the day and now’s the hour;
See encroach cruel Donald’s power
Watch his minions sneer and glower—
Hoping that we’ll flee.
Americans whom Lincoln led,
Americans whose Roosevelt said,
"Fear alone will leave us dead!" --
Will you retreat to sleepy bed
Or struggle to be free?
We who Constitution follow
Know his threats will be but hollow
If we together Justice hallow --
Sow seeds of change on earth that’s fallow--
On to victory!
And if we help each other –- financially as well as emotionally. WE need your help. Please click on the maroon button omn the lef-hand margin to send us contributions that we urgently need if we are to continue working against tyranny, against cruelty, against a strategy of subjugation. Every gift helps; if you can begin with $180 and give more if you can, that would be wonderful.
Many thanks. Blessings to you of grit, commitment, creativity. -- Arthur