BACKGROUND: I woke up this morning with a flash of fear from reading commentary warning about the trajectory toward fascism of the USA government under Trump. Items on the list toward fascism are things like - hatred of intellectual thought (elites), suppression and attempts to control the press (fake news), picking a vulnerable population as the enemy (e.g. immigrants) and blaming everything on them; lying and cheating with impunity, militarizing the police, racism, sexism, undermining judicial functions, demanding loyalty, denigrating challenging voices, disdain for human rights, corporate power protected over labor power, preying on people’s fears, calling forth violence on those that disagree with him, paranoia (e.g. the deep state), and constant personal attacks.
PROBLEM: Trump’s America is dangerously hovering toward Un-America. Putin must be drooling gleefully at every divisive and defensive Trump tweet as he raises his vodka glass to the gods of good luck. Putin’s Russian bots have infected our social media with the sole purpose of fanning the flames of hatred and division. Sowing division splits the USA, and has serious effects on free and unbiased elections, the cornerstone of our democracy.
Trump has flung bolts of lightening into the fabric of American democracy, starting fires that have tarnished the free press, Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, asylum seekers, black and brown people, women, LGBTQ people, poor people, and our Allies.
His base of supporters may feel seen. But does he really care for them? Tariffs are straining our friendships with Canada and Europe, our closest allies, and are potentially putting at risk the economy and the jobs of the very people who continue to support Trump.
Maybe it is like when you burn your finger on a hot stove while cooking – look at the red blister rising, feel the pain, say ouch and it goes away in a few days. You can’t do much more than put ice on it or ointment for temporary relief. But Trump’s fire is spreading. When the smoke clears from this giant orange blaze after the retardant spray and water hoses of “the rebellion” to preserve democracy, where will we be? Did we save the kitchen from being burnt down? We look through the haze just like the rebels awaking in the dawn’s early light in fear they lost the war to the British. “Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave…?”
Squint. Lets look again. There are burn stains on this flag right now. I hope it does not get destroyed. “Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight.” Our perilous fight today is for the preservation of the soul of democracy.
SOLUTION: Follow the advice of activists with long-time experience, like Congressman John Lewis, and get involved in fighting for causes, like family unification at the borders. I was moved by the passion of a Jewish friend who wrote on her social media page this week that she was willing to die to fight for family unification of immigrants.
DO: keep speaking up: rally, march, learn, stay informed, inform others, help get out the vote, vote.
DO NOT: let your fears encourage you to lash out in violence, which allows us to fall into uncivil behaviors. This is difficult because the impulse is to slap back. But that just feeds the other side’s views and widens the rifts of division in the USA.
DO NOT: sink to name-calling when someone disagrees with you. This perpetuates stereotypes, which hardens the cement of prejudice.
DO: take breaks, feel the wind on your face, be present and look into the eyes of those you love.
QUOTE: Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice…