The Problem Is Not Trump’s Alone!Posted in America, Americans, Civility, Compassion, Democracy, Good and Evil, Race Relations
Yes! The president has hurled insulting and demeaning words to immigrants, women, and people of color, political opponents and other people.
Yes! The president should take responsibility for how his words may have caused some people to engage in hate-driven acts of violence of which El Paso and Dayton are the most recent and horrific examples.
Yes! The president may be part of the problem and not part of the solution if he continues to ignore the weight and gravity of his words and actions; if he wittingly or unwittingly fosters a culture of permissiveness leading to racial strife and violence and refuses to denounce and call to account those who murder innocent people.
Yes! Cultural conditioning, abusive words and fear “load” the guns of race violence while ignorance, fear and deep seated loathing pull the trigger.
No! The proliferation of hatred, bigotry and violence cannot be ascribed solely to video games.
No! The problem of race-based violence cannot be attributed only to guns and magazine capacities which kill civilians in large numbers. In the final analysis, human beings pull the triggers that cause harm, take lives and wreak havoc.
It is unbridled access to military grade weapons by the mentally ill and people hell bent on killing people because they fear and hate them. Guns do not fire bullets on their own. It is angry people who take aim and shoot to kill people.
No! The problem of violence in America will not be seriously addressed and properly eradicated without identifying its real and multiple sources and causes.
The problems of hatred and bigotry which cause death and annihilation often stem from philosophies, teachings, beliefs and various forms of indoctrination evolving from a variety of places and sources in America and abroad.
It has been said that “Hatred is the poison that one man drinks hoping the other man dies.”
Such hatred is bred in homes where people are taught to hate black, brown and other people by their parents and family members. I know white friends and colleagues who admitted to me that their parents raised them in racist households and spoke of how hard they personally worked as adolescents and young adults to break the cycles and chains of race prejudice and hatred.
It may originate from a long standing history of racial terror and violence against native, black and other Americans through slavery, Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow of mass black incarceration, which may have been weaponized and paid forward against, immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, Latinas, Chicanos, Mexicans, Jews, Indians, Asians, Sikhs, Arabs, people of Middle Eastern, African and Haitian descent, women, transgender people, members of the LGBTQ communities, and others. I even heard of a young man who was nearly beaten to death by so called Christians because he didn’t believe in “Jesus H. Christ.”
It may thrive from a culture of cruelty, in the words of Henry Giroux, where guns and violence are virtually worshiped, normalized and sanctified as the ultimate instruments of protection and survival, which cultivate breeding grounds for more violence, killing and death in American society.
The continuing racial antagonism may carryover from World War II and the rise of Adolf Hitler, the last of the Caesarean conquerors, and Nazism whose theories of racial purity and world conquest still feed the minds, bodies and souls of some people driven by racial hatred who dream of a world exclusively ruled by white people.
It may emanate from a variety of media sources and talk show hosts who brainwash listeners by wrongfully and vociferously spewing propaganda and revilement over the airwaves which sectionalize and isolate segments of white populations and communities and foment white resentment and fear about immigrants coming to take everything of value from them.
It may quietly germinate in the minds of readers of various manifestos, books and diaries which incite fear about the rising immigrant invasions and people of color flooding their countries and replacing them with systems which are tenuous facsimiles of their originals.
Renaud Camus’s You Will Not Replace Us, and other tracts and pamphlets sound the alarm of the coming racial and cultural dislocations which are very real and have helped spark the rise of replacement resistance in America and other countries.
Moreover, Renaud Camus writes specifically about “genocide by replacement,” a term coined by Aimee Cesaire, prophesying genocide by substitution of the “indigenous peoples of Europe and to the white population in North America” by foreign invaders.
Such beliefs may spitefully instigate terror by fear mongering among white people with warnings of their eventual replacement and conquest by people of color who are wrongfully represented as the enemies of white America and not their colleagues in suffering and struggle who have historically shared similar alienation and pain and given their all to make America better.
One conservative guidebook also defines it as “the new conquest, “which is a calculated effort on the part of some Mexican immigrants, illegal and legal, to gain political control and return to Mexico the areas of the United States lost by the Mexican-American War of the mid 1840s.”
We also know of Mein Kampf and other odious diatribes wrongfully scapegoating and blaming the Jewish people for Germany’s woes which still has currency and serve as templates for persecution and hatred in the modern era.
It may evolve from the pain of hundreds of thousands of white and other Americans who once lived in small, industrial and strong manufacturing towns and communities where they had solidarity with their neighbors, happily raised their children, enjoyed economic prosperity and now feel left behind, cheated and permanently defeated by de-industrialization in the American heartland.
Politicians have promised that factories will return but those impacted by the seismic changes don’t direct their indignation and concerns to business and factory owners who’ve moved those factories to China and other Asian countries often to keep pace with their competitors by paying cheaper wages, but wrongfully scapegoat and blame blacks, Mexicans and the others for stealing their jobs and ruining their lives.
It also may come from the rise of Corporate Feudalism–a term used by Dennis Marker in his book with the same title, and its brutal confiscation and gradual transformation of Democratic and Laissez-Faire Capitalism to vulture, predatory and fairly lazy capitalism, causing harm, misery and financial losses to millions of Americans.
It may have quietly emerged from vestiges of the Southern Strategy Political Playbook, created in part by Richard Nixon and Republican politicians, directed primarily at white people in the South and perpetuated as political strategies to gain power as when Ronald Reagan launched his campaign for President from Philadelphia, Mississippi where the civil rights workers were slain and he spoke of “states rights.”
It has also been evidenced in political statements, buzz words, code words and advertising depicting blacks as Welfare Queen cheaters and dangerous criminals such as Willie Horton. Such propaganda subliminally, and in some cases flagrantly, trouble the waters of race prejudice, create fear and resentment among whites and blacks and have been utilized by Republicans to gain and maintain political power.
Other problems advance from racial stereotypes and mythologies claiming that blacks and others are freeloaders, evidenced by their chronic begging for undeserved handouts from a country they do not love, at the expense of the hard work of white people they presumably do not like. Blacks and minorities are always looking for freebees, some say, when many of them historically have had to work twice as hard to get half the credit of their white colleagues and counterparts.
We forget the four hundred years of free labor garnered from the back breaking, body debilitating labor of black slaves on America’s plantations which built the economic infrastructure of this great nation called America. We also dismiss the value of migrant labor to this country.
Some of this fear and resentment of black and brown people in the minds of some whites hearken back to Reconstruction, the struggle for civil rights, the emergence of the Black Power Movement, the United Farm Workers movement led by Caesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and others, and the women and Grey Panthers rights movements which some contend were the primary reasons for the South’s second defeat by the North.
Such hatred and prejudice may come from a variety of different sources which create a multitude of different shapes and forms which still haunt members of the white community who feel they have been dis-empowered, disenfranchised, and dispossessed from their American birthright in a country which once was, but never was exclusively their own.
The point is that while the president must take responsibility for his part in stoking the fears and divisions which may have fomented the recent rise in racial hostility and violence in America, he is not solely responsible for the mayhem and terror we now experience.
Trump is perhaps a lightning rod, a flash point, a tuning fork, if you will, representing the culmination, and personification of a political process which has been skillfully used for many years as props and tropes to promote racial suspicion, fear and polarization.
Perhaps a more recent example is how the Tea Party came to power which had “honorable intentions from its genesis,” but through anger, resentment, racial fears and phobias morphed into something more sinister.
With the aid of Americans for Prosperity, the Fifth Column and other groups, and the advent of Obama Hussein Obama, which scared the daylights out of some white people, along with the infusion of dark money into politics and the ascendancy of a new oligarchic authoritarian takeover of American government and American power politics, we now have some explanation for why we have an America in crisis whose fires are interminably raging.
The continuing racial double-standards and machinations by Mitch McConnell and some Republicans, who vowed to block any meaningful legislation from Obama and the Democrats, were presumably directed at Obama because of the color of his skin and now those same persons seem to have given wholesale license and carte blanche to Donald J. Trump who happens to be white but gets a pass while he fast tracks our country to hell.
Pair this with the continuing strategies of diversion and silence supporting the president and the general failure of Republicans to speak out and oppose such debilitating contrivance, have also aided in part, the current politics of resentment and dehumanization now before us.
The problem is not just Donald J. Trump, but the seething cauldrons of hatred and division still simmering among us and its fulminating toxicities and storms leading to the diminution and Balkanization of American life, culture and politics with its hermeneutics of suspicion of anything affirming the virtues and power of diversity and solidarity among the American people. Many believe the current political, racial and cultural fissures among us will eventually overrun and subvert our Democratic Constitutional Republic.
Although Donald Trump may be the most prominent mouthpiece and boiler-maker for some of the racial strife and conflicts now brewing among us, he is not the sole source.
As Gordon Allport, Willard Gaylin, Joel Kovel and other scholars notably remind us, there is a difference between prejudice, bias, bigotry and hatred.
Prejudices and biases we all possess as human beings represented by the feelings we have, the attitudes we harbor and the choices that we make.
Bigotry is often an intensified hardening of the arteries of hatred which compel behavioral resolutions through various intensified actions seeking to extrinsically eliminate the sources of the hater’s stark sentiments and beliefs.
Hatred is the most lethal and vile of such emotions which can prompt the annihilation or murder of the hated. It is the most deadly expression of the emotions due to the permanent damage and scars it leaves not only on the victims and their families, but on our national memory, our aggregate soul, which stains with blood the annals of American history.
With the many thousands gone and the legacy of racism and hatred in this country still hurting, wounding, killing and crippling us, why can’t we even pass anti-lynching laws in America?
We are a country so beautiful in the diversity of landscapes, cultures and people who come in all shapes, colors, backgrounds and sizes, but so flawed in our valuations and acceptance of the realities of our pluralities.
But this is America. America means diversity. Diversity is our strength. We must keep moving on toward that prize of not just tolerating but appreciating our true strength and gifts as a nation.
The presidency of Donald Trump and the cult of followers aiding and directing him may be a symbol and not just a signal of the burgeoning dissemination of race violence in America.
Could this be a dress rehearsal; an oblique call for the collectivization of normalized racial violence in America against all “invaders” as a quasi-solution to finalizing a racially homogenized America?
We take nothing for granted at this hour. The tools of history, culture, technology, media propagandizing and race hatred are all implements in the toolkit of tyrants and despots which as history has shown can spiral into storm trooping demagoguery at any moment.
The millions of immigrants and people of color who have come to this country who are so scorned and hated do not hate America in return. They love America. The millions of blacks subject to varying forms of violence and brutality during their long history of suffering in this land have not adopted hate as a mantra and watchword for living in America. With all the hatred that black people have experienced, their would be hatred is not proportional to the hatred and violence they have suffered.. Hating injustice is one thing. Hating the person who commits injustice is another.
On the contrary, we have developed the” strength to love” in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. We do not hate white people. After all our suffering and pain we are still striving to overcome. With all the anger and resentment that some white people harbor, the sad and perplexing irony is the fact that some of them act as if black people held them in slavery all those years.
Most brown and black people in America are law abiding peace loving people. They come to America for freedom equality, respect, prosperity and justice. Many have fled their own countries of origin due to persecution and war. They have no other place to go except into the arms of Lady Liberty. They have come to America and have worked her fields and harnessed their hard labor to feed their families and other American families and to serve their country.
To arrive at viable solutions to this ongoing problem we must understand the varieties of sources giving rise to their prevalence and reverberations. The solutions must be multifaceted as are the sources of origin. We must work together as a nation. We must never give up. We must find common ground and workable approaches that will eliminate the hatred and violence and save America and all of America’s people.
We must have moral clarity, the moral will and the moral courage to keep building and growing America for all.
But we must look at ourselves and listen to each other and find a way to build a better country and a better tomorrow for all. It will take each of us and all us working toward common goals.
We must stop all the poisonous hate talk which lead to hateful actions and outright murder. We must refrain from propagating and elevating the evils of race hatred through word and deed through those teachings, philosophies and propaganda whose ultimate aim is to divide and destroy us.
Donald Trump as president may be the most prominent person possessing the power to galvanize the proper resources to stop this plague of evil dead in its tracks, but is not the only person responsible for creating the problems which plead lasting solutions to make America healthier, stronger, more viable as a nation of many peoples.
Just as no single solution helped to create the problems we face, there is no single magic formula that will serve as a solution to all our woes and ills. The problem of race hatred and all forms of violence against people of color and people who have been viciously targeted by violence must be addressed at all levels of society. We must treat the problems but find preventative remedies which will proactively identify its root causes.
God help us now. God strengthen us now as we face the existing and coming storms. America will get through this. We must unite in full force for peace, healing, redemption, and grace for a better America which her people deserve as we keep fighting the good fight that we will study war no more and finally turn the swords of hatred into plowshares of peace and justice for all.
God bless America.
God bless us all.