Friday, February 3, 2017

Why they march

                               Photo from Deutsche Welle website

I've heard it said that the people marching in the streets are just mad about losing the presidential election. If that were all it was, if it were simply sour grapes, I'd say, "Get over it. You lost. You'll have another chance in four years." But, the disenchantment has grown far beyond that.

To be fair, the initial marches in November were over the election. The Electoral College disregarded the votes of nearly three million people and I think anger over that was justified. But if that's all it was, I think the protests would have died out by now. The reasons people continue to march in February is they're protesting misogyny, racism, xenophobia, antisemitism; threats to the First Amendment, the environment, education, national security, violation of international law and crimes against humanity and probably a few more things I've forgotten to mention.

The women's marches throughout the country (and world) around Inauguration Day were a response to a groper-in-chief who has called certain women "pigs," bragged about predatory behavior and been accused of sexual harassment or assault by several women, many of whom were afraid to come out before.

Racism is as natural to Trumpism as oxygen is to breathing. His racism was loud and clear years ago when he perpetuated the lie that Barack Obama wasn't born in America. His pick for attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, has a questionable past with regard to African Americans that rightly prevented his confirmation as a federal judge 30 years ago. Why do you think Trump would appoint him?

 The racism is more apparent in Trump's insulting of a federal judge for being of Mexican descent and his stereotyping all Mexicans as "rapists" and "criminals." His plan to build a wall at the U.S./Mexican border is a racist reaction to racist myths.

"You know my plans," Trump said after the election. He was referring to a Muslim registry, which echoes the Jewish registry under Hitler. I've read that most Americans are Islamophobic. If that's true, most Americans are wrong. Then there's the executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The United States should be a sanctuary for refugees escaping for their lives. That's the idea enshrined on the Statue of Liberty, but it seems this country is going to turn its back on people in need of asylum from terrorists, just as it did to Jews hoping to escape Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Trump didn't even mention Jews on International Holocaust Remembrance Day even though six million of them were killed in the Holocaust. Is it any surprise that his right hand man is antisemitic?

This guy, Steve Bannon, is trying to destroy the news media. "The media's the opposition party," he said. (Actually, he's trying to destroy more than that.) Trump, Bannon and the other acolytes lash out at the media for not reporting "alternative facts." I heard W. Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer on NPR and Meet the Press, talking about how the public's confidence in the media is at an all time low and lecturing the press on how it needs to be fair, accurate and neutral. Reporters have already been doing that. (Okay, so a reporter was mistaken about MLK's bust. He quickly apologized and corrected the report.) The right wing (Fox "News", talk radio, etc.) has been perpetuating the myth of a "liberal media conspiracy" for at least 25 years. People have heard it so much they now believe the lie. Now Trump and his nefarious team have declared war on press freedom.

They're about to make war on the environment too. Trump is out to destroy the EPA by appointing a fossil fuel shill and climate change denier to lead it.

He's out to destroy public education by appointing a public education foe to lead the Dept. of Education. He probably thinks an educated public would be a threat to his vested interests. The nation's founders thought education was imperative to democracy.

Trump's tweets alone threaten national security and raise the possibility of war. His combative rhetoric adds to the threat. It's scary to think that our brave men and women in the services may be put in harm's way because the bully-in-chief lacks any sense of self-restraint. Are we going to end up with more homeless and suicidal veterans in the coming years because The Narcissist made enemies?

                     "Little Failure" -- Moby and the Void Pacific Choir

It's not surprising that Trump wants to bring back torture. That's just his personality. Torture has been against international law since the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights was established in 1948. If this country engages in torture, we can no longer claim moral standing in the world. The experts will tell you torture doesn't work anyway and could imperil our security.

The threat to the republic exists within. Bannon, comparing himself to the early 20th century Russian communist revolutionary has called himself a "Leninist." In a statement that was borderline treasonous, Bannon said Lenin "wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today's establishment."

What it comes down to is people -- protesters in the street -- are trying to prevent a coup d'etat of our government. This isn't about political parties. This is a battle between fascism and democracy. Opposing Trump isn't a political stand, it's a moral one.

Naysayers can write off the entire protest movement because some have rioted and been foul mouthed. That does discredit their cause. As Dr. King said, a riot is "self-defeating." But the wrong actions of a few don't obliterate the peaceful actions of the majority or the moral truth of their urgent cause. The many people marching the streets and carrying signs love America and the freedom it professes to represent.

Don't ever tell me this massive resistance is over political parties or an election.

                                        "Knock the crap out of them."

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