Chapter 130 – The American Dilemma, Part III: How To Heal

       I would challenge the 70 plus million white people who voted for Trump to do the following. Look at the poorest neighborhoods in America, populated primarily by black and Hispanic people along with a few desperately poor whites, full of run down boarded up homes and pot hole laced streets, and look at the schools in those neighborhoods, woefully lacking in teachers and resources including books and pencils and imagine all those people were white. Also, consider that there are rural and even suburban areas all over the country populated primarily by newly poor white people, where the occupants of those communities feel the same sense desperation, frustration and hopelessness as the poor white and people of color of the urban communities. Once you have considered all of that, the question you have to ask yourself is this: if all of those people were white would you consider it appropriate for our government to make lifting all those people out of poverty and into the mainstream a major priority? 

       Within the answer to that question is the key to healing America. As it stands today, I believe at least 40 of that 70 plus million Trump supporters would just assume stay home and watch all those people suffer on television, and focus on taking care of themselves and their families, even if all the unfortunate people were all white. They feel that way not because they are indifferent to the suffering of others, but out of the fear contained in the knowledge that they themselves are only one to a few paychecks away from being in that same condition. What we have forgotten as a country is that our security lies in the extent to which the lowest in our society lives a reasonable quality of life including affordable housing, safe food and water, a living wage and easily affordable health care. The extent to which a substantial percentage of the population cannot afford those things is the extent to which all our security is a risk.

       Americans understood this after the depression and World War II. We used our wealth for the purpose of eliminating the factors that breed poverty. We created the best public school system in the world, created the minimum wage, the five-day workweek and social security and as a result, grew the largest middle class in the history of the world. The only reason it was not completely successful was that it attempted to exclude almost forty percent of the population. The only reason poverty exists in America at the level it does now is because the social programs of the 1940s and 1950s didn’t go far enough, not because they went too far, as the narrative Republicans have been spinning for the past 40 years would have you believe. By excluding the lowest paid people in the country from those programs, primarily to impede the assimilation of black people into the mainstream of American society, the American Government insured there would always be a firmly implanted tumor of poverty in the country, which in the past twenty years has become malignant and almost out of control for numerous reasons, as all cancers tend to do. Don’t be inclined to think that it never occurred to the people so intent on holding black people down, that the overwhelming majority of the people denied those social benefits were white. Industrialist and corporate interests would prefer no social programs exist and the population be happy with low wages and low expectations. That’s more like Feudalism. 

       Social programs and urban renewal projects have worked spectacularly in the fairly recent past. Between 1965 and 1975, President Lyndon Johnson’s poverty programs resulted in a tremendous reduction in the nation’s poverty, including a 40% reduction in the income gap between black families and white families. If we really want infrastructure renovation, this is where it starts. The opportunity for private investment in many black communities is starring us right in the face. There are miles of undervalued real estate and easily repairable roads and bridges. The only thing required to attract quality homebuyers into these neighborhoods is quality school systems and key commercial investment for better access to and better quality of goods and services in those areas. If all of a sudden, America regarded the people in those communities as Americans instead of criminals and people underserving of the American dream this could happen over night. The challenge to all of us is that we move away from the myth of trickle down economics and the belief that the richer we make rich people, the more of their money will trickle down to us. I’ve know many rich people throughout my life and I can tell you that they are some of the hardest people in the world to get money from. Instead, we need to think in terms of a rising tide of prosperity. If we focus our attention of eliminating the progenitors poverty, we will all prosper, including rich people.

       So where do we begin? Unfortunately, the beginning is difficult emotionally although relatively simple logistically. We must begin by holding all people responsible for the treasonous act of sedition that took place January 6th, including the leader of it, Mr. Donald Trump, and make them accountable for their actions. It is important that Republicans support this effort as enthusiastically as Democrats. It’s easy to say, “let’s just let Trump go and forget about him like a bad dream”. Even I tried to think of some kind of compromise after watching the impeachment petitions in the House. The problem with that is the forces behind Trump’s insurrection don’t ever just go away. They must be given no quarter since they see anything less as weakness and permission by society to continue on. We will never be able to trust each other if either side is not convinced that other supports democracy and the rule of law. The essential crime against America was the false unjust claim that the election was rigged in favor of President Elect Biden in the absence of any evidence to support the accusation. Trump defied the courts, many of which consisted of his appointees, his own attorney general and election officials, many of whom were of his own party. When you set aside the nonsense that I don’t believe even Trump seriously believes (the idea that ballot boxes were stuffed and thousands of fraudulent ballots were submitted), all his complaints and law suites focused on communities where the black vote was the highest. In essence, the actual claim against America that fueled the ire of Trump and his supporters was that the election was decided on the strength of mostly black, Hispanic and Asian voters, who they don’t consider true Americans. The act committed January 6th is the kind of thing that affords us no middle ground. If you support not impeaching Trump, you are declaring the election was rigged and the seditionist were right in their actions. If you vote to impeach, you are supporting American democracy and are taking measures to assure no one ever tries to attack it again. It’s as simple as that. I realize that the element of Trump supporters that drove the act of sedition is physically threatening the lives and families of the Republicans in congress if they vote to impeach. That is what fascists do, as I defined in my previous post. But I say to those Republican congress-people, that the only way you can atone for your part in enabling and remaining silent through all the fascist rhetoric and acts in defiance of law and tradition is to summon the courage to do what you swore to do when you accepted the responsibility of your office. Once this is done, and we affirm by the action of the impeachment of Trump, that there is only one kind of American and that American is not defined by race, color or creed – only by love of country, liberty and the democratic rule of law. Only a guilty verdict in Trump’s impeachment trial will confirm that.

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