The Lincoln Project republicans came out in full force last December, declaring in a New York Times op-ed their mission of defeating both Trump this November as well as Trumpism, meaning they are seeking to erase the republican majority in the senate.
I always find it worthwhile to try to understand those with whom I most disagree and to decipher the experiences and psychologies animating their belief systems. It helps me understand why the world is the way it is and why it’s not the way I’d like it to be. And also what I need to address in seeking to transform the world. Transformation tends to begin with understanding others, not just dismissing them.
As many have pointed out, making Black lives matter is a precursor to making all lives matter. To make all lives matter, we have to address the ways certain lives, particularly those of people of color in the United States, have been devalued. Put another way, we can’t create a culture and society that values all lives unless we identify and root out the mechanisms and value systems that have been enabling the devaluation, the differential valuing, of particular groups’ lives.
Many Americans have been compelled by the recent mass protests to seek a fuller understanding of United States history and particularly the African American experience in that history, up to and including ongoing racism, discrimination, and violence against people of color. Black bookstores in particular are being flooded with orders for literary works that portray African American experiences, historical studies that chronicle U.S. history from an African American experience, and books that offer sociological analyses of race and racism in the U.S. Even Amazon Prime created a category featuring films and television shows about African American life, culture, and history.
When Donald Trump appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavannaugh to the Supreme Court bench, hopes certainly dimmed substantially for a court majority that would vigorously protect, much less expand, basic civil liberties, especially for women, LGBTQIA people, people of color, and immigrants.
Amidst the recent mass nationwide uprisings, dominated by the sentiments of the Black Lives Matter movement, an effective reincarnation of the Civil Rights Movement, the Trump administration has continued its efforts to deny transgender people civil rights, denying them equal protections under the law.
Recent polling indicates that an overwhelming number of Americans, close to 75%, support the protests, inspired by George Floyd’s murder, against racism and police brutality. This approval, polls reveal, stretches across party lines and racial lines.
When a reporter asked Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference last Tuesday what he thought about Donald Trump’s threat to use armed forces to suppress the mass protests occurring in the wake of the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and in response to unceasing state violence against African Americans, Trudeau’s answer spoke volumes about the global standing of the United States.
Last May, the conservative group Michigan United for Liberty organized protests in the state capitol against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders. While the group, composed of roughly 8,000 members, had already formalized its complaint against the orders in a law suit, the protest provided a forum for a defiant public expression against what the group sees as a gross violation of people’s constitutional freedoms.
When I first heard on the radio that retired United States Marine Corps General had issued a statement critical of Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the U.S. military to suppress the nation-wide mass protests against racism and racial violence, I wasn’t only underwhelmed, I was frustrated.
CNN political commentator Van Jones recently issued a stark challenge to, and indeed indictment of, supposedly well-meaning White America, speaking in the wake of the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and in the midst of mass uprisings and protests responding to the never-ending violence against African Americans.
We’re all in this together.
Is anybody else tired of hearing this mantra?
I mean, in many ways I love it both as an aspirational sentiment, encapsulating the vision of a cooperative, humane, and compassionate social way of being, and as a statement that captures an undeniable, matter-of-fact aspect of our reality: we are absolutely dependent on one another. If we don’t grasp that fact now, when we are made hyperconscious of the “essential” workers performing all the functions that make food available to us, when will we?
While Donald Trump has been involved in a dispute with Twitter, speciously and ignorantly crying that the social media company violated his First Amendment rights, uprisings and mass actions protesting the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—and the pervasive devaluing of Black lives generally–have mounted.
Writing for CNN, Matt Egan recently reported, “US credit card debt suddenly reversed course in March and fell by the largest percentage in more than 30 years. At the same time, savings rates climbed to levels unseen since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.”
Last May 15, the House passed a sweeping $3 trillion relief package that would provide another round of stimulus checks for Americans, extend unemployment benefits, broaden the social safety net, and, of great importance, provide relief funding to states.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has fit right in with the Trump administration, treating her government position as opportunity to enrich herself and serve her own narrow ideological interests at taxpayer expense.
Like millions of other viewers, I have been riveted to each episode thus far of ESPN’s The Last Dance. This ten-part documentary charts the Chicago Bulls’ rise to dominance in the 1990s, a decade in which Michael Jordan willed the Bulls to six NBA titles, only to have the team dismantled by the organization’s petty, insecure, spotlight-seeking general manager Jerry Krause. While Krause’s mantra throughout Bulls’ historic decade was, “organizations win championships,” the drama in fact chronicles a dysfunctional organizational leadership that couldn’t handle its own success and often countervailed the excellence and aspirations of Jordan and the Bulls.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently announced his opposition to any kind of relief packages for states, advising instead that states pursue the route of declaring bankruptcy. Since current federal law, for good reason, prohibits states from declaring bankruptcy, McConnell likewise voiced his support for altering the law itself.
One on level, the coronavirus pandemic holds out the potential to shift America’s dominant cultural mentality to finally re-think—indeed come to terms with—how our political, economic, and moral systems value the work on which our lives most depend.
In his 1980 campaign against incumbent President Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
The powerful question gave voters clear and focused direction in assessing how well the federal government was supporting and working to improve the everyday lives of Americans.