“Final decisions about the nation’s existence are at stake here; history will incriminate these leaders with bloodguilt if they do not act in accordance with their specialist political knowledge and conscience. Their soldierly obedience reaches its limit when their knowledge, their conscience, and their responsibility forbid carrying out an order.”
Today President Trump launched a major attack on the history of the United States by announcing what he called The 1776 Project, a direct attack on the 1619 Project which aims to tell the story of how the English Colonists introduced what became the institution of slavery and entrenched racism in the United States. I know the subject well, my book which will be published sometime in the next year “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!” Racism, Religion, Ideology and Politics in the Civil War Era and why they Continue to Matter” deals extensive with this history, and I can say based on his actions and utterances that the President is using this to further divide the country on racial lines and to open American history as his next front of his culture war.
Trump said he would create a national commission to promote a…
A November 2015 survey of 3,257 US adults conducted by Esquire and NBC produced the following bits of data: white people are more likely than black people to say their current financial situation isn’t what they thought it would be when they were younger, and they were also more likely to put that down to difficult circumstances rather than “wrong choices”. When asked whether they ever hear or read anything on the news that makes them angry, white respondents were more likely than black ones to say they felt angry at least twice a day. There were gender differences too – men were more likely than women to say that they felt angry about the treatment of white men.”Esquire
In the 1960s, Southern whites were angry about integration and desegregation.
They hated John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson for using the power of the Federal Government to protect the civil rights and the safety of black students who wanted to enroll in school.
When President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, angry white people decided the Federal Government was a ‘problem.’
The Government was too big, they said.
The Government had no respect for individual liberty (white privilege).
In 1969, GOP strategist Kevin Phillips wrote The Emerging Republican Majority.
“All the talk about Republicans making inroads into the Negro vote is persiflage. Even ‘Jake the Snake’ Senator Jacob Javits of New York only gets 20 percent. From now on, Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote, and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.” New York Times Magazine
“I wanted to hear tales of the Nixon years, and Buchanan—between writing his syndicated column and getting ready to drive to the studios of MSNBC for a televised political talk, which he called “bread and circuses”—was happy to oblige. After all, he’d been present at the creation of the themes and tactics that led to forty years of conservative domination of American politics, and he was proud of it. At one point, he mentioned a memo that he’d written for Nixon in 1971 under the heading “Dividing the Democrats.”
“It reminded me of how relatively gentle and civilized the supposedly vicious campaign of 2008 has been.“ George Packer
Journalist Dan Baum wrote in the April cover story of Harper’sabout an interview with John Ehrlichman in 1994 while working on a book about drug prohibition.
“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” Harpers
“As angry as conservatives have felt over the nearly three weeks since Election Day, a clear turning point in this remarkably twisting story line came Friday, when Joe Lieberman stepped up to liken GOP protesters in Miami-Dade County to a “mob” trying to “intimidate” vote counters. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) chimed in, saying the Miami-Dade rally had a “whiff of fascism.” Conservatives see these statements – along with other Democrats’ invoking of the Voting Rights Act – as efforts to silence protests against recount outrages.” The Brooks Brothers Riot
At last, angry white people thought they had a ‘Southern’ President to make sure that no part of the government would go to the undeserving (Black people).
But something went wrong.
An African-American, Barack Hussein Obama, became President in 2009.
He spoke of a nightmare scenario of healthcare for everyone, including the undeserving (Black people).
When the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law in 2010, angry white people got furious and formed an angry right-wing Tea Party Movement.
Angry white people had a racist House and Senate that was openly hostile to the first African-American President. They had Fox News to tell them the lies they wanted to hear, and they used the power of their local governments to make sure that no one in their states got anything they didn’t deserve, and the lives of angry white people got worse, not better.
“…social collapse in the white working class is a deadly serious issue. Literally. Last fall, the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton attracted widespread attention with a paper showing that mortality among middle-aged white Americans, which had been declining for generations, started rising again circa 2000. This rising death rate mainly reflected suicide, alcohol and overdoses of drugs, notably prescription opioids. (Marx declared that religion was the opium of the people. But in 21st-century America, it appears that opioids are the opium of the people.) And other signs of social unraveling, from deteriorating health to growing isolation, are also on the rise among American whites. Something is going seriously wrong in the heartland.”
In 2016 the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin launched a psychological attack on the United States and our 2016 Presidential elections.
Putin had a preferred candidate, and it wasn’t that uppity feminist, Hillary Clinton.
Putin’s preferred candidate won.
The nation’s angry white people finally have a president as white, and as dishonest, and as racist and angry as they are.
His lies have killed 200,000 thousand Americans.
He helps tyrants murder journalists and allows Vladimir Putin to place bounties on the lives of our soldiers.
He disparages members of our armed forces as dopes and losers.
He uses Russian propaganda to pervert the Constitution and subvert the rule of law.
He has destroyed the economy, alienated our allies, compromised our National Security, and brought the United States to its knees.
In 2016 Terrance Heath, a writer for the Huffington Post, compared America’s angry white people to two-year-olds:
“The behavior we’re seeing is basically the extreme of the Republican base kicking and screaming because they believe that if they throw a big enough tantrum, they can hold off change, turn back the transition period already begun, and keep things the way they are — or go back to the way they were.”
He suggested we pick them up and carry them forward with us:
“…we pick up the tantruming toddler under one arm — in such a way that he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else — and carry him forward with us. It doesn’t mean the tantrum ends right away.” Terrance Heath The Tyranny of the Tantrum
But we have not carried our nation’s angry white people forward; they have dragged us backward and are driving us our graves.
It is 2020.
America’s angry white people are still angry.
And we are dying.
First published March 28, 2016-Revised and updated September 20, 2020
In the 1950s, Males, 18 and above, were required to serve in the military or to serve in their communities.
People paid a progressive tax based on income.
In 1953 the voters overwhelmingly favored Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Modern Republicanism.” As President, Eisenhower supported New Deal and Fair Deal programs, expanded Social Security, and prioritized a balanced budget over tax cuts.
The 1950s saw White resistance in the South to civil rights and the rise of the Black Civil Rights Movement.
In 1956, a group of Southern senators and congressmen signed a “Southern Manifesto,” vowing to resist to racial integration by all “lawful means.” At the same time, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights led a successful drive for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and continued to press for stronger legislation. NAACP Youth Council chapters staged sit-ins at whites-only lunch counters, sparking a movement against segregation in public accommodations throughout the South in 1960. Nonviolent direct action increased during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, beginning with the 1961 Freedom Rides. The Library of Congress
In 1957, President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce school desegregation. He wrote: “There must be no second class citizens in this country.”
There were plenty of far-right conspiracy theorists in the 1950’s.
Members of the John Birch Society believed a dark cabal of internationalists, greedy (Jewish) bankers, and corrupt politicians controlled the U.S. and Soviet governments. The founder of The John Birch Society, Robert Welch, promoted a theory that President Eisenhower was a tool of the Communists, and guilty of treason. He claimed that Communists created the Civil Rights Movement and that negrophile traitors inside the government would betray U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist. New World Order; John Birch Society.
It’s funny how that turned out.
So, if we’re returning to the 1950s, let’s get it right.
Conductors had the power to assign seats to carry out that purpose; however, no passengers were required to move or give up their seat and stand if the bus was crowded and there were no other seats available.
Over time Montgomery bus drivers adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move or stand for whites.
Blacks had the ‘right’ to stay seated, but they had no support from law enforcement for exercising that right.
A right that isn’t enforced by law is useless.
In the South, when Blacks asserted any of their God-given rights under Federal law, the result was an arrest, a beating, or a murder.
“When he (the driver) saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.” Rosa Parks
I live in San Francisco and use my legs for transportation.
Along the way, I see what we San Francisco old-timers callReagan’s Children;ragged bundles of suffering, huddled on corners, under sheets, shoving carts, or motionless under the glaring sun.
President Reagan had a grand utopian vision of a shining city upon a hill, but he didn’t want to fund it.
One would expect the citizens of a shining city to know how wrong it is to let the elderly and the disabled die on their streets.
One would expect these citizens to pay any expense to bring back the light.
I am no fan of Ronald Reagan, but he left office decades ago.
The United States can’t be the light of the world if we live in darkness at home.
Our leaders prance around the globe to promote the values of democracy.
But if we’re too cheap to feed our own children; if we allow a class of billionaires to incarcerate the poor for profit, if we allow racism to create an underclass trapped in a generations-long cycle of poverty, we look like hypocrites and hypocrisy breeds cynicism.
I think this is one of the many reasons we have a president like Trump: a cynical ideologue who uses the power of the federal government to enrich himself and his cronies. Trump expects us to accept his corrupt and empty vision of America and laud him as a great president when he lies.
We have a history of doing that.
Back in the before times, (Before COVID19) I boarded a crowded bus and took a seat next to a young mother who sat her daughter on her lap.
The child was about six.
She gazed out of the window and asked her mother about a man sleeping barefoot on the sidewalk.
“Mommy? Why is that man sleeping there?”
“He doesn’t have a home.”
“Why doesn’t he have a home?”
“I guess — because he decided he didn’t want one?”
“Why would he do that?”
I smiled as I remembered a similar conversation with my grandmother when I was six.
We were walking through a park in Kew Gardens, New York. I saw a man of about 50, in filthy clothes, stretched out on a bench.
“Grandma, why is he so dirty?”
She whispered: “He’s sick in the head, Robby.”
The man suddenly sat up and muttered to himself.
“Grandma, where is his family?”
My grandmother sensed my anxiety. She knelt and looked into my eyes: “If he doesn’t not have a family, Robby, America is his family. We have hospitals for people like him. The police will see him and take him to one of those hospitals. The doctors will clean him up. He’ll be safe. He’ll get treatment. We take care of each other, in America, Robbie. That’s what makes us great.”
My grandmother’s words made me feel safe.
If we are to restore our democracy, we must decide to live our principles in our daily lives: it’s the small acts of integrity that count.
Today I can marry my gay partner because I belonged to a generation of queers who said no to living like criminals.
We Americans are called to a mission, whether we are born here or come as immigrants.
That mission is spelled out for us by our founders and the greatest President of the 20th Century.
To promote the idea that all people are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The New Deal was an experiment in regulating capitalism to fund federal and state programs specifically designed to prevent the conditions that breed fascism.
Roosevelt believed that access to the the kind of education that promotes class mobility is the best defense against fascism and the inequality that breeds it.
Most of the allied nations adopted some form of the New Deal, and some of them kept it and are doing quite well.
The United States chose to dismantle the New Deal beginning with Ronald Reagan, and now we’re in the grip of tyranny, so I guess FDR was right.
The underlying premise of our system of government is that every citizen deserves of a chance to succeed at building a life worth living.
The U.S. Constitution was established to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare.
A President incites violence against his own citizen violates the fundamental the basic duties of his office. This must not stand.
We must say no to the hypocrisy and corruption that drains us of our lives.
We must do as Rosa Parks did.
“I did not want to be mistreated; I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was an opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.”Rosa Parks
(c)Rob Goldstein 2020 ‘Freedom from Fear’ by Norman Rockwell and Fingerprinting Rosa Parks are public domain.
“On Concrete’ and ‘Rand’s Children are (c)Rob Goldstein 2012-2020