Happy Birthday America! Show Us What Democracy Looks Like!

The “Families Belong Together March” came six days after San Francisco’s Pride Day.

A photograph of a sign at the 2018 Pride parade in San Francisco that reads Reunite Families at the Border
Sign at Pride 2018

 

Your White Supremacy is Killing Me

Seen on a sign at Pride, 2018

 

Photograph taken at the Families Belong together rally of a sign that reads the GOP are the animals
I will Stand with the most Vulnerable

Americans are a funny lot; we’ll give a pass to sexual and religious hypocrisy,
treat the theft of a SCOTUS Seat as if it was a gaming strategy, and wait for a savior as an obviously lawless and malignant GOP conspires with Vladimir Putin to hinder an investigation into an act of war against us. But the sight of a sadistic President gleefully using the federal government to abuse children works our very last nerve.

A sign from a 2018 political Rally that reads Silence is not an option
Silence is not an option

A federal policy of abusing immigrants and children is kindling for a growing sense that Trump’s government is alien to Americans and a threat to who
we are as a people; at Pride the response to this is we intend to fight back.

A speaker reminded the crowd that gays and feminists didn’t win rights by throwing parties:

At the Families Belong Together March, I heard it expressed as moral outrage:

Our Founders were clear which branch of government steps in when the other three branches are compromised:

On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson explained why the colonies sought independence and why the colonials would fight and die for it:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. —

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

State Sanctioned child abuse is intolerable and the horror of a President who devises policies that allow him to indulge in it transcends all differences.

This is what democracy looks like:

I give Joan Baez the closing line:

“At some point it will become necessary to do Civil Disobedience.”
Joan Baez, June 30, 2018 Families Belong Together

 

photograph of a sign that reads Our Only Infestation is in the White House
Our Only Infestation is in the White House

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

Fear Itself

First posted October 10, 2016

Art by Rob Goldstein

Below is a YouTube video in which Donald Trump tells his supporters to kick a protester out of the audience.

In this second video you see Trump’s supporters beat the guy up. In the background you hear Trump shouting, “Get him the Hell out of here,” as his supporters cheer.

Where have I seen scenes like this before?

Donald Trump is not just a privileged blowhard like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

Donald Trump is a charismatic Narcissist whose enablers are willing
to shred our Democracy to prop up Trump’s Narcissistic delusions.

None of this is new.

Dying for a principle is not new.

Neither is dying to keep in place a class system in which only the wealthy élite prosper.

How many times do we have to do this: the torture, the scapegoating, the democide, the bigotry, the slavery, the inquisitions, and…

View original post 1,274 more words

Fear Itself

Below is a YouTube video in which Donald Trump tells his supporters to kick a protester out of the audience.

In this second video you see Trump’s supporters beat the guy up. In the background you hear Trump shouting, “Get him the Hell out of here,” as his supporters cheer.

Where have I seen scenes like this before?

Donald Trump is not just a privileged blowhard like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

Donald Trump is a charismatic Narcissist whose enablers are willing
to shred our Democracy to prop up Trump’s Narcissistic delusions.

None of this is new.

Dying for a principle is not new.

Neither is dying to keep in place a class system in which only the wealthy élite prosper.

How many times do we have to do this: the torture, the scapegoating, the democide, the bigotry, the slavery, the inquisitions, and all of that needless suffering?

Here’s my problem:

We don’t have to do this.

Most voters in the United States have access to unbiased factual information about all of human history.

There is enough history for us to see and prevent these destructive cycles of mass murder.

Our species has done this so many times, it’s not surprising that it’s happening again.

But we can stop this. There is still time.

The problem is not Islāmic Terrorists.

The problem is the brutal inequality and exploitation that history shows us is the inevitable result of unregulated Capitalism.

The_protectors_of_our_industries
We can stop this.

We have a gift called reason.

We can use it to save ourselves from years of chaos and destruction.


Wendy at WendysWrittenWords asked me to describe an ideal society.

I’ve considered the question and my answer is this; I think an ideal society is one that dedicates its resources to promoting human rights.

I study history to question the present.

In his 1941 State of the Union Franklin Roosevelt said:

“The Nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fiber of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect.”

The Nation is stronger because the people know they have a stake in its success. The Great Depression was a recent event when Roosevelt gave this speech.

“Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world.”

Roosevelt provides an economic context for the rise of fascism:

“For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others…”

Equality of opportunity is not the same as a free ride. Providing it is part of the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“Jobs for those who can work.”

The assumption here is that people who can work will work and those who can’t want to.

“Security for those who need it.”

Economic hardship is a fact of life for many people. Those people are citizens and voters. Providing some measure of relief is part of the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The ending of special privilege for the few.”

A democratic system is the antithesis of a government that caters to the rich. This is another aspect of preserving equality of access. Preventing the rich from using their power to rig the system isn’t class war. It is the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The preservation of civil liberties for all.”

No one has the right to vote away another person’s freedom. Protecting everyone’s rights is the work of sustaining a healthy democracy.

“The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

A healthy democracy spreads the benefits of new discoveries in science and makes them available to everyone.

“These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.”

The health of our democracy is directly related to the work we do to sustain it.

“Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement. As examples: We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.”

Because the fullness of life that comes with economic security belongs to everyone in a healthy democracy, not just the wealthy few.

“We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.”

This is government acting on the principle that everyone benefit from scientific research.

“We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.”

This statement predates Civil Rights legislation and laws against workplace discrimination.

Roosevelt then calls for global a human rights movement.

He broadens the scope of the rights specified in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Roosevelt continues: “If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.”

The voters understand that the civilizing principles of our democracy are more important than money and they will not support a Congress that doesn’t.

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms…

The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.”

http://"Save%20Freedom of Speech". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Save_Freedom_of_Speech.png#/media/File:Save_Freedom_of_Speech.png

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

""Freedom of Worship" - NARA - 513537" by Norman Rockwell - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Freedom_of_Worship%22_-_NARA_-_513537.jpg#/media/File:%22Freedom_of_Worship%22_-_NARA_-_513537.jpg

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

Freedom_from_want_1943-Norman_Rockwell

The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

""Freedom from Fear" - NARA - 513538" by Norman Rockwell - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Freedom_from_Fear%22_-_NARA_-_513538.jpg#/media/File:%22Freedom_from_Fear%22_-_NARA_-_513538.jpg

“Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change–in a perpetual peaceful revolution–a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions–without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.”

The United States, the principles of democracy, and our definition of human rights is evolving and change does not require a descent into barbarism.

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.”

The freedom to speak your mind, worship as you please, benefit from new technologies and the abundance they create, are the only way we can make
a safe and just world order. These are freedoms, not rights.

Roosevelt understood that our credibility as a nation was directly linked to our commitment to the principles that shaped and must continue to shape our government.

He looked at the Nazis and saw a people who felt defeated and were impoverished. He saw inequality and poverty as the cause of fascism.

Roosevelt understood that fascism can happen anywhere, even in the U.S.

People whose individualism forces other people to live by a code of ignorant dogma are toxic to democratic systems.

A true individual understands and accepts his obligations to other people and the obligations of leadership.

In a healthy democracy our leaders are public servants who owe their allegiance to all the people.

The men and women who made Roosevelt this nation’s President four times are called the Greatest Generation.

I understand the use of this term but it troubles me; I sense an implication that we can only have one “greatest generation.”

What does it mean to belong to a great generation within the context of the history of democracy in the United States.

What do you think it means?

Here is the “Four Freedoms” section of Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address:

FDR – The Four Freedoms 6 January 1941

 

 

(c) Rob Goldstein, 2015 All Rights Reserved

All Images in the Public Domain

 

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This July 4th….

Art by Rob Goldstein
Declaration of Independence_1823 Print

This July 4th….

Consider this film from 1947 and reflect on the progressive tradition in American politics. If you believe the progressive tradition is worth saving you are the Conservative in the 2016 election cycle.

Conservative: holding to traditional attitudes and values.

Expanded healthcare and the use of the government to fairly allocate resources are not new ideas, nor are they radical.  And it should go without saying that regulated capitalism is not socialism. These are traditional ideas based on the understanding that the government is the people and that all the people have a right to benefit from the abundance of their country and the benefits of belonging to a complex and wealthy civilization.

You don’t get more traditional than this film from 1947:


Franklin Roosevelt
had this to say when he announced his Four Freedoms to Congress in 1941:

Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the word.

For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.

Jobs for those who can work.

Security for those who need it.

The ending of special privilege for the few.

The preservation of civil liberties for all.

The enjoyment . . . the enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.

These are the simple, the basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.

Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement.

As examples:

We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.

We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.

We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.

I have called for personal sacrifice. And I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call.

A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my Budget Message I will recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying for today. No person should try, or be allowed, to get rich out of the program; and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.

If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want–which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception–the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change–in a perpetual peaceful revolution–a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions–without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.

To that high concept there can be no end save victory.

Franklin Roosevelt 1941

Film
Wastage of Human Resources
Emerson Film Corp
Published 1947
Usage
Public Domain

 

 

 

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