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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