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By Derrick Crowe
November 6, 2018
“This business of…injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane…cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.”
When Dr. Martin Luther King originally spoke the words I’ve paraphrased above, he was talking about the war in Vietnam and exposing the moral bankruptcy of the Christian leaders who supported the war as just. And while the conflict I’m referencing here is the “civil cold war” at home and not our seemingly endless wars and smaller conflicts abroad, let there be no doubt that we are explicitly engaged in the broader fight about which King spoke of often, the battle against the giant triplets of “racism, militarism and extreme materialism.”
The racism is explicit. In the final hours of the election, a vile political advertisement that Trump put on the air was taken down by Facebook, NBC, and yes, even Fox News, for being too racist. He has stoked racial fears and animosity and directed it at a group of pitiful refugees from Latin America, the “poor, the tired, the huddle masses, yearning to breathe free,” the “wretched refuse” of nations in whose constant troubles we are not blameless. Because their skin is not lily-white, Trump has equated them with drug runners, sex traffickers, and terrorists from a completely different part of the world but on the same latitudes were human skin tends to be darker. He has assailed black candidates here at home, people with deep experience governing and governing well, as thieves lacking qualifications. This from a man who got his millions from his father and from tax evasion.
The militarism is also explicit. Trump has now sent more U.S. troops to the border than he commands in the hills and mountains of Afghanistan and the pathetic Saudi-led atrocity in Yemen. They are there not to defend us from Nazism, which the president cannot be bothered to denounce without qualification, but from unarmed, tired, bedraggled people on foot, dozens of days away at best. The troops will be joined in this spectacle by extremist, unsanctioned militias, men with assault weapons and fantasies of war unfettered by the drudgery or rigor of actual military service. By associating a fake threat with uniformed troops, Trump is hoping to unite his base against the alien Other, an old trick of dictators and demagogues.
And as for the extreme materialism, well, that is Donald Trump’s brand. Everyone understands that Trump has a very specific job in our politics, and that is to send billions in tax cuts to the richest among us, dismantle even the most meager protections for the poorest, and install federal judges who will stop future efforts to reverse his grotesque policies in the future. While he has lied at every turn about these tax cuts benefiting the working class, reporting makes it clear again and again that the true purpose of the tax scam was to enrich executives by driving up the price of the stocks that comprise their primary method of corporate compensation so they could sell them back to their companies for cash. And all of this while they try to kill protections for people with pre-existing conditions and promise to push cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Those of you who are out today knocking on doors or making phone calls or sending texts to get people to the polls to oppose this hellish agenda–you are doing sacred work. You are uniting with the best of human nature against the worst. God knows the Democratic Party has its flaws and its disappointments. But if Trump walks away from tonight with governing majorities in the House and the Senate, and if Democrats don’t make deep gains at the state level, then the terror he has inflicted on immigrants will only be the beginning. The giant triplets of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism will only grow.
If you haven’t voted, get up and go get in line. If you have voted, talk to your friends and family and neighbors and get them to the polls. And if you are one of the stressed-out, over-caffeinated, exhausted campaign workers and candidates, my heart and hopes are with you, as are those of every person who wants to see our country turn to a path of wisdom, justice, and love.