I decided to check out my blog from last year’s commemoration of Dr. King and what I discovered depressed me. Not only have my feelings and fears regarding the direction of this country NOT changed, they’re enhanced with anxiety.
In the past year, racism has re-introduced itself to the public forum, no longer satisfied with wrecking our institutions for people of color behind the scenes. This is due, in no small part, to this nation’s leader who makes known his disdain for Black people at every turn, energizing the hate that once had a home in the shadows.
One year ago, as the new POTUS, Trump addressed a very deceased Frederick Douglass as if he were alive. As the POTUS one year later, he exercised his privileged audacity and labeled countries with Black people “shitholes”.
In between time, he’s played cat and mouse with North Korea and celebrated racists at Charlottesville. He has killed dreams and is poised to kick out DREAMers. He has unapologetically clipped our coffers and compromised our health to benefit the rich and the greedy.
One year later… the peril is heightened.
Post below was published 1/17/17.
Today, I am not in the mood to march.
My former self would have clapped back with brute force at such a selfish statement. Armed with $100 worth of guilt, I would have said “What if Dr. King would have said ‘I don’t feel like saving Negroes today?’”
But today is a different kind of today. The black people of yesterday knew their enemy, understood their prospects, and were clear on how to overcome. Unlike today. This today is strangely unsettling for we know neither the form nor degree to which today’s hate will manifest.
We are on the precipice of an era that will, undoubtedly, redefine our nationhood. Strikingly, the American people have hired the most emotionally fragile, uncaring, arbitrary, impolitic male to lead our country. The filthy rich stand to reach stinking status and the stinking is in position to rule. So, where are historically marginalized groups in this narrative?
Herein lies the motivation for my current mood.
We are in a state of emergency
Let’s take a look from 50,000 feet at the burning landscape, shall we?
Dismantling affordable healthcare: House Republicans nearly tripped over themselves to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Oh, and they have offered no alternative. Let’s not forget the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood.
Birth-to-prison pipeline made simpler: Senator Jeff Sessions. The senator’s record precedes him. Sessions is known for calling the Voting Rights Act “intrusive” and famous for prosecuting three black voter registration workers on trumped up charges of voter fraud in an effort to intimidate and discourage future registrants. Thankfully, the “Marion Three” were exonerated, but Sessions would go on to extend his hate agenda to immigrants and the LGBTQ community.
“If you have nostalgia for the days when Blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) said in a statement issued after Trump tapped Sessions for attorney general. “No senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants and people of color than Sen. Sessions.”
Doctoring up affordable housing: Lawdy! Dr. Ben Carson was tapped to lead Housing and Urban Development because he once lived in public housing. This nation’s love affair with poverty continues thanks in large part to increasing housing costs and decreasing access to affordable housing. By the way, the ‘Dr.’ that precedes his name represents MEDICAL DOCTOR. One would think that if a person is brilliant enough to perform neurosurgery that just about anything else is a piece of cake. Not so much. See Dr. Ben Carson, candidate for President of the United States.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”
Finally, but first, education: The jury is still out on Education czar nominee Betsy DeVos. Daily, I fight the urge to call her Billionaire Betsy. President-elect Trump loves billionaires and clearly trusts them which produces mounds of ill-will within me. I’ve written about DeVos a few times, even leading my own counseling session to justify giving her a chance and supporting friends like Erika Sanzi who writes so eloquently on her behalf. It can never be said that I didn’t try!
But this shit is big! If we cannot get education right, we are doomed. This should absolutely be America’s top priority and I’m afraid with the incoming administration it will land just short of last. While I share DeVos’ appreciation for choice, we part at the point of her radicalized free-market approach to education. We do not want billionaires and their lesser counterparts, millionaires, buying up education real estate and peddling mirages to unwitting parents.
There must be controls. Our children, very simply, are not for sale and are too precious to be used as scratch paper.
So, I’m feeling a bit anxious today, because today’s today warrants the kind of anxiety that propels you to do something.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham jail
This post was originally published at Volume and Light Nashville.