Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why We Need A Third Reconstruction in America

I am not sure what the symbolism might be, but I woke up during the night after having a dream where I and other family members were resistance fighters in Vichy France. The dream was disturbing and frustrating too since many in the dream were unconvinced of the evil being opposed. With waking and the coming of morning, a lesser but no less dangerous evil exists that must be opposed: the racism and right wing religious fanaticism that throughout America's history has typically walked hand in hand with racism and white supremacy.  If post election exit polls and other surveys are to be believed, a last gasp of angry white voters upset about the loss of white privilege Christian reactionaries who continue to seek to force their beliefs on all citizens propelled Donald Trump to electoral victory (along perhaps with electronic vote hacking in three swing states).  The take away from this circumstance is that the vast majority of registered voters - nearly 75% - who did not vote for Trump must oppose his agenda and push for what one writer at has called a third Reconstruction in America.  Here are article highlights:
The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Donald Trump is not an anomaly in our history. It is an all-too-familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.
The story of our struggle for freedom is not linear: Every advance toward a more perfect union has been met with a backlash of resistance.
When African-Americans became full citizens of the United States during Reconstruction, a violent backlash arose in the Redemption movement that included both the violence of the Klan and the voter suppression of Southern Democrats. The same kind of backlash followed the legislative victories of the civil rights movement — what many historians call a “Second Reconstruction.” Richard Nixon’s “law and order” campaign of 1968 was an intentional effort to appeal to racial hate and fear without using overtly racist language. His adviser, Kevin Phillips, called it the “Southern Strategy.”
Donald Trump’s unanticipated victory could not have been possible without the election of Barack Obama as America’s first African-American president. Trump entered national politics by waging a crusade against the possibility of Obama’s citizenship. It proved to be the perfect way to touch the psychic wound of so many Americans who have not faced our legacy of racism. Anyone familiar with the Mississippi Plan of 1876 or the Southern Strategy of 1968 can be surprised only by the ease with which Trump adapted them for the 21st century.
Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community were political ploys based on the fundamental racial fear at the heart of the American experience. When he told white Americans that he was their last chance to make America great again, he was touching a wound passed down since the lost cause religion of the 19th century.
If we are willing to see ourselves as we are and have been, we will also see our potential for prophetic resistance, even in times like these. For we are also the heirs of great dissenters who’ve stood for right even when they were a minority of one. When the Jim Crow laws of the solid South were upheld by the US Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, only one justice — John Harlan of Kentucky — dissented. But his dissenting opinion laid the legal groundwork upon which Thurgood Marshall built his case over half a century later in Brown v. Board of Education.
When Woodrow Wilson showed Birth of a Nation at the White House a century ago, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells and the interracial NAACP challenged the most powerful man in America to face his racism. 
Less than a majority of Americans elected a mortal, not a god, when they cast their ballots for Donald Trump. . . . Across lines of division, we can continue to build the moral coalition that is already a majority in this country. We can and must face the race and class question together and not as separate issues.
Yes, we have some difficult days ahead. . . . Our work continues: we must work together for a Third Reconstruction in America.

Many Republican "friends" vehemently deny the racism that motivated their votes.  Not coincidentally, many of them still cling to a near fundamentalist form of Christianity that, if one looks at America's history, has always been in lock step with white supremacy.  Lest we forget, the Southern Baptists came into being over the issue of slavery and religious arguments that blacks were inferior and not equal to whites.  Why do we pretend that much of this toxicity no longer exists throughout that denomination and so many of the other Christian fundamentalist sects?   #NotMyPresident

No comments: