PROTEST THE EXTREMIST’S WAR ON THE 99%
WE ARE REPEATING THESE FACTS BECAUSE THEY NEED TO BE SEEN AGAIN AND AGAIN.
- At this moment the primary source of injustice, discrimination and inequality in the U.S. is the unholy alliance of Fundamentalist Christians, billionaire capitalists and Tea-party loyalists who are determined to:
- disenfranchise millions of minority voters
- gerrymander precincts to eliminate progressive incumbents and candidates
- deny 11,000,000 immigrants a reasonable path to citizenship
- eliminate a woman’s right to choose and close the health clinics they depend on
- build higher walls, hire more border guards, deport and divide families
- discriminate on the basis of religious belief and national origin
- close our borders to refugees fleeing war and oppression
- advance a Constitutional Amendment denying LGBTQ Americans their civil rights
- demean trans* men and women by refusing to acknowledge their sacred humanity
- cut programs that feed, house and educate underprivileged children
- defund agencies that protect the environment\abolish administrations that regulate the production of food and pharmaceuticals\
- deregulate banks and reward incompetent bankers
- empower corporations with absolute political influence
- increase the power and privilege of the one percent
In the past two decades, we Americans have spent more than three trillion dollars waging war against religious extremists in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. We feel threatened by Iranian nukes and North Korean missiles. We worry that China will become the most powerful nation on earth. Our President asks Congress to quadruple military spending in Europe to counter Russian aggression.
In fact, all these outside forces are not the primary threat to our future or the future of our children. The goals of the extremist right in America (as sampled above) are the real threat. In just fourteen words, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, Ariel Durant, makes it painfully clear: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” President Lincoln agrees:
“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
EXPERIENCE THE SUFFERING
Why do so few people protest what the extremists are doing to destroy our democracy and weaken if not end a government of, by and for the people? Why do so few people protest the shift of power from the ballot box to a handful of rich and powerful white men who are determined to protect their wealth and increase their power? Why do so few people protest the loss of rights and protections already suffered by Americans in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin when the same extremist forces are at work in every state determined to eliminate those same rights and protections for all of us?
The citizens of North Carolina are just one example of Americans who are facing a new round of intolerance, discrimination and inequality. Extremists on the right, mostly wealthy white Republican men and their ignorant and vulnerable allies who feed on the toxic untruths and hyperbole of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and their ilk are hard at work implementing the goals of the extremist right. Look what the Fundamentalist Christians, billionaire capitalists and Tea-party loyalists have already accomplished in that Southern State.
- 900,000 North Carolinians have lost their hard earned-income tax credit
- 500,000 North Carolinians have lost their Medicaid coverage
- 170,000 North Carolinians have lost their unemployment benefits
- 30,000 North Carolinian children have lost their pre-K programs
- North Carolinian women are victims of “the most draconian anti-choice” laws
- North Carolinian voters are victims of the nation’s worst voter suppression law
- North Carolinian voters must show strict voter IDs
- North Carolinian voters have lost same-day registration and early voting
- North Carolinian public schools saw $90 million switched to voucher schools
- Public financing of judicial races has been axed
- Death row inmates cannot contest racially discriminatory verdicts
- Taxes have been lowered for the one percent (1%)
- Taxes have been raised for the ninety-nine percent (99%)
Why do so few of us actually protest any of it? The answer is simple. People who do not experience the suffering caused by greedy billionaires and their minions are not motivated to protest it. Ask the single, unemployed mother in North Carolina how it feels to see rich white men on the extremist right eliminate funding for the programs that she depended on to help feed, house and educate her children. Ask the women of North Carolina how it feels to have rich white men on the extremist right take power over their reproductive rights and close downthe health clinics they depended on for Pap Tests, cancer screenings, pelvic exams and information about female infertility, menopause, menstruation, abortion, birth control, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Ask the voters of North Carolina – especially the young and minority voters – how it feels to have rich white men on the extremist right effectively ending their voting rights by closing down convenient voting stations, eliminating the possibility of early voting or same-day voter registration, demanding ID cards issued by the state, and gerrymandering precincts to keep those same rich white men in power.
The people of North Carolina had three ways to respond to the suffering in their state.
(1) They could ignore the suffering. (2) They could attempt to end the suffering through violence. (3) They could attempt to end the suffering through relentless nonviolent resistance.
They chose nonviolence and through their marches, rallies, and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, their Moral Monday Movement quickly spread from Raleigh to Ashville, Charlotte, Greensboro, across North Carolina and even into other states. See Bill Moyer’s fascinating and deeply moving video, “State of Conflict: North Carolina” to experience nonviolent protest at work.
Fortunately progressive people across the U.S. are also mobilizing. Nonviolent protests are making headlines: marches, sit-ins, sleep overs, equality rides, nuns in busses, Internet campaigns, flash mobs with a purpose and creative nonviolent protests of every kind on Wall Street, at the White House, the Congress and the Supreme Court, at Governor’s offices and state legislatures, at corporate offices and pipeline construction sites, at national parks and wetlands, at Cathedrals, mega-churches and denominational conventions, even at borders that separate children and parents.
i) From their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War” byJoseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Linda Bilmes of Harvard University.
ii) North Carolina Policy Watch http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2014/05/06/the-status-of-north-carolinas-right-wing-rebellion/ A regular update on the extremists at work in North Carolina.
iii) From an NPR interview July 29, 2013, by Celeste Headleewith Reverend William President of North Carolina’s NAACP and an organizer of the Moral Monday Movement. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=206657436
iv) A 40 minute excerpt by Democracy Now of a fascinating and deeply moving video by Bill Moyers on a Moral Monday March. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/27/state_of_conflict_bill_moyers_on The entire Bill Moyer’s Documentary, “State of Conflict: North Carolina” can be found at http://billmoyers.com/episode/state-of-conflict-north-carolina/