Friday, July 28, 2017

Systemic Evil

“The truth is out,” wrote Julian Zelizer, after the Senate failed to pass even the so-called skinny repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “Nobody is in control of this show.”


On the day of the Trump inauguration, I posted the following to my Facebook page:
Today is a watershed moment in American history. I have nothing but a sense of foreboding for the next four to eight years.

Yesterday I came across a 1999 article by James W. Douglass called A Letter to the American People,” which states in part:

“Two prophets, a president, and a president-to-be were martyred between November 1963 and June 1968, four and a half years that raised some of the greatest hopes in American history. Has our downward spiral ever since as a people, from hope to despair, from faith in change to an acceptance of systemic evil, been because we haven’t recognized the truth of those martyrdoms, bound up as they were with unspeakable forces that continue to threaten us all?”

Douglass refers, of course, to JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X.

It is tempting to view today’s events in Washington as a logical product of those four martyrdoms, and of that subsequent downward spiral. Certainly it is an ascension of systemic evil.

But I also sense resistance: a very real pushback against this systemic evil. I won’t be in DC tomorrow, but I’ll be in Denver, in solidarity with what I expect to be a very large crowd of resisters.

I recall the words of Faruq Z. Bey:

Is it midnight yet?
Are our fears to go ungrounded?
When are the demons to present themselves?

The next day I was, indeed, in Denver, where at least 100,000 people demonstrated against the new “president.” An exhilarating experience: part of a global protest against the most unfit office-holder in U.S. history. Millions took part, worldwide.

Trump has, in the months since, repeatedly demonstrated his incompetence. Now, in late July, it seems like the administration is coming apart at the seams. A word like “dysfunctional” is not strong enough to characterize it.

I get the sense that there is growing opposition to Trump within the Republican establishment. There appears to have been a successful effort to prevent ACA repeal. They’ll try again. Certainly, it is difficult not to sense, however distant it may still be, victory over this vulgar, manifestly unqualified, grotesquely substandard, transparently corrupt caricature of a president.

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