Racism, Polarization, Hate and Climate Change
A week ago today, a few thousand protestors gathered at Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House to listen to the last egomaniacal, anti-democratic, hate-filled, diatribe-of-lies speech by Donald Trump as president of the United States. They were joined by many Republican congress members, urged to insurrection by Trump, and then marched down Pennsylvania Avenue where they desecrated our Capitol Building.
At least as concerning to Americans who respect democracy and decency was the inadequacy of the police presence tasked with maintaining order. They turned out in force to harass and incite otherwise peaceful protestors at the May Black Lives Matter march in DC with helicopters, tear gas, batons, and ‘unidentified’ military. Yet, with advance warning of publicly planned and instigated violence last week, the Capitol Building was about as protected as it would be on any Wednesday afternoon.
Equally reprehensible as Trump and his protestors, are the Republican congress members, party-backers, White House staffers, masquerading news propaganda platforms like Fox News, and corporate “leaders” who chose to risk our freedom and democracy for racist or personal-benefit reasons over the past four years. They must also be held accountable. Trump and his backers not only enabled, but actively fanned flames and incited violence. They stoked sedition under the guise of patriotism.
We need to stop just talking about racism in America and address our structural inequities. Standing in the way are a swath of overt and passive racists, and some wealthy libertarians, who rig the system in their favor and then enable and enjoy the spectacular income stratification now in America. Free markets are wonderous, but it’s not government, it’s monopolies and wealth at globally competitive scale that threaten us, our democracy, and our freedom
If we really want an America of justice and opportunity, we have to create and sustain it. We have to enable disadvantaged and middle-class Americans to have healthy lives and good education. Acknowledging that these conditions trickle through the system over generations and years, we must support BIPOC, rural, and other communities that have been left behind by the new economic order through reparations and dismantling of racist policies and practices. It’s not that hard. Even libertarians agree, we just need to get the incentives right — and that starts with our values.
Almost anything we do to address inequities in America will solve climate change and almost anything we do to address climate change will help solve inequities in America. We can’t solve one without the other.
The destabilization and insecurities in our nation right now open possibilities for the quite moderate incoming Biden administration. We are actually well poised to begin a new era of fairness and trust, and to begin rebuilding the thriving nature and society that underpin our well-being. We all need to pick up the mantle and publicly work for justice in America.
Bob Perkowitz and grandchildren