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 the 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 lackeys and backers not only enabled, but actively supported the ferment of evil in America.

What about the Black Lives Matter riots and looting in DC, Chicago, and other cities over the past months?! Simple – they too are grounded in the exact same racism as the Capitol Hill protestors were last week.

We need to stop just talking about racism in America and address the structural inequities behind it. 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 Americans. Free markets are wonderous, but it’s not government, it’s monopolies and wealth at globally competitive scale that threaten them and our democracy and freedom now. Technological shifts have enabled new, structural imbalances that need to be addressed.

If we really want an America of justice and opportunity, we have to create it. We have to enable disadvantaged and middle-class Americans to have healthy lives and good education. As those conditions trickle through the system over the years, we need to support BIPOC, rural, and other communities that have been left behind by the new economic order. It’s not that hard. Even the libertarians agree, we just need to get the incentives right — and that starts with our values.

Anything we do to address inequities in America will solve climate change. Anything we do to address climate change will help solve inequities in America. We can’t solve one without the other. With the flexibility created by insecurities in our nation right now, and the new progressive but still fundamentally 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.

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