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March for Our Lives - Washington DC - March 24, 2018


The Republican Party Stands Idly By While the Slaughter Continues

After the terrifying and somber weekend, we are left to question what to do?  We have held marches, organized moms, students, and every conglomeration of people to protest and lobby lawmakers and the President to pass sensible gun control legislation.  The House of Representatives, to its credit passed a number of measures, even some bi-partisan laws.   

The politicians of the Republican Party have either hid from the airwaves or offered absolutely disproven answers to our gun problem.  You've heard them: prayer in schools, violent video games, and mental illness (an excuse only reserved for the white shooters).   Mitch McConnell has utterly dismantled the functioning of the republic in every way imaginable, not the least of which in blocking the will of overwhelming majority of the American people in passing gun control measures. 

Here is the legislation that McConnell is blocking (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/04/mass-shootings-what-congress-doing-gun-control/1916451001/):

-H.R. 8: Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
This bill would prohibit most person-to-person firearm transfers unless a background check can be conducted, aiming to close a potential loophole allowing the transfer of firearms without a background check at gun shows or between individuals.

-H.R. 1112 Bipartisan Background Checks Act
This bill would extend to at least 10 days the amount of time firearms dealers must wait for a response from the background check system before the sale can proceed. Currently, they can make the sale if they haven’t received a response in three days.

-"Red-flag" laws
allow family members or law enforcement to limit a person's access to firearms if they are deemed a potential threat to the public.

-Assault weapons bans
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, lapsed in 2004. This legislation, among other provisions, banned the manufacture and sale to civilians of assault-style weapons and certain "large-capacity" ammunition magazines for guns, Congress has attempted to pass new bans on assault-style weapons, but the legislation has picked up little traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.

What Else Can We Do? Fight White Supremacy Where We Find It

While we must keep after the advocacy efforts around gun control and vote out every legislator who refuses to do the will of the people, there is much for us to do on the root of the problem of hate that is not necessarily caught up in the political process.   

We are not powerless.  Trump serves as the inspiration to white supremacists from New Zealand to El Paso and has to be looked at as a major causal factor in the increase of white supremacist terrorism.  Trump has given license to racism, but this is going to require all of us to put it back in the bag, especially through white people challenging other white people where they see racism expressed or supported.  For as dizzying as it can be to understand where to begin with norms of decency broken every day in a seemingly bottomless pit of narcissistic depravity that is Donald Trump, we have to challenge in our communities and workplaces, amongst our friends and acquaintances, on social media and in our politics. 

There are collective displays of anti-racism happening around in communities around the country this week.  These are wonderful opportunities to build a collective voice for equality and to reclaim the public square for equality and goodness.  

There are also more intimate challenges required with communities and within families.  These are difficult, but I believe they must be done.  Tolerating intolerance let it fester and ultimately spread to others like a virus.  The offhand comment unchallenged supports a racist ideology that builds within a person, a family, and a community.  The racist social media post is there for lots of folks in the social network to see it.  Make sure people see it challenged.  

We recently had issues of implicit bias and racism in our neighborhood.  Here's how I chose to challenge a handful of my neighbors.  A neighbor relayed a story of feeling intimidated by 3 African American young males walking in our very diverse community.  That needed a challenge and perhaps some education on implicit bias.  I offered the following:

"The story relayed is the textbook example of implicit bias, whether based on age, race, or both.   The sad truth is that most of us experience this type of implicit bias frequently.  I don't think we should run from these discussions as they are important to have.   I would encourage us to have a session on implicit bias in a future OFC meeting.  Unlearning racism and other forms of bias is an ongoing process and having a face to face training and discussion may help our neighborhood better come to terms with some of these issues.

 A couple of useful resources on implicit bias:

-  Definition and meaning of implicit bias:  http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/understanding-implicit-bias/ 

-  A tool for testing ourselves on implicit bias can be found here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Notice the effort here to provide resources and create a learning opportunity.  There are those who needed more direct challenges because they were more overtly racist, denying the existence of racially biased incidents and microagressions in the neighborhood.   Understanding how forceful a challenge to make is important.  There is a difference between someone who has a blindspot and a growth opportunity versus someone who is willfully ignorant and aggressively promoting a racist view.  I'll get into those cases in part 2.  


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In post-apartheid South Africa, Truth and Reconciliation Commissions were established in order to bear witness to the atrocities of the era, to give voice to the victims of discrimination and violence, and ultimately to reconcile and move forward as a nation.  Similar processes have been used successfully in post-conflict situations.  The United States never had its Truth Reconciliation Commission, despite 250 years of enslavement of African peoples, despite genocide and confiscation of land of Native Americans, despite the discrimination and vigilante terrorism of lynchings in Jim Crow South, despite ongoing institutional racism.  Perhaps now is the time for such a process.

Indeed, in the not so distant future, the Trump Era will be over.  Whether an impeachment, resignation, indictment, the deploying of the 25th Amendment, or simply being rejected at the ballot box, the Trump Era will come to an end.  Perhaps the support of Trump is a the final straw of needing to come to terms with a sizable group of white folks who thrive on bigotry and disdain for their fellow citizens who don't look or talk like them.  Trump has lifted whatever veil some of America had that progress was perpetual and inevitable.  There are many in America who are way too at ease with xenophobia, racism, and misogyny.  Indeed way too many folks do more than turn a blind eye, but hold such beliefs and act on them in their lives.  A truth and reconciliation process would bring those sentiments out and suggest different paths moving forward.  It would make clear that moving forward, this country will not tolerate bigotry and will take affirmative steps to end institutional racism.  We would put racists and their apologists on the spot, demanding a change in behavior, and an apology for judging others by their skin color or ethnic heritage.    

Maybe it is time to finally come to terms with a brand of Christianity that allows for bigotry.  The same brand of Christianity that supported slavery and Jim Crow, now finds itself as an apologist for the behavior Donald Trump, the very same behavior that they have castigated politicians on the other side of the aisle and denounced from their pulpits since for generations.  This blatant hypocrisy is turning younger people and people with any decency away from those churches.  It took until the 1990s for the Southern Baptists to apologize for Jim Crow and it will be high time for the conservative Evangelicals to apologize for their support of such an amoral, indecent human being who is contray to every teaching that Jesus provided as to how to conduct oneself in the world.  

And maybe it is finally come time for the GOP and Trump supporters to apologize for allowing no progress on what the majority of Americans want to see to make all of our lives better, including those who stand in opposition:

  • Raise the minimum wage and put policies in place to reduce grotesque economic inequality.
  • Act on climate change.
  • Provide universal health care.
  • Put sensible gun control measures in place

All of these have the majority of Americans support and Republicans block based on an ideology that cares little for others, rather promotes greed as the primary value in which to base public policy.

I'm not fully sure how a Truth and Reconciliation Process would work, but I know that when the Trump Era comes to a close, he will leave in a more disgraced state than he has already done to himself and to the nation.  Anyone who touches him heaps this disgrace upon themselves.  As indictment after guilty plea deal in the Mueller investigation become known, it is clear that Trump is in the crosshairs beyond his usual amorality but was likely breaking the law like so many of the associates around him.  The writing is on the wall, and now is the time to turn away from Trump the pathological liar, Trump the sexual assaulter, Trump the greedy, Trump the racist, Trump the xenophobe. 

Time for a better path.  Time to jump off the Trump wagon.  Time to realize you made a mistake.  Time to apologize to the rest of us.  Time to atone so it doesn't happen again.  

We accept your apology.  Let's work together prioritizing goodness over greatness to form a more perfect union reconciled finally from these division through eliminating the oppression that is division's root cause.  

  change

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won’t everything, but if you don’t vote, you are about as useless as a who offers after yet another . and ! Stephen Rockwell

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Which assault rifle would carry? , people, and make up most of the conservative movement and the modern . How can they coexist given Jesus’s expressed of turning the other cheek and walking the second mile.   ban

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