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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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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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This week was more terrible than most in the last couple of years, and that's saying a lot in Trump's America.  A middle aged white male killed two African Americans in a Kroger after failing to enter a black church. Another domestic terrorist Trump supporter made multiple assassination attempts at Democratic political leaders and mainstream media outlets, all of whom had been longstanding targets of Trump at his hateful rallies.  And yet another AR-15 was used in yet another mass shooting, this time at synagogue in Pittsburgh in a despicable display of violent anti-Semitism that took 11 lives, including a 97 year-old Holocaust survivor.  She survived the horrors of the nationalism of Hitler and the Nazis, only to meet her end by the nationalism of Trump and the hate he exhibits and engenders in his followers.  Our nation's character cannot withstand such assaults while Trump, his GOP enablers, and his virulent supporters still maintain control over all the levers of power.

In many ways, this week was yet another setback in the pursuit of justice.  I have found it hopeful that in these dark times, movement builders have deepened our collective understanding of the call to justice with a radical inclusion that leaves no one behind. Seekers of justice have rightfully emphasized the interwoven systems oppression. For example, it isn't enough to solely work against a patriarchal society and how it adversely impacts women.  The racism that black and brown women face is an added dimension to systemic oppression that requires us to view the intersections of those systems with a critical eye.  Adding the layers of LGBT and class deepens the analysis and leads to different strategies to unwind these systems through collective action.   This analysis is thankfully not about comparing victims as were the unfortunate results of so many discussions twenty years ago, but rather taking seriously the various identifies each person has and understanding how structures oppress and grant privilege based on those identities.  

I learned anew this week, that hate is also intersectional.

All week long, the President targeted the caravan of immigrants coming from Central America in an act of mass desperation that deserves every charitable impulse we have as a nation to address.  Instead, Trump and the White House dog whistled xenophobia and racism, suggesting that there were Muslims seeking to do harm in the caravan and that they should turn around despite their legal right by US and International law to seek asylum as refugees.  

In reality, Trump's dog whistle has transformed into hateful bullhorn.  At one rally, he proudly declared himself a nationalist.  This supposed leader of a nation that built the post-WWII order through a series of deep alliances throughout the world has continued to strain and at times break the bonds that maintain peace across much of the world.  He has continued to the conservative project of undermining the United Nations, founded by the United States to overcome the past and perhaps inherent violence of nationalism through means of diplomacy. 

This white domestic terrorist's hate was ginned up this week by Trump's bullhorn, because Trump actually needs this anger to survive politically.  His base is supportive because he gives voice to their supposed victimization, whether it is immigrants coming to take jobs, African Americans living off their tax dollars on the government dole, liberals coming to take away guns, or any of the tired and untrue narratives that Republicans have been trotting out for years to ensure that white folks vote against their own economic self-interest. Trump does this was a special flare which includes more overt racism than was socially acceptable even a few years ago in the primarily white Republican Party, let alone the rest of this increasingly diverse country.   

The domestic white terrorist was intersectional in his approach to hate. He wasn't just an anti-Semite, or a racist or a xenophobe.  His white male Christian identity is completely wrapped up in needing to feel superior in every way.  The terrorist targeted this synagogue in part because they were supportive of HIAS (https://www.hias.org/) an organization that helps refugees and migrants globally.  HIAS was one of the principle voices challenging Trump's xenophobic caravan narrative and organizing congregations to support refugees.  His hate and violence was directed at Jews, in part because of their willingness to understand how their long standing oppression as a religious minority is wrapped up in the oppression of refugees and migrants from Central America.  From Biblical times, Jews have too often found themselves in similar migratory situations so the connection and the commitment to justice often runs deep.  And yet again, in 2018, in America, they found themselves the victims of hateful violence.  

Hateful people who commit acts of terrorism serve a useful purpose for those who share their ideology in positions of power.  They serve to intimidate and enforce the order that those in power are building or maintaining, while being able to absolve themselves from direct complicity .  Most fascist movements have closely aligned vigilante groups willing to act on their hate in concert with the interests and grievances of the powerful.  This is the America we now live in.  Vote for sure and hopefully we can stem the tide, but make no mistake about it.  The overt hate is now completely out of the bag like we haven't seen since the reaction to the Civil Rights Movement.  One election in 10 days or in 2020 will not be able to recover what has been lost, but it is our mission to be Stronger than Hate now and every day until this nightmare ends.  This hateful violence must never be normalized and we must never accept that this is what our nation has become. 

We are Stronger than Hate and We Shall Overcome.  

 

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Share your pics and stories on the Center. We are changing the world. Build our deepen our as we pursue .  


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claims he would have gone into a school with a , even if he didn’t have a weapon. We all know that shit ain't . #guncontrol 

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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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They are not coming for your . They are coming for your internet. may not understand this message tip of hat to on fb.

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