1. Martin Luther KIng — moral and political visionary, radical democrat, brilliant strategist and tactician, and mover of millions. No one stood taller in the 20th century. He still has much to teach us — at this moment and at every turn along the road to full and indivisible freedom.
2. Oprah’s speech at the Globes was superb. In interjecting her powerful voice to this righteous cause, she captured the moment and inspired tens of millions of women, and men as well. I have to wonder if my grandchildren and great grandchildren will read or hear about this galvanizing moment in their high school history class. And, who knows, maybe, just maybe, it will be presented as Oprah’s unofficial entry into what became her successful presidential run.
3. From the sublime to the ugly: it’s no wonder that Trump’s comments, as repugnant and beyond the pale as they are, aren’t surprising. In fact, they are true to form. Trump is unhinged and out of control, no doubt about that. But we shouldn’t forget that there is also method to his madness. He is well aware that racism plays well with a considerable section of his base.
It is fair to note that sections of white people are moving in an anti-racist direction, but it is also imperative to acknowledge that a substantial number of white people, including white workers, viscerally embrace racist politics, symbols, and talking points.
4. James Fallows in the Atlantic writes,
“With the 49 Democratic and independent senators, these two would make 51 votes, which in turn would be enough to authorize real investigations. They could pass a formal resolution of censure. They could call for tax returns and financial disclosure. They could begin hearings, on the model of the nationally televised Watergate hearings of 45 years ago.”
Is this doable? I don’t know, but why not lean on some likely Republican Senators and give it a try?
5. Bannon, the alt right, neoliberal democrats, global elites, and economic instability and slowdown — each had a hand in the creation of Trump and Trumpism. But if you’re looking for the main architect — and principal enabler since his election — look no further than right wing extremism.
Any analysis — no matter how radical sounding — that blurs, or worse yet, makes invisible the power and powerful role of this political-ideological-organizational juggernaut is doing no favors to the coalition of people, organizations and institutions that are resisting Trump or to our understanding of the Trump phenomenon.
Its rise from the margins to a position of dominance in U.S. politics over four decades was facilitated by its near bottomless pit of financial resources, its penetration of the mass media, its construction of an infrastructure that trained cadre, manufactured talking points, and elaborated strategy, its co-optation of christian evangelicalism, and, not least, its systematic employment of racism to expand and congeal a popular (white) coalition.
To this though we have to add its takeover of the Republican Party. In doing so, it secured what was indispensable to its political project — an instrument to lay hold of the levers of state power and impose its policies.
Which brings me to the midterm elections this fall. We have a unique opportunity to deliver a body blow, if not a knockout punch, to Trump and this whole concentration of nasty anti-democratic power that makes common cause and conspires with him. Nothing is more important.
But will only happen if the entire coalition resisting Trump and Trumpism over the past year gives undivided attention to this terrain of struggle. It doesn’t mean pulling the plug on everything else, but it does mean that winning in November should find its way into every nook and cranny of social activism.
6. An authoritarian mentality, expressed by contempt for democratic and social norms and institutions, has taken hold not only of Trump, but also a section of (white) voters. While it has many features, racism lies at its core.
7. Not a word yet from many Republicans to Trump’s racist remarks. Some even deny he said it. But then again that’s not surprising. After all, most are committed ideologically and practically to a White Nation. In other words, there’s more to their silence than crass political opportunism.
8. Each of us should find ways to speak out against Trump’s racist comments. Most of us don’t have a big platform to speak from, but we do interact with people in the course of our everyday lives and should find ways to express our outrage to them.
What is more, next week we have at least two opportunities to join with others to protest Trump’s outrageous statements. On Monday MLK celebrations will take place across the country and on the weekend marches are planned in most major cities on the anniversary of the Women’s March a year ago.
9. The great Bill Walton, basketball Hall of Famer and college basketball commentator, was freely quoting Martin Luther King at this weekend’s game between Arizona and Oregon. His remarks not only anticipated the King Holiday today, but also were pointedly aimed at Trump and his supporters last week.
One of which was, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” You Go Big Man!
10. And if you have gotten this far and still want to read more, here’s something I wrote in October of 2016 that still retains some relevance.