The Fight for Human Decency
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The Fight for Human Decency

 Kim Bailey Spradlin
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 Kim Bailey Spradlin
The Fight for Human Decency
by Kim Bailey Spradlin  FollowFollow
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Kim Bailey Spradlin is a Pushcart nominee and novelist. She has been published in several literary magazines and podcasts, including Tuck Magazine,...read more Firefly Magazine, The Song Is, Five 2 One Magazine, Pilcrow & Dagger, and The Scarlet Leaf Review. Kim is currently writing her first poetry collection, and the first novel of a trilogy in collaboration with her husband and published poet S. Liam Spradlin. They live in Lawrenceburg, TN.
The Fight for Human Decency
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In a political Op-Ed piece written by Timothy Stanley and published last week on CNN, Liberals Are Still Obsessed by Trump's Victory, Stanley argues those who are bemoaning Donald Trump’s presidency are living “in the past” and they need to “get over it” and “deal with it.”

This argument is rather simplistic. We who oppose Trump do so for more complicated – and terrifying reasons. In fact, along with every other citizen of the USA, and many around the world, we are stuck in a nightmarish present wherein all evidence points to a war-torn, poverty-stricken, chaotic, and terrifying future. We raise our voices now because Donald Trump is not acting as a president, but as an authoritarian tyrant. Hell, he was on national television boasting that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s word doesn’t matter because, effectively, he’s the one who matters and what he says is what goes. 

Let that last part sink in for a minute.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled some strategy earlier this month into his investigation of Donald Trump’s campaign for president, Russia, possible collusion, and financial histories of those who have worked with Trump on his campaign. Many who believe Donald Trump has been, without question, one of the most abhorrent, destructive, and trauma-producing presidents ever have begun to feel the weight on our chests and hearts lift, if only somewhat, as some justice is beginning to be served to those with whom he has connections.

However, regardless of such justice, now or in the future, there remains a deeply emotional, uncomfortable conversation that needs to be had by Americans. Questions need asked and answered, whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green, or Proponents of Political Inefficacy (those who think nothing will help, no vote matters, and we are all screwed anyway). 

The talk we need to have with each other about the last couple of years, especially since November 8, 2016, is one of those I used to refer to as a Family Meeting back when my children were coming up. When I called for one, the moans and groans could be heard from every corner of the house. Such talks are not easy, nor are they fun. They require our complete, albeit temporary suspension of pride, anger, greed, fear, and judgment. They require kindness, compromise, and human decency.

The latter seems harder to come by since Donald Trump came on the political scene. 

Yes, yes – I know he is not the harbinger of hate, greed, and inhumane treatment that humans employ to wreak havoc upon other human beings. Still, Trump’s presidency will never be known for its humanitarian efforts or achievements. We all know this to be true, whether some agree outwardly or to themselves.

Some years ago, I was with my ex at a family holiday event. The rest of the family had left the festivities, leaving me with my ex brother-in-law, his wife, and my ex. President Barack Obama was mentioned and derided by the other three, and this rabbit trail went to the next presidential election, gun control, and who should and shouldn’t be in power. 

My ex sister-in-law said, “Well, I think we need to make sure we have a president that supports our people. Nothing wrong with cleaning house. And torture should be used on MORE criminals and prisoners of war.” 

I stared at her in disbelief while my ex and his brother chuckled and nodded in agreement. 

After I retrieved my jaw from their Italian marble-tiled floor, I said, “Well, that’s inhumane. No good comes from torturing and hurting other people.”

They all laughed at me.

My ex sister-in-law’s “people” are apparently white, at least upper-middle class, and conservative. She boasts about her two gay friends while her husband cracks obscene jokes with his brother. She believes she is enlightened. 

I don’t think so, honey. 

Meanwhile, my ex and his brother have caches of guns and munitions. They discuss the upcoming “war” as if they know something the average person doesn’t know. 

My disbelief in such cruel intentions and support of cruel actions made by human beings against others, on behalf of a government, their policies, their politics, and a people’s willful exercise of hate, continues to beg the question, “Why?”

In addition to asking why, I long to ask other questions of Trump supporters, Bernie Sanders supporters, and yes, Hillary Clinton supporters. My expectations of reasonable discourse with those who supported and voted for Donald trump have been low, of course, with good cause. Most cannot articulate their support beyond, “Make America Great Again,” “Y’all had 8 years,” “If you don’t like it, leave!” and my personal favorite, “Get over it! He’s the president, so just deal with it.”

What’s worse? When someone who did NOT vote for anyone, whether it was Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, declares the last little platitude. I have a special disdain for their special brand of ignorance. 

Because yes, you are a Trump supporter if you aren’t against the utter lack of care or concern Donald Trump has shown people of color, women, Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, the Las Vegas victims of a white-male-terrorist-not-called-a-terrorist-because-he-was-white-and-male-and-mentally-ill, poor children who need food, shelter, and medical care, the elderly, people who cannot afford healthcare, people with disabilities, essentially anyone who is not white, male, powerful, loaded and supported by such persons.

Trump is your basic Good-Ole-Boy-in-Disguise, though. He doesn’t really care about what the average white Christian, conservative, hard-working man (or woman) thinks or feels – only that they vote for him and support his Republican cronies to win their Senate and House seats, so he can exact full control over Capitol Hill and push his fascist, nationalist, authoritarian agenda in this country.

For those who continue to be complicit in Trump’s egregious conduct with silence, complacency, shaming of anyone speaking against him and his ramrod actions against human beings, so far removed from human decency, I ask you these questions:

How many understood and comprehended what was going on in the world, in our country, and at the federal, state, and local levels of government since Ronald Reagan was elected president? 

How many knew what was happening in Trump’s campaign? What were his specific policies? Did it matter?

How many know history? Do you remember Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, the rise of fascism and authoritarianism? Do you know Josef Stalin and what he perpetrated on the Communist Party, known as the “Great Purge?” And Benito Mussolini? Do you know he was the founder and leader of the National Fascist Party and ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922-1943, only constitutionally until 1925, at which time he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship? Did you know Mussolini made a “Pact of Steel” with Hitler and implemented discrimination policies against Jews?

When I took my first college humanities course, the following quote was printed on the first page after the forward:

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Edmund Burke

Do you know who Vladimir Putin is and what role he has taken in the USSR/Russian political scene? Do you know what an Oligarchy, or a Kakistocracy, are? Do you know that Putin is behind the Oligarchy in Russia? Are you aware that he is behind the Kakistocracy of his own country, other countries, and he has tried to implement such a government via Donald Trump here in the USA to gain political and world power? Do you know what “Blood Diamonds” are, and about how they are mined in the African country of Angola? Have you heard of Chabad? Did you know they are associated with the Blood Diamond industry? Did you know Trump is associated via Jared Kushner and the Chabad source, as well as the Russian mob? If not, this 3-part series is a must-watch: (The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Zembla TV, via Salon May 2017)

When Trump won the electoral college, a dubious win no doubt tampered with by Russian operatives who are likely to have assisted Trump’s win (Clinton did win the popular vote by nearly 3 million) how many who cheered had also cried out “Crooked Hillary!” “But her emails!” and “Benghazi!”?

Where was your outrage when Trump took away healthcare for 9 million children, when he diverted 1.5 trillion dollars of Medicaid for seniors and persons with developmental disabilities, or mental illness, to provide corporate welfare and tax cuts to the wealthiest 20% of Americans?

What about Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, George Papadopoulas, Paul Manafort, and others in Trump’s circle who have misused personal email for government business?

What about the recent presence of US Military forces in Niger, the four personnel killed because they were ambushed and had no back-up or aircraft to assist, only hired contractors who could not issue fire to protect them? How about Niger’s proximity to Chad, one of the countries recently added to the travel ban imposed by this administration?

How about Trump’s hell-bent efforts to deport young people whose parents brought them here illegally, DACA/DREAMERS, who’ve known only the USA as home? 

And the seventeen women who were violated sexually by Donald Trump, one a minor when abused), who stand by their accusations against him? Do you remember when he admitted to doing what he wants, when he wants, with any woman he wants? It wasn’t locker room talk. It was the discourse of a sexual predator and misogynist.

So, you don’t have a problem with a sexual predator being president, but you have a problem with a black man (8 years, dammit!), or a woman, being president? 

Is it okay that your president had nothing at all to say against white supremacists in Charlottesville, but he railed against the mayor of San Juan and the poor Puerto Ricans for not being better prepared for a Category 4 hurricane? Does it matter to you that hundreds have died, and the survivors are still without potable water and electricity?

Are you sure you can abide a president who has next to nothing to say about a white guy who had money problems (most of us do, right?) killing nearly sixty people in Las Vegas and injuring more than 500, but who makes the killing of eight people in New York, by an individual who is non-white and claims he acted on behalf of ISIS? What about Trump’s silence regarding the murder of twenty-six people in Texas, while they were worshipping their God, by a white man with an assault weapon? 

Where’s the outrage?

I wonder if people hear themselves, and Trump, with clarity. How can it be acceptable that our Vice President, Mike Pence, hates gays so much that he wants to “hang them,” according to Donald Trump himself? 

So, you wouldn’t flinch if one of my kids was executed for being transgender? How about your son or daughter, or grandchild?

Or is it that those who support Trump, either actively or with their silence and apathy, still blame President Obama, or the Clintons, for all that that is wrong with our country? 

Do you blame the victims of sexual assault for being raped and molested? Do you know the definition of rape culture?

 

Rape Culture: A culture, environment or society where rape is common, and in which social attitudes or practices work to trivialize sexual violence, make rape seem normal, or shift responsibility from rapists to rape victims.

Do you blame the poor for being poor?

Do you blame kids for needing basic food, shelter, and healthcare?

Do you blame people for having mental illness, or disabilities? 

Do you blame people for getting old?

Do you blame Blacks for being black, or gay/lesbian/bisexual for being homosexual, or women for being women?

Or are you just so immersed in your privilege and self-centeredness that you don’t see past your wallet or hear past your own desires? 

Are you truly so willfully ignorant and cold?

I think it is clear who needs to grow up, and who needs to focus on the past, so we can fix the present—and especially the future. Telling people who are unhappy with the current president and his constant upheaval policies to be quiet and “deal with it” shows a person or group’s ignorance, callousness, and narcissism. 

White Americans are not the only human beings on this planet. Trump has been pushing the white, America First, national purity agenda for two reasons.  

Power and money.

He has dismantled or tried to dismantle every policy and program President Obama established or pushed through against a stubborn GOP congress. Why? Because he wants to be known as the one who saved the white race. Moreover, he wants to be in control. 

It’s time to wake and stay woke. 

Now is the time for courage, and human decency. We must fight for good, and rebuke what is evil and hurtful to other human beings. 

Our fight is for human decency, first and foremost. If that is living in the past, Timothy Stanley, then I’ll see you and your friends there when those who care about other human beings take this country back.

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