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The Gadfly: January 20, 2017

MLK Day in Trump’s America

By Pete Giannini

I find it ironic that we are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a country that recently elected the presidential candidate of the Klu Klux Klan­—a candidate who was fêted by his supporters flying Confederate flags, graffitiing swastikas and slurs on private property for the purpose of intimidation, and tossing up the occasional, gratuitous white supremacist salute, all, of course, while hiding behind the guise of Christianity. Because this is how Jesus would want it, after all—the leader of the nation which entrusts its full faith and confidence in His Father, as evidenced by that time honored scripture on our most holy of notes, the TRULY almighty dollar. In God We Trust, indeed.

So tell me, red state Republicans, Trump supporters, and religious zealots, why do you get to have it both ways? Are you just in it for the days off? Because that I could understand. And if that’s the case, and you admit it, then at least you’re being honest.  But to continue to celebrate the life (and eventual murder) of the man who did more to further the interests of the black community in these “United” States, while electing to office someone who appoints noted bigots and white nationalists to his cabinet, would seem to me to be slightly suspect. While slavery might have ended, officially, at least, now we are left with the unpleasant task of caring for all the familial remnants of those slaves that the early white inhabitants of this country thought it would be such a fine idea to ship over here in order to make life easier, and more profitable, for themselves.  The roots of greed and abuse of power run deep in this land. At least now, slavery isn’t restricted to only those of a certain skin tone. We can now all toil for meager pittance in order to keep the über wealthy that way in this system of economic disparity and inequity, for ignorance knows no race. It is, of course, a much simpler task to rule an ignorant and fearful public than it is to perpetuate the lies of inequality and social injustice on a well educated, informed, and fearless constituency, for such a constituency would not be fooled, and would not stand for it. Keeping the decedents of slaves poor and uneducated doesn’t seem to be working very well for any of us, though. And I don’t think another day off is going to help.

Who is this God of yours, the God who allegedly said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” That doesn’t sound like a God interested in building ridiculously expensive and ineffective walls to keep certain people out of a certain promised land. And what of the Emma Lazarus sonnet that graces our Statue of Liberty:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Are there inferred exemptions here of which I am somehow unaware? Am I misinterpreting this doctrine? Or are you?

You love your God. You love your country. That talk you can talk. But you seem to have become awfully forgetful when it comes to walking the walk. Because if these sentiments, sentiments that supposedly come directly from your God, and that are emblazoned on a bronze plaque displayed at the celebrated entrance to this country, don’t apply to Mexicans, or Muslims, or women who should be grabbed in the pussy, then there exists a terrible disconnect in your thought process.  But hey, if the bankers can continue to emerge unscathed from predatory lending fiascos that wipe out the savings of middle class Americans, and the petroleum executives can continue to pay for their ex-wives’ Mercedes SUVs and country club memberships at the expense of clean air and water, and the pimps of big pharma can keep us drug addled and addicted to the drugs only from which they serve to profit, and the educational system can continue to be marginalized, and educators undervalued, and health care systems dismantled, and social security robbed, so that we can continue to build more bombs and guns to kill people that look different than we do, and more often ourselves, under the guise of “freedom,” and you can rationalize it all by giving the slaves another Monday off in the name of one of the greatest freedom fighters this country has ever known, then you have created a truly exceptional charade. The double standard is mind numbing, which, of course, resonates perfectly with the products of our modern educational system.

So which is it? Do we value and respect people of all races, colors, creeds, sexes, orientations, and religions? Are we all truly free at last? Or is it all just a thinly veiled and well orchestrated lie perpetuated in order that the slaves will smile, enjoy their day off, and continue to say “Yes, massa!” to the lying hypocrites that pull the strings so that they may bring themselves closer to the God that they truly worship, the God of greed, power, self-righteous intolerance, and, above all else, money? Those that live in ignorant fear may let you have it both ways. But not those of us that still have a functioning brain in our heads, a mind capable of rational thought, a consciousness free from the relentless stream of stupidity spewed forth by our corporately controlled media machines. And I know to which group I belong.

I hope you all enjoyed your day off.

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