Today is Martin Luther King Day. There is much to celebrate about the man: his work desegregating our public and private institutions and advancing voting rights for people of color was, and still is, critically important. Yet, when we celebrate his legacy, many people and institutions tend to ignore, for convenience or disagreement, that his views were radically progressive. He was vehemently anti-war and spoke of the irony that politicians who wanted liberty abroad for Vietnam couldn’t bring themselves to support equal rights for people of color. He was a believer in a universal basic income, supported unions and decried poverty as the evil manifestation of income inequality that it is. He was brave beyond measure, believing that if you spoke up for justice persistently it would prevail, no matter the personal cost. He put fear aside when he marched in Selma, boycotted buses in Montgomery and spoke about his dream in Washington.
It is in this vein that I find myself thinking about an interview Rep. John Lewis, another hero, from a few days ago. In the interview, Lewis states:
“I don’t see (Trump) as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected…I don’t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss since I’ve been in Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong…”
He’s not alone in his assessment of Russia’s preferences and actions this past election cycle. But where Lewis goes out on a sparsely populated island and displays the bravery that characterizes his life is when he calls Trump illegitimately elected. Just as he and Dr. King have done effectively time and time again, Lewis has pointed out a monstrous injustice. In doing so, he has also indicated that this particular injustice, though it may seem as intimidating and unbeatable as widespread state-sponsored segregation, can be overcome.
That is the philosophy of this blog. Starting January 20th, and then subsequently every single day of the Trump administration, I will blog about an injustice that has occurred at the hands of our new President and/or within the political, economic and social scene that surrounds him. I hope you’ll read about that daily transgression and then take action by donating money or time to an organization working to combat it. An incomplete but growing list of organizations dedicated to progressive causes can be found here.
Stand strong, stay united and be open-minded to learning about new ideas and undergoing new experiences. Trump represents a political nightmare and an attack on our minority communities. Yet, he also presents an opportunity to shine a spotlight on institutional racism, economic favoritism and the infractions of oppressors everywhere. We have vanquished some of these forces before and we can do so again.
I’ll see you again on the 20th.
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