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​A Great Economy? For Whom?!

Gadfly | November 21st, 2021

By Ed Raymond

fargogadly@gmail.com

Onward, Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War, With the Flags of Trump…

The North Dakota Legislature enshrined itself in theological Trumpocracy by passing a bill to prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory, attempting to protect innocent White kids from the embarrassment of learning the actual history of the Divided States of America.

Trumplican lawmakers said it would not prevent teachers from teaching historical factual “events.” Let’s examine one of 4,740 estimated events that took place between 1882 and 1968. That was the estimated number of Blacks who were tortured and killed by White lynch mobs in just 86 years of Jim Crow.

In Newman, Georgia, Black worker Sam Hose asked his White boss Alfred Cranford for a small advance on his pay and permission to take a short time off to visit his very sick mother in a nearby town. They argued about Alfred’s refusal. The next day Cranston continued the argument when Sam asked him again for time off, and he pulled a pistol from his pocket and threatened to kill Sam. In a reflective, self-defense action, Sam flung an axe he was sharpening on a grindstone at Cranston and hit him in the head, killing him instantly. The next day a reporter for the Newman paper used alternative facts. He wrote that Black Sam killed White Alfred by sneaking up behind him while White Alfred was peacefully eating dinner and “buried his axe in his skull.” The reporter added that Sam raped White Mrs. Crawford before Alfred’s dying eyes.

After church on April 23,1899, before a crowd of 2,000 cheering Whites, many coming on special trains from nearby Atlanta, Sam Hose was stripped naked and chained to a tree. Kerosene-soaked wood was stacked around his feet and he was drenched with oil. As they torched him, burning him alive, viewers from the crowd stabbed him many times. But the lynchers were not through.

Do We Twist History in the Wind or Should We Teach the Truth?

After Sam’s body had cooled down, members of the crowd removed his heart and liver, cut them into pieces, and distributed the souvenirs to the crowd. Even Sam’s knuckles were cut off and displayed in an Atlanta grocery store.

Atlanta’s top newspaper at the time summed up the lynching of Sam Hose this way: “The people of Georgia are orderly and conservative, the descendants of ancestors who have been trained in America for 150 years. They are a people intensely religious, home-loving, and just. There is among them no foreign or lawless element.” And on a tree near to the one where Sam was burned and butchered, a sign was nailed: “We Must Protect Our Southern Women.”

The big question is: Do we twist history, forget history, or do we teach the truth about history? Many state legislatures in Trumplican hands have dragged a red herring across the path of Critical Race Theory, so truth is twisted and forgotten within red states. The herring is actually the size of a blue whale, the largest “fish” in the world.

As an educator in K-12 schools for 36 years, I can tell you there is no elementary, no middle school, no high school in the Divided States of America using CRT. One Texas legislator who supports anti-CRT legislation says: “We don’t want our students to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”

When you see slaves chained to oars in Roman warships increasing their desperate pulling to a faster drumbeat, do you feel the whip when one slows down? Discomfort? Empathy/ Guilt? Glee? What do you feel when Thomas Jefferson writes “all men are created equal” and then goes home and rapes his sex slave Sally Hemings, one of 600 “unequal” slaves he owned in his lifetime? Disgust? Anguish? Horror? Embarrassment? It’s history.

Of course, if you never heard about this history, then you are not forced to feel anything.

There is no doubt that a huge number of Christians have imploded because of Trumpism and beliefs about abortion, homosexuality, making a political PAC out of the Supreme Court, and that the United States should be a “Christian” country.

But the Christian tradition, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, with its understanding of depravity and original sin, should be the first religion to admit and explore the evil in America’s past. How can Christians say they are following the truth of God and the Bible and then support and pass laws banning Critical Race Theory in an attempt to completely whitewash the history of the country?

What Is a Living For?

Every day we hear the corporate-owned TV networks and newspapers owned by corporations and hedge funds proclaim the economy is growing, the stock market is bullish, and the profits are flowing into shareholders' pockets. Why, Elon Musk just made $38 billion in one day! Do we live to work or work to live?

Back in 1936, at the Democratic National Convention, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a wealthy patrician, made a remarkable statement for his class rank: “Liberty requires opportunity to make a living -- a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.”

After his landslide victory, FDR and Congress enshrined the right of workers to bargain collectively, forced strict rules, regulations, and regulators on the financial industry that brought us The Great Depression, and created Social Security for the elderly and the disabled. Thus the modern American middle class after World War II was developed and flourished until Ronald Reagan eliminated unions, collective bargaining, and cut taxes to the point where opportunities for the poor and middle class are limited.

Over the last half century the public institutions have decayed while the economic power has become concentrated in fewer and fewer powerbrokers. Every night we can count 600,000 homeless. While the lights in casinos are blazing, Las Vegas street workers are painting rectangles on asphalt parking lots to remind the homeless to sleep six feet apart during a pandemic. What a wonderful country it is to be so thoughtful to attempt to contain the virus and keep the homeless safe as they snooze on asphalt!

New York: From Billionaire Rows to Medieval Prisons and Ghettos

In the financial capital of the world, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of the rich and infamous and stock market results and records, publishes a 12-page section called “Mansion” each weekend. It covers the sales of $20 million to $200 million mansions and sky apartments in New York with billionaires bidding over very expensive land and air space, particularly near and around Central Park. The section also covers the mansion-buying scene in other major cities of the Divided States of America, particularly Miami and Los Angeles. Beach property can go for $1 million a front foot.

But let’s go back to New York City and look at flyover ghettos and boroughs in other parts of the city. The rich fly in helicopters to their beachfront weekend properties in the Hamptons. They don’t bother to look down or even think about the New York City jail system that was designed to keep the rich safe from the poor. Let’s take a look at Riker’s Island, the largest jail system with about 12,000 prisoners, where 14 prisoners have died since December of 2020, six by suicide.

Toilets are overflowing, walls and ceilings covered with black mold. The system is so short of “correction” officers, many jail areas for the whole day and night are without any supervision. Some officers work double or even triple shifts! Prisoners go without medical services, court dates, showers, family visits, and religious services. Almost 1,800 prisoners have been waiting for trials for over a year, and over 700 have been waiting for two years. Many prisoners have weapons fashioned from building parts and fixtures. There is not enough staff to search and confiscate weapons. Ninety percent of the prisoners at Rikers are pretrial because they have no money for bail. Most of this information comes from Jonathan Lipman, a former chief judge who wrote “A Test of What Society Considers Morally Unacceptable” for the New York Times.

Is Society Recovering From the Virus and the Economy? No!

While we have a rich man building expensive electric cars and rockets to go to Mars, another preparing to sell space on a rocket for $500,000 to millionaires and billionaires to experience a few minutes of weightlessness, another rich man is buying another mansion on a Hawaiian island for $78 million and building two yachts for more than $700 million so his new wife can land a helicopter on one, we have one of the highest rates of childhood poverty among the 200 nations of the world. By doing nothing about poverty in the Divided States, billionaires are displaying weightless brains.

While the rich are enjoying their New York, Miami, and LA mansions, private jets, and superyachts, their neighbors are suffering the following:

1. More than 800,000 people are on waiting lists to receive professional home-based care through Medicaid. Remember, the Supreme Court decided states should have the right to reject Medicaid programs. Twelve Trumplican states with over 2.2 million people eligible for Medicaid have refused to cover those costs. In the original law, states had to accept it. The Supreme Court vetoed that part. Because so many eligible have spent down their assets-or never had enough to begin with were qualified for the program, it would now take $400 billion to remove all from the waiting lists to cover those who care for the disabled and elderly. More than 40 million Americans presently provide unpaid care to elderly relatives. Many do not work so they can provide care. Children who care for relatives lose an average $300,000 over their lifetime in wages and retirement benefits.

2. Most elderly cannot afford supplemental health insurance to cover all the costs of maintaining their health. Medicare does not cover the expenses of hearing, vision, and dental. President Joe Manchin, on TV every hour before he goes to his yacht on the Potomac, is opposed to adding these benefits to Medicare through the Build Back Better bill.

3. Does it make any sense that the richest country in the world, ruled by millionaires and billionaires, has more than 600,000 homeless veterans, adults, and parents, and children sleeping in the filth and cold of the streets, coast-to-coast? My goodness, what would Jesus do about it? Have another conference?

4. Hedge-fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin, who has other mansions, paid $238 million for a New York apartment overlooking grand old Central Park in 2020. He plans to stay there whenever he visits New York. Meanwhile, 10.9 million American families spend more than half their income for a roof while scrimping on food, health care, and other needs.

5. Dallas billionaire Harlan Crow has a mansion with a 77-car underground garage. I wonder if anyone has ever asked him why.

6. There are at least two differences between the top 20% of Americans and the bottom 20%. The rich have more money and live an average of 13 years longer.

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