Last week, we had friend of the show, Maya Shaffer, writer for Critical Mass news, came on the show to talk about transparency in media and the OT scandal in Massachusetts. Finally the show is available online to listen. Enjoy a great show.
action, blogging, decency, Donald Trump, ethics, humanity, immigrants, law, morality, oppression, politics, presidency, question, race relations, racism, reasoning, reflections, struggle, treason, white sumpremacy
I wrote about this last August, coon after the Charlottesville rally and the death of Heather Heyer, but it never seemed to catch on. Now with the government about to be shut down due, in part, to the showdown over the status of immigrants covered by the DACA act that “president” Trump rescinded and his “shithole” comments about countries that send us non-Norwegian immigrants, it’s time to revisit this topic.
The Robert Muller investigation is gaining momentum and witnesses as we reach the new year, but the investigation is a far from completed, and what many hope will lead to Trump’s impeachment is actually a long process that we are hardly in the beginning stages. Still people are so sick of this “president” even after only one year that they want him out fast. Yet when faced with a golden opportunity as the “president’s” shithole comment, the Congress is moving to censure him. Instead, Trump can be removed very quickly right now on grounds of treason, and his comments serve as evidence.
The legal definition of treason according to US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 115, Section 2381 is “whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason.” (emphasis mine) As such those guilty of treason, among punishments like death, “shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” The neo-Nazis, KKK, and alt-right are hate groups whose presence and numbers pose a dangerous threat to our democracy and Constitution that upholds it. The purpose of the Constitution is to “ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare..” among other things. While the Constitution was created by white male land and slave owners for said white male land and slave owners, the Constitution has been amended to include women, people of color, disabled, the poor, the young, and working class people among others. Neo-Nazi’s purpose is to bring the original intent of the Constitution back through “purging” the land of people of color, and other undesirables. This purge—threaten, murder, attack, etc.–is against the laws of the land as they stand and to the Constitution they claim to adhere to, and makes them enemies of the nation. This “president,” as all presidents before him, have taken an oath to uphold the laws of the Constitution. By not denouncing the alt-right Nazis and hate groups, by not helping Puerto Rico (American citizens) in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and with referring to brown skinned immigrants as coming from shithole countries–“President” Drumpf given comfort and aid to an enemy within the United States. Statements by alt-right figures as David Duke and Infowars supporting Trump after those remarks—and anything that puts down brown and black people—proves that these groups are not only comforted but emboldened by the “President’s” words and actions. And when Trump’s racism starts to become and/or affect American policy, he is now undermining the democracy we have and the Constitution that protects it. Trump has therefore met the criteria for treason and can (and should) be removed from office. And we need no special investigator to do this.
Sending him up for treason would be a healing move for this nation. It would show to Black and Brown Americans that we as a nation are serious about doing something about white supremacy and institutionalized racism. It would heal damage already done by Trump in the name of ignorance and racism. And while it is not a panacea for race relations and racism in itself, it will be a giant step to show the country is serious about tackling the issue.
James Baldwin said “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it has ben faced.” We have been faced with Trump’s racism every day for a year, and now is the time to face it head on, not with censure, not with reprimands, not with speeches and countermarches, but with justice swift and sure and is expressed in our Constitution. Our democracy demands it and so should we.
I’m happy to announce that the “Theology in Action” online radio show will return to the interwebs with new shows on Sunday December 3 at it’s new time, 8am EST. Having been on hiatus since June, I will return to my hosting duties for the long running show on Activate Media Radio. We will continue the conversation about spirituality, social justice and the intersection between the two on a weekly basis. We tackle topics from the headlines, questions about and abounding in these turbulent times, and commentary on living in the world today. Interviews and round table discussions will be par for the course for us, but we hope to have real conversations about what we are doing and how we go about our lives in the best way possible and leaving it better for future generations. Please join us every Sunday morning at 8am for insights and discussions on Activatemedia.org. Hope to see you on Dec. 3!
After the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, “President” Trump planted himself in a very precarious position. When he spoke about the events to the press right after the death of Heather Heyer and the injury to 19 others, he said “we condemn in the strongest possible terms, the egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence—on many sides. On many sides.” This implies that leftist anti-Nazi protesters were just as violent and hate filled as the neo-Nazi alt-right provocateurs. In fact, a statement on the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi blog, said Trump “didn’t attack us… nothing specific against us… [H]e implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no countersignalling at all.” I’m loathe to agree with neo-Nazis but they are right: his ambiguous denouncement of the neo-Nazis responsible for terror, injury, and death helped to shield their alt-right fascist activities. After backlash and controversy, “President” Trump eventually gave a second statement where he said “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” However he undermined that the next day at a press conference where he defended his initial remarks and continued to claim violence on both sides. If you only have one chance to make a first impression, Trump screwed up royally. Then given a Mulligan, he recovers but fails again. However this isn’t about Trump’s flip-flopping; this is about treason.
The legal definition of treason according to US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 115, Section 2381 is “whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason.” As such those guilty of treason, among punishments like death, “shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” The neo-Nazis, KKK, and alt-right are hate groups whose presence and numbers pose a dangerous threat to our democracy and Constitution that upholds it. The purpose of the Constitution is to “ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare..” among other things. While the Constitution was created by white male land and slave owners for said white male land and slave owners, the Constitution has been amended to include women, people of color, disabled, the poor, the young, and working class people among others. Neo-Nazi’s purpose is to bring the original intent of the Constitution back through “purging” the land of people of color, and other undesirables. This purge–threaten, murder, attack, etc.–is against the laws of the land as they stand and to the Constitution they claim to adhere to, and makes them enemies of the nation. By not denouncing the alt-right Nazis from the start by name–and reaffirming his allegiance to them by recanting his harsher second statement–“President” Trump given comfort and aid to an enemy within the United States. Nine more neo-Nazi rallies have been scheduled this weekend, proving that they are not only comforted but emboldened by the “President’s” words and actions. Trump has therefore met the criteria for treason and can (and should) be removed from office as per the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.
Words have consequences, which is one reason the neo-Nazis are an enemy to this country. As such, the “President’s” words should have the consequence of his removal from office, especially since his words has helped this enemy of us all.
I have an important question to ask any lawyers or Constitutional scholars out there: can the president be removed from office for inciting police brutality?
On Thursday, “President” Trump spoke to law enforcement officers at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island in what was touted as a “law and order” speech. Among the problematic things he said was encouraging police to hurt prisoners.
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said, “Please don’t be too nice.” Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put the hand over? Like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. I said, “You can take the hand away, OK?”
The immediate response to that from police in the audience was applause; the response from Police Chiefs was much the opposite. Groups like the International Association of Chiefs of Pollice to the poliece chiefs of Boston, Houston, New Orleans, and New York have criticized the “president” for encouraging police brutality. The Chiefs of Police needed to speak up because as head law enforcement officers, they are required to follow the law—as opposed to Trump who hasn’t seen a law that he hasn’t broken in some way. This is not the first time Trump has spoken to incite violence, especially during the primaries, but this has gone too far.
Our country is going through an epidemic of police shootings, especially of unarmed Black and Latino people. The Blue Wall of Silence that is inherent in police departments and the abuse stemming from overzealous police does not help, but put that aside for a second; having the leader of our country not only advocate but encourage a practice in our police that we are trying to stop is problematic to say the least. This is an ethics violation if there ever was one. He is encouraging police to violate an arrestee’s civil and constitutional rights. One retired police detective called Trumps remarks as “treasonous.” If “President” Trump is actively inciting violence against people, he is working against the Constitution, thus violating the oath of office he took. So isn’t this grounds to justify his removal from office? Please correct me if I’m wrong. But if I’m not, please let us know what we or Congress needs to do to get him out of there.
I’m a Bernie supporter, I’ve always been blatantly obvious about that on my show, my tweets, my blogs, my Facebook posts. I am however transitioning over to the Jill Stein camp as Bernie’s official run for the Democratic nomination seems to be winding down and Stein remains the best options for me and other progressives. However as the two major parties present their nominees, the battle for votes is heating up. The lines are drawn more narrow, the arguments are pitched higher, and the anger is even more palpable. And with it some dangerous arguments are being made.
An article circulating on Facebook and other interwebs by Olivia Goodwill is about the ethics of voting. In a nutshell, ethics professors point to the utilitarian purpose of voting–voting to produce a particular outcome–over the deontological approach to voting–voting your values and worldview as reflected in a particular candidate–as the way to approach the 2016 US election. The idea is that to vote with your heart and conscience without considering the downside of that outcome is immoral. While I do agree with some of the article in principle, how people are using this article is immoral.
Numerous Clinton supporters are using this article as well as the Dan Savage rant against third-party candidates (Specifically Jill Stein) as arguments against voting for anyone other than Hillary. It’s basically another way to break up those that want to write in Bernie Sanders or vote Jill Stein in November. It’s the same “a vote for anyone other than Hillary is a vote for Trump” argument while using these articles as a bludgeon. In other words, you’ve heard of “slut-shaming” and “fat-shaming’; welcome to vote-shaming. That you should be ashamed to vote for anyone other than Clinton or any third-party candidate. Like slut and fat shaming, I reject that notion wholeheartedly.
Firstly, the assumption becomes that people are “blindly” following Bernie Sanders. While I admit there are more than a few Berners that scare me more than a little, the majority of Bernie supporters I know are lifelong Democrats or progressives that are staunch believers in his message and his policy ideas, They are people of courage and integrity that have come to their conclusions through thought and experience. Many of them are switching to Jill Stein because she is the next best option where Bernie leaves off–also come to through thought and research. They also are voting a political outcome, but it is a different outcome from that of Hillary supporters.
This leads to the second point: while many Bernie supporters won’t back Clinton, they are trying to elect more progressives to office. This election gives them the best chance to take back both houses of Congress. Berners are trying to keep track of those running on a progressive platform (especially those endorsed by Bernie or who endorsed him during the primaries) and contribute to them and vote for them. Getting a firm Democratic hold in Congress can keep a majority of Trump’s platform down if he wins (it’s STILL a constitutional democracy we live in with all the checks and balances in place) and push for more progressive concessions if Clinton wins (she doesn’t want to go more left than she has in the primaries and has said as much). Sanders supporters have been helpful for down ticket ballots where Clinton seems to falter, and they have registered all the new Democratic voters thus far in the primary season (which the DNC didn’t do because new voters broke 2 to 1 towards Bernie). The outcome here would be to push the political spectrum back to the left from how Bill Clinton moved the parties more to the right. So the Bernie supporters voting against the interests of others or without an eye towards outcomes is wrong.
Lastly, however genteel the language, reasoned the argument, or good the intent, trying to shame people into voting for your candidate is in itself immoral. Voting is almost our only way to have a voice in how our country is run. Ultimately how you vote is a matter of conscience and personal political beliefs, and no one has the right to tell you how to think or believe. Anyone who has to have people shame others into voting for them isn’t worth your vote, even if they say it’s supposed to be for the greater good. It’s the same as bullying, using different forms of emotional manipulation and that is as reprehensible as it is immoral.
I may be passionate in my beliefs, but if my persuasion doesn’t work, I can’t force you to you change your mind. You have as much right to your own beliefs and votes as do I, but we haven’t gotten to the point of respecting this anymore. IF people need to change your mind in order to justify their own voice, their point of view has to be highly suspect. If people need to be shamed into voting for a candidate, that candidate is not worth voting for.