Ramón Del Castillo, PhD
It’s been a half-century since Americans have engaged in collective nonviolent struggle in American society. Smatterings of issue related movements magically appear and disappear without any apparent impact while benevolent capitalists continue to dole out funds for worthy causes, with intended consequences of appeasing guilty consciences. But none of the movements have resolved one of the greatest tragedies of all—racism. One would think that with all of the technological innovation that has taken place that some genius would have created a computer program to resolve this age-old problem. Racism still holds the grand prize for destroying the will of human beings, forcing them to hate each other—seemingly growing in magnitude and intensity. What is the genesis of this inherited malady? What is its antidote or is it an unresolvable dilemma? Perhaps, it serves a purpose for the powerful in society intent on measuring success based on white supremacy, with another intended consequence of “dividing and conquering.”
One of those ghosts that refuses to depart from América’s social conscience is Martin Luther King. During his lifetime, he not only criticized the oppressor, he also criticized the oppressed whose leaders refused to speak out on the real issues of the day.
If there is any truth that modeling leadership from the top permeates throughout society, its logical corollary is that the lack of adequate leadership from the top of the helm causes social dysfunctionality. Those who sit at the top can use their leadership for the common good but can also revert to using it to for common evil. At this time in American history, the leader sitting at the top of the social pyramid has chosen the latter. President Donald Trump’s continued racist behavior has saturated the entire society. He has given implicit permission for citizens to be racist—without cause and impunity. What has occurred is that he has lost trust with those that he is supposed to lead. His ill-conceived remarks on Saturday, January 19th that ostensibly was designed to open the government and resolve the border wall issue was not quite enough to win any minds or hearts. In fact, most political commentators believe he has lost even more ground, if that is possible, especially as he wanted to use human flesh as a tradeoff.
Trump claims that he has the ultimate authority via constitutional powers to officially call the border issue a humanitarian crisis in order to protect Americans from the evil of immigrants crossing the US Border. If this is true; then, Americans have ultimate authority to engage in non-violent social revolution geared towards reconstructing a government that has lost its way. Americans are guaranteed this in the Constitution of the United States of América:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
What seems to be evident is that Trump has not read nor does he understand how to implement the US Constitution. He has no inkling of how to use the authority that has been bestowed upon him. His autocratic decisions, his abuse of power, and his dictatorial behavior warrant immediate intervention. Democrats are deathly afraid to use their power to intervene and demand impeachment. They rationalize it under the notion that impeachment is nothing but a political process and a hasty decision would cause more governmental ineptness as if this is even possible. Congress is lollygagging—it does not have the collective will to call for an impeachment? There is no other alternative except to revolt, with or without the permission of Congress.
The spiritual energy has summoned the ghosts of América’s 1960’s social revolution—now coming to life—calling action from the masses of the people. During the 50 year lull period from the 1960’s to the present groups suffering from other isms have evolved into progressive social movements. The words preached by the revolutionaries of the 1960’s have transformed into a contemporary cacophonous melody that needs to come together to create a ground breaking tune. What is missing are the band leaders—as musicians tap their feet in unison, waiting for a band leader to emerge. One such leader did exercise his agency in an attempt to quell a potentially disruptive situation at the march called in Washington D.C. this last weekend. He was a Native American Viet Nam Veteran who traveled to our Nation’s Capital, using his agency to call upon our ancestors to come down and provide spiritual energy from what could have been a riot. However, he was smirked at. The good Catholic boy from Kentucky who disrespected this elder may end up on the wrong side of history—progressive historians should tell the rest of the story.
One of those ghosts that refuses to depart from América’s social conscience is Martin Luther King. During his lifetime, he not only criticized the oppressor, he also criticized the oppressed whose leaders refused to speak out on the real issues of the day—including anti-war sentiment, which at the time was against the War in Viet Nam. King’s prophecies are with us today. I believe he would challenge leaders that need to develop the courage to do what is right. His fiery speeches aimed at the tripartite enemies of militarism, extreme materialism and racism have never been addressed. His philosophical move from viewing racism as the catalyst of the many wrongs in society to criticizing capitalism may have contributed to his assassination.
King and other movement leaders such as César Chávez and Dolores Huerta always challenged the oppressed to engage in nonviolent protest, campaigning for groups to join forces. What transpired between then and now has been the appearance of the ghosts of other oppressed groups that had historically festered underground. They decided to crawl out of closets and demand social justice. Women have taken to the streets accompanied by the masses of people who have suffered from homophobia and heterosexism. Other independent movements, although they have attempted to form coalitions, have not been efficacious in their attempts, at times blinded by narcissism, similar to what our contemporary leader suffer from. Movement leaders with an expressed intention of creating coalitions should not fall prey to what can be selfish impulses feeding one’s ego.
Listen to the voices of the ghosts!
Dr. Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist. ©1-21-2019 Ramón Del Castillo.
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