Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wendell Griffen: "Chickens of Racism, Materialism and Militarism Have Come Home to Roost in the Convergence of Trump’s Presidency and the COVID-19 Pandemic"

 I'd like to point readers to a valuable essay my friend Wendell Griffen published two days ago in Baptist News Global. It's entitled "Our national curse: the cruel convergence of Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic." Wendell does an impressive job of connecting the dots to show that "the chickens of racism, materialism and militarism have come home to roost in the convergence of Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic." He writes:

The dangers that Martin Luther King Jr. warned about in a speech in April 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City – racism, materialism and militarism – have been deliberately, actively and openly cultivated in "evangelical" religious congregations for the past half century.  
Trump embodies those evils. His policies are actively enabled by racist, materialistic and militaristic allies in all three branches of the federal government thanks in large measure to Senator Mitch McConnell’s success in staffing the federal courts with judges who will acquiesce to Trump’s hateful policies. 
In a tragic sense, the chickens of racism, materialism and militarism have come home to roost in the convergence of Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic. 
With one exception, Trump resembles former President Richard Nixon. Although Nixon (like Trump) was a vicious sociopath, he was not an idiot. Nixon also didn’t have Fox News to use to spew racist propaganda and a lapdog Congress to enact, and a federal judiciary to judicially uphold, his worst policies. 
Roosting chickens eventually hatch their eggs. Since Nixon, free market fundamentalists, white nationalist religious conservatives and proponents of what President Dwight Eisenhower famously called "the military industrial complex" have elected politicians who proudly questioned the need to protect public health, who cut vital social services (including access to health care, nutrition assistance, housing and public education) for people who are needy, and who questioned the need to protect people from bigotry and discrimination. 
Nixon was elected twice after King warned that a nation which spends more every year on war making than on programs of social uplift does so at a peril that King called "a tragic death wish." We are now seeing that "tragic death wish" play out in homes, neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. and the wider world. 
Trump’s presidency demonstrates the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the free market fundamentalism, white nationalist religious conservatism, white supremacy and patriarchy associated with the religion of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham; the xenophobia and racism of Pat Buchanan; and the crass materialism of the misnamed "prosperity gospel." No other national leader in U.S. history has been so vicious, so incompetent, so foolish and so dangerous to democracy, decency and stability.

I hope this excerpt from a lengthier statement that is powerfully important will encourage you to click and read the whole essay. 

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