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Taking The Trash Into Account - Chris "Preach" Smith

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“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised
when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them,

- James Baldwin


It's the fourteenth day of 2018. And the President of The United
States has openly re-affirmed that he is indeed, an unabashed 
racist. This is due in part to the publication by the Washington Post
of remarks he made to four sitting senators regarding Haiti in a 
discussion concerning immigration reform. Trump went on to then
ask why should we be concerned about those from "shithole" countries
and why the U.S. can't seek out expats from countries like Norway.
Dick Durbin, the Senator from Illinois went on to confirm the reports
hours later. Lindsey Graham offered a tepid comment that danced
around the issue. The other two senators flatly stated that "they
didn't recall" the euphemism being used.

It seems to be an almost hourly basis where The Crass Ass In Chief
is tied to or the direct cause of some form of disgrace that chips 
away at the very foundations that America has built herself on. This
situation didn't surprise me a bit. I've grown up always regarding 
Trump as a racist - I grew up in New York City seeing his ascent and
how media then treated the racism as "just being colorful". Calling 
Haiti and the entirety of the African continent (once again reinforcing
his stupidity by lumping all of those nations into one country) what
he did is something he probably does at least once a day. It's part of
why he got elected. It isn't a new thing to those who knew and know
better. Racism in the Oval Office also isn't a new thing, from George 
Washington to Andrew Jackson to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan.
What has people shocked is that the prism of coded political language,
has now been shattered into pieces. And the timing of it was particularly
cruel. He made these comments the day before Haiti marked a painful
anniversary of the devastating earthquake that ravaged the country back
in 2010. He was in the midst of working on a speech to commemorate 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A speech that went on the following day as 
he was surrounded by Ben Carson and other assorted Black hangers-on,
most notably the preacher Darrell Scott. Someone who looks more like
a failed 112 cover band singer than anyone of substance who made the
attempt to silence April D. Ryan, the veteran White House Correspondent
when she directly asked Trump if he was a racist.

I am not going to go into a mode of defending the esteemed nation of 
Haiti or any of the nations of the African Union that this man has offended
with their comments, because their legacy has and will stand forth longer
than this orange strain of verbal diarrhea that currently sits in the Oval 
Office for the moment. Their dignity should not be exalted only as a default
to callous racism but all the time. 

But on this weekend, a weekend that is designated to celebrate the life and
legacy of one of this nation's greatest people - a man who I sometimes ask
if this country even deserved at times - something like this should highlight
exactly why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many other men and women spoke
out, resisted and gave their lives for. To eradicate such thinking, to live up to
the ideals of a nation and of humanity on a whole. Fifty years after Dr. King 
was gunned down on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee we are still dealing
with the internal wounds that the unique cancer of American racism. The shit that
still dangles from various parts of this society. Dr. King died while lending his
voice to those participating in a sanitation strike in Memphis, men whose job
it is to dispose of trash. And yet, the trash that racism and bigotry in all of its
forms is - still lingers and is on a resurgent wave thanks in part to Trump and
those behind him. Because he is just the figurehead. There's a lot of people 
out there who in some form or fashion espouse what he said. People who at 
times hide behind pictures of animals or go to lengths to create fake profiles
on websites to hurl verbal filth at others online. And those who don't. 

There are a lot of people who will use this weekend to issue quotations from 
MLK because they believe in what he stood for. But there are also a great deal
of people - white people - who will not deign to look at MLK's entire philosophy
because he spoke plainly to white moderates who wouldn't truly confront their
burden of acknowledging and dismantling white supremacy. (This also applies
to the scant margin of people of color who search for cookies from this system
too, by the way. Looking at you "Pastor" Mark Burns.) This weekend cannot and
should not only be a "kumbaya" moment to feel better. It should be a weekend
to honor what one person sacrificed, and to move towards recognizing that the 
fight isn't over. We have an overt racist in the White House, who is supported by
a political party who shares some if not all of his ideals no matter how many 
statements they issue. All you have to do is look at how they voted this past year
to confirm this. And they in turn still have a base of citizens who will cheer such
ugliness on - until they realize it cannot distract from their healthcare being taken
away along with their jobs. 45 using the word "shithole" isn't the issue. The racism
that is being reinserted into goverment policy, the racism that is prevalent in the
abject neglect of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, is. The racism that lifted 
Donald Trump into this position both here and in other parts of the world that 
subscribe to white nationalism, is. We're only in the second year of this administration.
It has the potential to be worse, but it can be beaten back as long as we move 
past the knee-jerk outrage and use that to better combat the policies and those 
lackeys trying to carry them out. 

The thing about shit is, only the ones who revel and wallow in it are the ones 
who will find it harder to remove from their flesh and their character. All 45 did
was reveal how permanent that stench will be.

It's on the rest of us who refuse to be tainted by that filth to work towards 
keeping it out of our hearts and our spirits any way we can. That's what Dr. King
did. That's what some other people who wallow in it need to learn.

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