New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

Trump Has Trumped the “Wait and See Crowd”

Posted in notes by Imam Zaid Shakir on 2017-03-17 Thumb

There are some well-meaning folks who thought Donald J. Trump would be an “America First” isolationist president, despite his sabre rattling during the primaries and his promise to build up the military. When he staffed his cabinet with generals, wall street riff raff, and white nationalists many of those people said, “give him a chance, the democrats are just as bad, if not worse.”

When he issued executive orders threatening to usher in his unconstitutional “Muslim ban,” declaring war of the environment, and then began the summary deportation of Latinos including DACA “Dreamers” and military vets who had been promised citizenship for their service there are those said he is only fulfilling campaign promises he made to his base, things will balance out soon.

Now we have his proposed budget that is an obscene plan which promises the consolidation of his corporatist, militarist war on poor nations, poor people and the environment. The proposed budget slashes funding for the EPA by almost a third while cutting funding of the State Department by almost a quarter. The cuts from the State Department disproportionately affect programs related to America’s recent commitments to be a leader in addressing the issue of climate change, hence, among the State Department programs to be eliminated are the Global Climate Initiative and the Global Climate Fund.

Money for cleaning up Super Fund sites, i.e. toxic dumps and other ecological disasters created by corporate and military recklessness is in Trump’s cross hairs; programs giving Native Americans assistance in recovering from the ecological ravages visited upon their reservations, such as poisonous mining and fracking residue leeching into the rivers, streams and aquifers on their reservations is targeted. Unregulated drilling and spilling is the new order of the day for Native Lands, National Forests and our nation’s waterways.

Prospects for the poor are even bleaker. Programs providing legal assistance for the poorest people in the country, affordable housing programs, job training programs, energy assistance programs, Habitat for Humanity, community and neighborhood development programs and a bevy of other programs, which have provided immense relief for the poor over the last several decades, all face the axe in the proposed Trump budget.

One of the great ironies of the impending situation is that those most severely affected will be Trump’s “ill-educated, adorable deplorables” the rural poor who form such an important part of his base.

What is to be done?

1) Fill coming Congressional town hall meetings and let the Republican politicians know that we are not going to take these atrocities sitting without fighting back.

2) Hold the feckless democratic party and its leaders to the fire. If they continue to play the same games that lost them the White House in the first place then remind the likes of Ben Jealous, Richard Reich, Michael Eric Dyson and others who promised that after supporting Hillary out of tactical necessity in 2016, it is time to push for the creation of the third party they promised for 2020. If the Democrats don’t straighten up, fly right and show real vision and leadership at this time, Trump and his corporatist, militarist and nationalist allies will accomplish their objectives, unless an alternative political movement that speaks to the interest of the people and not its corporate backers rises up to challenge him on his own turf.

3) Harness the potential of the Great People’s Climate March and translate it into a political program that advocates for constructive policies with the same vigor it displayed during one day of demonstrating. Mega issues such as addressing the ravages of climate change are the incubators of the kind of unity that will necessary to effectively challenge the junta in Washington, DC.

4) Begin moving beyond demonstrations against Trump, towards organizing for the people. One starting point has to be beginning work now to thwart what will be one of the greatest voter suppression efforts in the history of this republic between now and the 2018 midterm elections.

5) Don’t underestimate Trump and his team. Despite their bumbling missteps, their mendacity and Trump’s seemingly self-destructive personal proclivities, prominently displays in many of his tweets, they are formidable people who command tremendous wealth, influence and media resources. Also, a large, if shrinking swath of the population believes that they speak for them and are addressing their issues and concerns. The struggle to mitigate and in the end eliminate their harm will be an immense one.

6) Continue to love, continue to live, continue to share, continue to care, continue to hope and commit yourself to peace. People fight wars not governments and if we all lay down our swords and shields and refuse to study war any longer, governments will be paralyzed in terms of their war-making abilities.

May God bless us to come together as a people to arrest the harm which is the inevitable outcome of greed, hatred and bigotry. If we haven’t seen enough by now from Trump we never will.


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