‘THE SHUTDOWN: IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE MONEY’
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag and bare what was put therein.”
This government shut down while ostensibly about money is really about so much more. It is about political philosophies, it is about the class structure that exists in this country, it is about who has and who does not have and about who is welcome here and who is not.
It is also about the deep and undeniable divisions in America that are so pervasive in every element of American society, most especially in government. The difference in who many of those in Congress see as citizens and what those citizens are entitled to is demarcation beyond description. There is a kindergarten mentality of thinking in colors when they think of people prevalent in this Congress that borders on the insane.
That is not to say racial division in this country has never been deep or angry before. The Civil War and the years of the Civil Rights Movement show us the truth of that statement. But America has never had, at least in the modern era, a President who encourages racial division and does all he can to ignite resentment between those who are of one color and those who are not. It is as if he wants another Civil War.
Compounding this deliberate schism are those in the Republican party along with those who voted for this President, including people of color, who insist the President is not racist and nor are his policies. I find that kind of thinking contemptuous in its application and ignorant in its concept. Their thinking seems to be that as long as he doesn’t burn a cross on the lawn of the White House, he’s not racist. I keep repeating this refrain because the role this defense is playing in the spreading acceptance of bigotry continues to grow.
How can a country built on the backs of slaves and immigrants decide it is now limiting those who are allowed to immigrate to people of one skin color? How can those who are leaders of this government pretend this is not racist thinking but economic reasoning? It cannot be economic reasoning because we all know none of those people in Congress or any of their family members are going to pick potatoes or strawberries or oranges; none of them are going to wash sheets or bus tables and mop floors like so many of the immigrants do. Not one of them or most other Americans. Which means two things: one is the economy suffers dramatically and two is they will have to bring back the same people they now want to deport.
Let’s be clear – we have to take the President and his followers and their drive to make America homogenous in color as serious as we can. We have to register and vote, we have to become candidates on the local level, the state level and the national level. We have to stop sitting around and talking about doing something and instead do something that’s productive. There is no creation without motion and we need to move from sitting to standing and from standing to moving.
There will be those of course who believe all I’ve written is hyperbole and extreme, that none of these fears will materialize into any kind of direct action that will be successful. Which is the same thing they said when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President.
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes expressed it best: time to wake up everybody.