Don’t Watch it From the Shadows, Colltalers
The Democratic Convention brought comfort and hope to part but not all of the party’s constituency. But the Republican one, held while protests raged against police brutality and white supremacists killed three (white) people in the ‘inner-city chaos‘ they see, was everything supporters wished it to be.
Meanwhile, the U.S. still tops the world with six million Covid-19 cases and near 190,000 deaths, California wildfires are burning an area larger than Delaware, and about 20 million Americans are unemployed. To the GOP, though, these are not a priority; only the consecration of Donald Trump is.
We’ll go back to the Democrats’ half-delivered message and to the Republican lying feast, but first, let’s ask once again, why almost as many have rallied in big cities against the use of masks as those denouncing the killing of Blacks and people of color? While the latter rebel against an unjust system that perpetuates itself, the former is an absurd, spoilt demand that could be called ‘Save the Virus,’ for it’s the only one to gain from it.
There’s no global vaccine – and mercifully, no anti-vaxxer to deal with – yet and despite the extraordinary efforts by some nations other than the U.S., the virus is alive and kicking. That’s why many doubt the sincerity of such rallies as they don’t make any sense given rising casualties and seem rather childish on their complaint about social restrictions. So, when do people fight against their own interests? When someone paid them for it, that’s when.
There’s no cynicism or intended irony though after China ordered the arrest last week of Lam Cheuk-ting, a Hong Kong lawmaker. He’s charged with publicizing on social media a 2019 subway attack on activists returning from a pro-Democracy rally by an unidentified group wearing white T-shirts and armed with clubs. Along
with denying visas to foreign journalists, the arrest is another nail on the coffin of the once-proud island’s freedom hopes.
When Pakistani-American Tahir Ahmad Naseem was arrested last year, many fear the severity of Blasphemy Laws which could send him to life in prison for his ‘crime’ of expressing an opinion. But few expected him to be shot and killed inside the courtroom and even fewer see the teenager who murdered him out of religious hate to be ever convicted of the killing. Instead, people paraded with his picture and lawyers are lining up to defend him.
Amnesty International has been keeping track of blasphemy laws that ‘violate rights to freedom of religion‘ and of opinion and expression. ‘They have been used to target some of the most marginalized people in society‘: children, the mentally disabled, religious minorities, and, surely, poor people.
And for those who haven’t yet connected the dots of floods and wildfires, Cat. 4 and 5 hurricanes, plus the 100° temperatures in Siberia this summer, not to worry: the president plans to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of most pristine regions on Earth, even as global oil consumption is actually declining. Environmental groups are challenging the administration but their biggest shot to succeed will be a new president.
The Democratic convention did deliver on a few important goals, presenting detailed plans on how to accomplish them. What to do about the virus, the economy, new jobs, a new dignity for the White House, and a nation healed and united to face the future. All to end before bedtime for the aging but still influential part of its target crowd. For even with so many common people having a moment on camera, it may still have bored the young to death.
There were many fresh voices, people truly engaged in saving Democracy in this country, others fully committed to community building and social justice. But there was much to be missed. Julián Castro, for instance, sole Latino presidential candidate and a member of President Obama’s cabinet, was not invited, but anti-abortion GOP’s Dennis Kucinich spoke at will. Many legendary Black leaders and poor people activists were also missing.
To have an idea, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, arguably the most visible voice of the progressive caucus within the party, spoke for less than two minutes, at the invitation of Senator Bernie Sanders. Nevertheless, several days after the convention she was still battling hate conservatives and far-right trolls in social media. She holds the crucial support of the youth vote and yet she was not allowed to have a slot. It reminds us of the 2016 convention.
Then too, a respected but not universally liked candidate had the best shot for a woman to break the glass ceiling and win in a landslide. That’s when filmmaker Michael Moore went to Bill Mahrer’s program and, against all apparent odds, declared, ‘Trump will win.’ Four years later, after watching ‘off the charts‘ support for him in battleground states, he cryptically asks: ‘Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC to pull this off?‘ Neither are we.
Not even when tens of thousands descended to Washington DC over the weekend, to mark the 57th anniversary of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.-led March for Jobs and Freedom. They came from all over to the Lincoln Memorial to pay homage to a historic turning point to the civil rights movement. But just like the several Women’s Marches, the Anti-Gun and the Climate Change many parades, and even the many Black Lives Matter rallies, the DNC didn’t send rank-and-file by the busload to support the crowd. Biden’s missed a great opportunity to show that he doesn’t always do as he’s told.
It’s been the BLM’s turn now to lead the charge but all of these groups have contributed to keeping the message of justice and equality alive, more so at times than the party itself. So it’s poignant that during the same weekend, while crowds rallied all over the country, the actor and activist Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther, passed away. While the president was busy destroying the country, Boseman built a new dream. R.I.P., King T’Challa.
Republicans are out to put America on fire for all the wrong reasons: racism, xenophobia, corruption, nepotism, inequality, and white privilege. They do not want people to vote and even used footage from riots in Spain to foil their base. As for Democrats, the majority is now convinced that Trump is an existential threat to the world, but we’re still coming up short and time’s running out. For Democracy’s sake, get all those kids to join us. ‘Yibambe!‘ WC