Liberals: a strong force in history…
The mid-term elections are over. No more annoying, lying ads. And no more “Friend” emails. For some inexplicable reason, the right-wing Trump cultists—who obviously know nothing about me or my political orientation—consider me a “friend” and a “fellow conservative.” I have no idea how I got on their email lists, but I’m glad I did. I received at least 20 emails per day for the last several weeks up until election day from the Trump cultists, giving me a direct glimpse into the political universe they live in. The cesspool of fear and hate they wallow in is staggering, and their hypocrisy is mind-boggling as is their ignorance of the history of the country they purport to love and of the theology of the religion many of them profess to practice.
As a frame of reference: among the Trump cultists are working people and reportedly some are union members; retired people on Social Security and Medicare; folks who claim to be evangelical Christians. For all intents and purposes, the Trump cult is exclusively white, although in pathetic attempts to blunt that fact, they occasionally trot out members of the smattering of blacks and Latinos amongst them.
Hate and lies and “Gimme money”…
Parroting their cult leader Trump, in the mails I received a hefty portion of racist hate was heaped on the so-called “caravan” of brown people that is going to “invade” the U.S. But the greater ration of hate was directed at “liberals.” The Trump cultists are consumed with cultivating fear of liberals and what they’ll do should they get elected.
In the final analysis, this “Chicken Little” fear and hate email campaign was a fraud, a scam that boiled down to “Gimme money so I can continue our hate campaign as an elected official.” The emails never delineated the virtues of the candidates they promoted, that is, why he or she would make a good senator, congressmember, governor, etc. Rather, they relied solely on demonizing the opposition candidate, ascribing to him or her all manner of nasty epithets, culminating in the ultimate, nastiest epithet—“liberal.”
Demonizing liberals while feeding at liberalism’s trough…
The hypocrisy leaves one breathless. Probably the most contentious aspect of liberalism, the one the conservatives and the Trump cultists hate the most, is the belief that government has a role in guaranteeing and protecting certain rights to its constituents. Even as they enjoy the benefits won for them by liberals and liberalism via government intervention, the Trump cultists have made “liberal” a slur. Here’s a sampling of some of that hypocrisy (to address the matter comprehensively would be a book-length project).
- The black and Latino Trump cultists ignore the reality that during the reign of “states’ rights” blacks in the South—and Mexican Americans and Indigenous peoples elsewhere in the country—were not allowed to vote, eat in certain restaurants, work in certain industries, etc., and their children were not entitled to anything even resembling a quality education. It was only because of liberal activism that government intervened and conferred and protected the rights that the “states’ rights” denied these groups—e.g., the laws, policies, and educational culture change that flowed from the 1947 Mendez, et al. v. Westminster School District case in California that established that segregated “Mexican” schools were unconstitutional and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that established that “separate but equal” schools for black children were unconstitutional.
- Before liberal activism precipitated the labor movement, 12-hour workdays were the norm in many industries. Workers had agitated and staged strikes for better working conditions since the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s (with laws such as the 1914 Clayton Antitrust Act and the 1916 Adamson Act) that the government stepped in and codified worker rights and basic principles such as that unions could not be considered unlawful and strikes, boycotting, and picketing were not illegal and the eight-hour workday.
The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Wagner Act of 1935 encouraged collective bargaining for unions, set up maximum work hours, established minimum wage standards, and prohibited child labor in industry. In 1935 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was established to address labor complaints. In 1938 Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which set out to eliminate labor conditions detrimental to the health and well-being of workers and codified the maximum work week of 40 hours and established a federal minimum wage.
The above is only a sampling of the (early) government intervention brought about by liberal activism that provide protections for and confer rights on workers. Since then there has been a ton of legislation—aka government involvement—that protects workers
- The very liberal initiatives Social Security and Medicare were instigated by liberal activism and codified into law by liberal Democratic Presidents. The Social Security Act, which addressed issues such as old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children, was enacted in 1935 as part of the New Deal during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term.
Since the late 1950s and early 1960s, liberals, spearheaded by organized labor and senior-citizen groups, agitated for federal action to address the high cost of health care for the country’s elderly. Extending health coverage to the aged through Social Security was on John F. Kennedy’s agenda when he was elected President in 1960. After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, President Johnson continued pushing the elderly health-care agenda, and after much debate and back-and-forth negotiations with Republicans, President Johnson codified Medicare into law on July 30, 1965.
The Trump cultists in Congress are openly saying they intend to scale back Social Security and Medicare in order to pay for the Republican tax cuts for the rich.
And then there’s religion…
The Trump cultists’ hypocrisy is breathtaking when it comes to so-called religious folks. Reports consistently show that about 80% of the evangelicals in the U.S. supported Trump in the 2016 election and continue to support him, a position that is patently hypocritical, when what evangelicals purport to believe and practice is juxtaposed with what Trump is.
At its core, evangelical theology is built on the twin commandments of love—love God and love all humans, who are created in God’s image. If the right-wing so-called Christian zealots were serious about their faith, they would promote rather than demonize legislation and policies that feed the hungry…support workers and their families…welcome the stranger and the unwanted child…care for the ill, and other such Christian precepts. After all, the Jesus they claim to believe in was a refugee whose family trekked miles to escape persecution, hung out with, and advocated for, the commoners, the poor, the abused and downtrodden. The indisputable truth is that Jesus Christ was a liberal who took on the conservative social establishment of his time.
In contrast, it is well documented that Trump is a serial, pathological liar (the Washington Post has documented over 5,000 lies Trump has uttered in the past two years), is an outright racist (the “birther” campaign he led by itself proves this), is a self-described sexual assaulter, and is revengeful and mean-spirited. Trump’s call to “Make America Great again” is a throwback to the callous, exclusionary policies and political culture that Americans have soundly rejected time and again.
Whereas true Christians operate from the standpoint of love, Trump operates from the standpoint of hate. These two principles are 100% incompatible. One cannot be a genuine Christian and adopt and practice an ideology of hate. Ultimately, Trump’s and his cult’s nostalgic dream for the “bad ol’ days” is our (elderly folks, workers, people of color, immigrants, etc.) nightmare. c/s
Copyright 2018 by Salomon Baldenegro. To contact Sal write: firstname.lastname@example.org Trump Presidential photo and 40-hour week in the public domain. Mexican night copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions. Lord Trump image used under fair use proviso of the copyright law.