Friday, January 12, 2018

Time to go to the streets

Every mornin'
I wake up and worry
What's gonna happen today
You see it your way
And I see it mine
But we both see it slippin' away

The Eagles didn’t intend this to be a song about a nation on the verge of losing itself. None the less, the lyrics aptly describe where we are today and the threat this president poses.

The time has come for the American people to go to the streets. It is time to repeat the Moratorium of 1969. Wyoming is as good a place as any to start the movement.

The Women’s March set for January 20 is a critical first step for Americans to participate in a larger demonstration of disdain for Donald Trump. People need to take part in the Women’s March as they prepare for even more massive acts of civil disobedience.

The time has come for the same sort of general strike that took place in 1969. Called “the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam,” hundreds of thousands of Americans and others took to the streets to let the government know we’d had enough of the killing and immorality of the war.

This is what Lori Brandt Hale and Reggie Williams called “A Bonhoeffer Moment.” In an essay published in Sojourners, they recounted Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s courageous challenge to the Nazis in the 40’s. The Lutheran cleric was, they wrote, “living in a time that required a radical form of ethical discernment, attuned to concrete reality, historical urgency, and the desperate cries of help from victims of the state.”

Are not we living in such times today?

The comparison to Hitler seems difficult to accept only because Donald Trump does not yet have the power to which he certainly aspires. We cannot sit by idly hoping he will not acquire it.

As Hale and Williams put it, Bonhoeffer’s life and work and death require (us) to ask, “In the midst of this current political maelstrom, do you individually or collectively want to be a perpetrator, bystander, or resister? Everything is at stake.”

Do you believe “everything is at stake” today?

The person who speaks for our country to all the world is a racist. He makes no bones about it and neither should we. Americans must accept Trump for who he says he is. He is neither morally nor mentally fit to hold the highest office in the land.

The sad place in which the United States finds itself is that simply winning an election no longer bestows moral authority on anyone.

So, what are we to do? I do not have the national platform necessary to call for a nationwide moratorium and general strike the way that the antiwar activists did half a century ago. But, all of us can express our willingness to follow national leaders who have that platform as we participate in events like the Women’s March.

None of us should let a day go by without taking one step or action designed to let our elected officials and our neighbors know how alarmed we are by this president. We must go beyond Facebook posts and be very public about our worries.

March on January 20. Write letters to the editor of the local newspaper. Call Mike Enzi, John Barrasso, Liz Cheney, and Matt Mead. Better yet, show up at their offices in Casper and Cheyenne and elsewhere with petitions signed by Wyoming people. Make it clear to them that their acceptance of Trump is unacceptable to you. 

Take part in the WyoSayNo campaign to stop the construction of an immigrant prison in our state. Join our Prayer Vigil in front of the Immigration Customs and Enforcement office (308 West 21st Street, Cheyenne) 10 A.M. Monday morning, January 15 (Martin Luther King Day). March through Cheyenne at noon that day to remember Dr. King and to honor not only his legacy but how he speaks to us in these very times.

It is time to act. This is our Bonhoeffer moment.

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