Iowa Congressman Steve King continued his long tradition of saying vile, indefensible and inexplicable things yesterday.  During a speech at a conservative club in Urbandale, Iowa, King defended his stance against exceptions for rape and incest in abortions, suggested that humanity might not exist if it weren’t for rape and incest.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

Beyond the statistical fact that humanity would survive and thrive quite well without rape and incest, it’s hard to fathom why King would try to cast rape and incest in any sort of positive light.  But his pretzel-twisting thought process is typical of people who can’t make a credible case for why a zygote or embryo should be treated as a person, relying instead on the profoundly arrogant and self-serving ghost story that “they contain a sacred magic spark that no other form of life in the universe contains.”

King’s comments come a day after a Trump cabinet member suggested that our national ethos, embodied by the Statue of Liberty, was only meant to apply to white Europeans.  And that came a few days after Trump suggested that Jeffrey Epstein was killed by Bill Clinton.  And that came a few days after Trump made openly racist comments.  And so on.

How do we fight against the hatred and malevolence of Trump and Trumpism?  A compelling article appeared recently in, of all unlikely places, Forbes magazine, written by Margie Warrell, entitled “Let’s Face Hard Truths: America Needs a Moral Uprising”.  An excerpt:

“Trump is a moral threat to the country,” wrote David Brooks in the New York Times. “He’s not a policy revolutionary. He’s a cultural revolutionary.”

But just as fear is contagious, so too is courage. And the path of moral courage, particularly in “stormy times”, distinguishes itself from others because it is the only path upon which an individual, organization or nation cannot get lost.

Warrell focuses on the attitude of courage and the virtue of action, giving an optimistic reminder of the force that moral clarity provides.  She goes on:

So what can we each do? We must do the brave work of not only trying to understand those with whom we don’t agree (remember, Lincoln invited his political opponents into his cabinet!) but to face the hard truths we would prefer to ignore. And then, to do what is within our power, getting behind those whose principals bolster their moral fortitude not to surrender self-respect for self-interest.

Link to article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2019/08/11/lets-face-hard-truths-america-needs-a-moral-uprising/

We also have to remember what NOT to do.  History tells us that we won’t stop injustice with violence.  Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Imelda Marcos, and Lech Walesa all triumphed against far more powerful foes by non-violent means.  Every great protest and social movement has at its core a moral dimension.  When violence is used, it destroys the moral core and legitimacy of any ideology.  The recent mass protests in Hong Kong are at risk of going off the rails because protesters–whose position is on the right side of morality–seem to be veering towards violence, which would be a tragic mistake.  Peaceful resistance is paramount in part because peaceful protest in the face of violence provides such a clear and compelling contrast.  Who can forget images of unarmed civil rights protesters facing police in riot gear and attack dogs? Who can forget the image of a man standing in front of a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square?  The purpose of protest is to draw attention and generate empathy.  But violence simply cannot create empathy.

When our country is being destroyed from within by a corrupt president and his band of radical white supremacists, it’s easy to get angry and fearful for our future.  And it’s easy and at times cathartic to vent our anger, whether at a protest rally or on social media.  But threats, character assassination and violence should never be a part of that resistance.  Calling Trump a malign, lying, molesting, racist con-man is not character assassination but rather an accurate description of who he is, based on his actions.  And we need to continue to reflect to our neighbors and society exactly who Trump and his circle are, minimizing bitterness while maximizing facts.  The more we can stick to this equation, the more effective our activism will be.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s