Resistance: I am the grass/Let me work…Carl Sandburg

By: Bill Whaley
25 February, 2017

Trump’s Rasputin, Steve Bannon revealed his plans this week to “deconstruct” or destroy the “administrative state” to fellow conservatives and white supremacists, including republicans who support the rise of fascism in America. Meanwhile, the resistance is confronting at town hall meetings republican senators and representatives, who are unused to shouts from outraged liberals. Apparently, we Americans are engaged in a perilous journey today as the Republic is under siege from within by “the enemy of the people,” the perverse elected officials who had sworn an oath to preserve and protect the constitution but have other plans.

This morning I was reading James Baldwin’s “The Devil Finds Work.” Frequently I teach Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” and “Devil” expands on the themes found in “Native Son” about what it’s like to be Black and subject to racism and fascism, the latter a form of corporate-political suppression, based today on garnering support  by appealing to white supremacy. The aspiring promoters of the American police state are right on schedule: having targeted the free press as “the enemy of the people” while stealing an election with help from the FBI, Russia, state-supported voter suppression, gerrymandered districts, and the hoary electoral college system. Still Trump did not get a majority of the votes.

The current President is in violation of lawful mandates that forbid public officials from profiting directly due to public office. Generally, the elite entrepreneurs profit by changing the laws and using tax regs to garnish income streams from the private purse of the ninety-nine percent. Trump and his associates are using a more direct approach to allegedly “steal” from the people.

Last week news reports claimed that White House officials called upon intelligence officials as well as the Chairs of Senate and House Intelligence committees to cease and desist the investigation of the Trump campaign team’s alleged contacts with Russia prior to the general election. President Nixon was forced to resign for similar tactics or  “obstruction of justice” in the Watergate era. They say the “cover-up is worse than the crime.”

In this age of excessive appetite for political power, the republican and democratic leaders have systemically monetized traditional mores, and replaced morals, ethics, and Christian compassion by substituting vice for virtue, replacing the principles of social civility and justice with private passions and appetites meant to deny political freedom to the many. The very preservation of the soul of the Republic rests with resistance by the majority of the American people and the permanent bureaucracy of the American government.

“Grass” by Carl Sandburg alludes to the natural forces that cover up the bodies buried in the cemeteries commemorating the Napoleonic wars, the Civil War, and WWI. But the metaphor of the “Grass” today reminds me of the current revolution, wherein “average” Americans resist, emboldened by 75 years of New Deal reforms, aimed at overthrowing the slave masters or financiers, who bankrupted the nation in 1929 and 2008. FDR, the pragmatist, saved the upper classes with reforms aimed at providing a more compassionate social system for the many. Now the fanatics, who have unified a minority of supporters by demonizing the “other” or the Black and Brown, women and LGTB, as well as deporting the mothers and fathers of American children and would roll back the social progress of the American state.

But the “Grass” and grass roots, the not so secret sharers, continue to roil and revolt against the Man Who Would Be King. Make no mistake, the Kleptocrat and his elitist friends, who have turned a generation of indebted college students into “indentured servants” would transform you and your mind into a victim of Orwell’s “thought police.” You can try reading “1984” but it’s too depressing by half. In Baldwin’s “Notes of a Native Son” or “The Devil Finds Work,” one gets analysis and is reassured by the memories of the Civil Rights era, not to mention the “Rising” of the resistance to Vietnam and the 60s, an era when the “culture of denial” drowned in countrywide cultural revolt against “WASP” control.

Today anti-establishment figures such as Michael Moore, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Colin Kapernick and a host of others continue the fight. Some major media reporters continue to report the crimes being fomented and implemented against the Republic. Below the power centers, the organic and “Indivisible” forces embody the common decency of Americans and cross-border folks invited to enjoy the fruits of democracy. The survivors of slavery, embodied by Black athletes and Blues Singers, the persistence of the American Indians, long the subject of genocidal white supremacy also confront the devil in the White House, a house turned dark and gloomy.

The price of freedom is vigilance. Now we must all act. The Statue of Liberty has blinked but the seeds of Grass offer hope: “Let me work.” Let us work.

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