Our Time Press

We Were Warned

W.E.B. Dubois

View from Here
By David Mark Greaves


It’s not like we have not been warned and continue to be. We have been warned about it all.
Warned about chemicals in the water, plastic pollution of the oceans, climate change bringing wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. W.E.B DuBois warned that “The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line.”


And we’re seeing them all come true here on the cusp of an election that will either begin to heal the nation, or send us back to the golden age of White supremacy, and keep us there for the lifetimes of the over 200 federal judges President Trump has appointed so far and the hundreds more he would appoint in a second term.


We’ve been warned about Donald Trump in literature by Sinclair Lewis in his 1935 novel, “It Can’t Happen Here,” a tale of a racist demagogue rising in America, with character traits eerily prescient to the one we’re confronted with now.

Criminal Acts
Lives lost mean nothing to him. If he had told New Yorkers what he told Bob Woodward on tape — that he knew in February about just how deadly the virus was, we would not have lost 25,390 of our family, neighbors, friends and acquaintances. Thousands of businesses would not have closed, and millions of jobs would have been saved.
He’s robbed our young people of an education putting them at another economic disadvantage, furthering their inability to compete in a globalized world. He’s increased domestic violence and traumatized young children. He has brought immeasurable pain and suffering to the nation and he does not care about any of it. And we know that, because he scoffed at the thought of it, when asked by Woodward if he understood the pain of African Americans.
“…And do you have any sense that that privilege has isolated and put you in a cave, to a certain extent, as it put me – and I think lots of White, privileged people – in a cave and that we have to work our way out of it to understand the anger and the pain, particularly, Black people feel in this country? Do you see?” Woodward asked. 
“No, you really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you, wow. No, I don›t feel that at all,” the President responded.
The Republican Party can stop the authoritarian/white supremacist takeover of the United States, but they won’t. It suits the desires of their constituency, 90% of whom support the President. Swearing an oath to uphold the constitution means nothing. Their core constituency has a core concern of furthering white supremacy, and because of where that has led in the past, it is one of the reasons the history of the country cannot be ignored. Then we would realize that many in that core are the descendants of those who attended family picnics to watch public lynchings and see the danger we are in.
This, from The Guardian: “Among the most unsettling realities of lynching is the degree to which white Americans embraced it, not as an uncomfortable necessity or a way of maintaining order, but as a joyous moment of wholesome celebration.
‘Whole families came together, mothers and fathers, bringing even their youngest children. It was the show of the countryside – a very popular show,” read a 1930 editorial in the Raleigh News and Observer.
“ ‘Adding to the macabre nature of the scene, lynching victims were typically dismembered into pieces of human trophy for mob members.’ ”
“In his autobiography, WEB Du Bois writes of the 1899 lynching of Sam Hose in Georgia. He reports that the knuckles of the victim were on display at a local store on Mitchell Street in Atlanta and that a piece of the man’s heart and liver was presented to the state’s governor.
“In the 1931 Maryville, Missouri, lynching of Raymond Gunn, the crowd estimated at 2,000 to 4,000 was at least a quarter women, and included hundreds of children. One woman ‘held her little girl up so she could get a better view of the naked Negro blazing on the roof,’ wrote Arthur Raper in The Tragedy of Lynching.
“After the fire was out, hundreds poked about in his ashes for souvenirs. ‘The charred remains of the victim were divided piece by piece,’ wrote Raper.”
Legacies
That little girl held up in 1931 and the other children who were there, frolicking around the body, would be in their ‘90’s now and could easily be the adored grandparents of Trump supporters at his raucous rallies of the mask-less, loud and joyful mob in the presence of their champion.
On the rightwing website Infowars, recently pardoned Trump loyalist Roger Stone talks about invoking the insurrection and declaring Martial Law if there are what they call “voting irregularities” and Trump loses.
Once in America, we would have called that crazy talk. Not today.
What to do? W. E. B. DuBois said, “The power of the ballot we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?” Send money and vote.

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