I began this piece I had just read a news item stating that the earth
had hit a record high temperature for the third consecutive year.
(NYT 01/18/17). I was immediately reminded of James Baldwin’s
classic and perhaps, prophetic work, “The Fire Next Time”
whose title echoes the lines from the Negro Spiritual of the same
name recounting the biblical tale of Noah’s voyage-- at God’s
command, to save the creatures of the planet Earth.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign.
more water the fire next time”
J .Trump is now the 45th President of the United States of America.
With each passing day I am increasingly consumed by what columnist
Charles W. Blow, after the Baltimore acquittal, called an
“incandescent rage ” at the ignominious reality of a
Trump presidency and what it portends for humanity. His denial of
“climate change“ and its impact on the planet – a
position he has now recanted ; his apparent fixation, if not love, of
nuclear weapons and not much respect for their proliferation and/or
the devastation they can cause.
am further chagrined because his “victory” unmistakedly
re-exposes the historical truth of America’s systemic racism.
Thus, no matter how much those who wear the mask of denial attempt to
convince us that Hillary’s overwhelming popular vote majority
is a much more accurate indication of the pulse of the nation or that
Trump’s victory, in the electoral, college is primarily due to
the perceived and/or real dissastifaction, by middle and lower
income class whites with the failure of a much heralded growing
economy to produce for them and seemingly doing so for others. Nice
try I say, but no cigars!
latter argument humorously brought to mind the existence, in the
sixties, of an organization of middle class whites who called
themselves “The Society for the Prevention of Negroes getting
Everything” popularly known by its acronym S.P.O.N.G.E. The
conceptual parallel between the “deniers” and
S.P.O.N.G.E. is striking. Sadly, nothing much seems to have changed.
absurdity of the wearers of the masks of denial fuels my blue-flamed
burning rage. I shudder as I think how much easier the fight to end
racism in America would be if white people were to, psychologically,
and politically, accept culpability for it’s exisistence and
collectively move to exorcise its corroding and toxic influence from
the very tissues of the nation. Truthfully, I do not expect that to
happen soon -- if ever. Also, One cannot deny, nor should we, the
majesty of the mammoth march of women and men in the streets of the
nation; but, the question remains can it be sustained?
foreboding sensation has propellled me to ponder the possibility that
Trump’s presidency could well be the harbinger of the
apocalyptic prophecy of “The Fire Next Time”.
in the “NATION”( 01/18/17) Frances Fox Piven expresseed
similar concerns. Responding to the to the many “Stop Trump’”
popular initiatives, while supporting them said:
do not have much hope that any of them, at least not in the limited
time we have , to protect the planet from global warming or nuclear
catasthrophy or both. ” I share her fear! I am also in
accord with her major premise: “When it comes to stopping
Trump, petitions will not get it done.”
I also say!
and his minions whose ostensible vision of and for America -- from
the perspective of those of us who still retain a modicum of hope
that the country can achieve its laudatory goals coupled with the
concomitant eradication of racism-- are inimical to the establishment
of a just and egalitarian America. I take the unequivocal position
that they must be defeated!
bit of history:
masterpiece was and continues to be my favorite of his many works.
Its raw and personal honesty, analytical brilliance,
powerful language, which, at that time, made white America tremble
and temporarily take stock of itself in the wake of what was to
become a seismic shock wave throughout the land, namely, the birth of
the contemporary “Black Revolution” --that’s what
Ebony magazine, on its cover (8/69) -- called it. Yes, it is, without
a doubt my, favorite work of his.
much was the political anxiety, trepidation, discomfort and fear
among white people, caused, not only by Baldwin’s writings and
eloquence, but by other Black intellectuals, poets and scholars as
well; such as, Amiri Baraka, Dick Gregory and Harold Cruse —to
name but three-- that white liberal America also squirmed.
Consistent with their traditional behavorial pattern—speaking
with forked tongue-- , Baldwin was both praised for his literary
talent and eloquense and attacked for his sexual preference and
mocking his physical appearance .
later years I would be vividly reminded of that era when former
Congressman Charles Rangel, speaking in another context and of
another person on Gil Noble’s “Like it is” program
in New York remarked “ When a society desires to destroy
someone they first move to demonize them.”
not too subtle attack on Baldwin, was relentless and deceitful. White
liberalism praised his intellect, political acumen and literary
talent, but dishonestly questioned his premises and laughed at the
shape of his eyes and love life.
this occurred, Black America, for the most part behaved, just as
they did whenever Joe Louis scored a victory. After listening to the
fight at he window of a store in a segregated town they would slowly
and silently walk away and when they were out of the eyes and ears of
“”white folks” they suddenly paused, applauded
and literally “hooped and hollered”.
South” Blacks also “hooped and hollered” in our
bars and living rooms with the fervor of hearing “Malindy”
sing “ whenever Baldwin or another bright brother or sister
scored a point on “Meet the Press” or “Face The
If my memory is
correct, at a public forum which took place at “Town Hall”
in NYC featuring James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, James Wechsler, then of
the “liberal” New York Post of Dorothy Schiff and
Murray Kempton, and television liberal producer/host David Susskind,
either Susskind, or Wechsler exclaimed, “I do not want to be a
waterboy in a battle I once led. Honestly, I do not recall which
the years – fifty plus-- those words have remained ingrained
in my psyche. Why? Because I see them as a reminder that they may
well be the eternal pebbles in the sandals of white and Black
Alinsky, author of “Reveille for Radicals” once wrote,
and I paraphrase, “ the liberal is he who runs when the fights
starts” Dick Gregory, author of “Nigger” and a
prolific raconteur comedian, and political activist, describes the
liberal in much more sanguine terms. He once wrote “ The
liberal is he who will hang you from the lower limb”.
the age of “Trumpism” liberalism of the type described
by Alinsky and Gregory must remain where it should have always been –
buried. Radical Progressives must now take center stage.
has only to read “Herr Donald’s” inaugural address
to be nauseated and repulsed by his dark vision of America; his
seeming disregard for the lives of all others except his and those of
his ilk; the infusion of additional elements of fear into the
fragile tissues of our social psyche. It is unexplainable.
columnist Roger Cohen tell us that America will have to fight to
preserve it’s civilization. I am absolutely convinced that the
fights, must be waged; however, not to preserve “America’s
civilization” --- it produced Donald Trump and enslaved Black
people, one cannot preserve what is not there. The on going fight is
to transform our society from a society predicated on corporate greed
to a just society one that King called “The Beloved Community.
Piven suggested that to defeat Trump we must “throw sand in the
gears of his machine.” Not only do I endorse that view but
expand upon it. We need to develop an urban non violent guerrilla
movement designated to rebel, resist, and attack. It must be one that
incessantly continues to snap at his infantile ego while building the
machinery to take the reins of power. If we fail to do so I fear that
the apocalypse may indeed be near.