The crimes of this guilty land
Kathy, a protester from Grand Rapids, greets President-elect Trump in Walker, Mich. on Dec. 9, 2016. | Allison Farrand / The Grand Rapids Press via AP

I do most of the cooking and therefore most of the grocery shopping. I wear my Greek fisherman’s cap with the campaign buttons for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on my shopping expeditions to the supermarket. Since our disastrous defeat Nov. 8, I still wear those buttons. I don’t want anyone to think that I may have voted for the “Blond Beast.”

I notice that most of my fellow shoppers now avert their eyes from those buttons. I notice a downcast mood in the supermarket. There has been no celebration, no wide smiles, no enthusiastic greetings. It is as if we are all in mourning. And since Clallam County tipped narrowly for Donald Trump, some of those downcast expressions must be on the faces of people who voted for him. They are still angry even though they helped put this lying demagogue in office! Maybe the expression is one of GUILT.

And the feeling of guilt is not limited to those who cast their ballots for this serial groper, this abuser of women, this billionaire tax cheat, this hate monger who wants to deport immigrants, build a wall, ban Muslims, burn, burn, burn more coal no matter how hot planet Earth gets.

The word “guilt” rolled around in my head one day at Safeway. It reminded me of one of my heroes, John Brown. This passionate abolitionist was arrested at Harpers Ferry for his attempt to seize the U.S. Army arsenal. He wanted to distribute the 100,000 muskets to arm a guerrilla army determined to free the slaves. As he was about to be hanged, John Brown handed a note to a guard with a brief message that included these words, “that the crimes of this guilty nation can never be purged away but with blood….”

Brown was predicting the bloody Civil War. Do I think we are going to suffer another civil war? No, I don’t. I think we need to work to avert that disaster. Yet John Brown was talking about a war already raging, a one-sided war by the slave owners against the slaves. These slave owners also waged war against anyone who dared to oppose their genocidal, profit-greedy system.
And right now, I think the descendants of the slave owners are waging a one-sided war against all of us. That includes Donald Trump, the racists who shoot unarmed Black people in the back, the oil companies who want to lay a pipeline across sacred Standing Rock Sioux lands threatening to pollute our nation’s most precious liquid, water.

The Trumpite billionaires block a doubling of the federal minimum wage. Their already obscene wealth grows ever more so while the 99 percent grow poorer, hungrier, and more homeless. Poverty and neglect amid the fabulous wealth we have created. I think it is time for us to wage war against them, a non-violent but very, very massive war!

– Tim Wheeler


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