This week has news that forces every voter to consider what it means to vote and why you make a choice. Trump continues to push the justice system towards collapse as he protects co-conspirators while seeking to legally punish those who oppose his autocratic and illegal behaviors. Mike Bloomberg is making the news for statements that seem to show him prejudging African-American communities with past comments about stop and frisk as well as redlining. Bernie Sanders is a socialist who voted for a crime bill that many believe was used to target black men. We do not know who the ultimate candidate for the Democrats will be, but we have a choice to make. Donald Trump has shown himself to be a short and long-term threat to freedom, civil rights, and life on earth who will do anything to protect his fragile version of reality. The person who will run against Trump will not be perfect, but freedom-loving people will need to turn out in massive numbers to stop Trump in 2020.
February is Black History month. It is a time to remember the many people who risked their lives to push for greater freedom to a group of people targeted for harassment and marginalization by the larger society. I think of heroes from Fanny Lou Hamer to Crispus Attucks who not only dreamed of a better day for African Americans but bravely risked everything to make it happen. The courage of heroes is necessary to overcome the strength of evil ideas that gain acceptance because they are expedient to the larger society. Everyone wants to feel special and advantaged in life but the question is who are you willing to handicap to get that feeling? Minorities around the world have been victimized by the answer to this question. Human beings have grown in their ability to see those who are not like them as people deserving of dignity, but we live in a time of increasing insecurity and tribalism. What will the future look like for human dignity? The answer to the question seems bleak right now, but I remain hopeful that there are many more heroes among us who will lead humanity toward the light.
Reports of prisoners being abused and neglected are emerging from the state prison system of Mississippi. Prisoners using cellphones to take pictures of broken toilets, pests in the food, and overcrowded conditions are reportedly being given extended sentences with up to 12 years added on. Activists say that racially biased anti-crime bills have led to overcrowding and underfunding of the prisons resulting in horrific conditions. Mississippi is currently experiencing a high number of prisoner deaths due to murder and suicides. It is important for citizens across the country to defend the human and civil rights that we have come to expect in the United States. Vote for candidates who respect human rights and civil rights for everyone.