“There is no essential moral difference between class-warfare and race-warfare, between destroying a class and destroying a race.”
That’s from Paul Johnson, maybe the preeminent historian of the 20th Century and as non-political as you can get, from his history book, “Modern Times: The World From The Twenties To The Nineties.”
After another two-night marathon of Democratic debates, it has come back to me as I am reading Johnson’s excellent, if dense, history tome.
A large part of the country has just accepted that we hammer each other on race and income. It’s just politics. No, it’s not. It’s both personal and eventually fatal. It is exactly — and I mean exactly — what Lenin did in creating and sustaining the Soviet Union during and after the Russian Revolution. In fact, that is who Johnson is describing in the above sentence, the killing machine of Lenin in 1919 who set the stage for one of the world’s greatest killing machines, Stalin.
That is not where we are, of course. But we can see what is coming up ahead around the bend by knowing what has happened when we’ve gone around this bend before. Violent eruptions don’t materialize for no reason. There are always preceding causes, usually growing over time.
Here’s the key takeaway: Irresponsible American politicians aided by an irresponsible media continue to create hyper-divisions in our country. Far from all the inane platitudes of “unity in diversity,” they actively seek to divide us from one another, then pit those divisions against one another for personal or philosophic gain.
I know some will be sputtering, but, but, but Trump!!! This just really needs to be understood. Trump is a reactionary figure, meaning he is reacting to what preceded him. I never predicted Trump, but I’ve been predicting something like Trump and certainly the clash at Charlottesville for decades. After Charlottesville, I reminded my wife that I had said this was coming, and there will be more if we don’t back off the race warfare. It’s as assured as gravity.
You cannot tell an entire race of people (whites now) that they are the root of our problems (CNN anchor Don Lemon literally did a few months ago stating, “We have to stop demonizing people and realize that the biggest terror threat in this country is white men” — I know, the irony) and not expect at some point there will be a reaction and it won’t be pretty. The reaction may be wrong, but it is predictable.
President Obama certainly played a role in fanning racial flames when he could have calmed them. Instead, he jumped to racial conclusions in Cambridge, Ferguson, New York, Baltimore and Trayvon Martin in Florida (claiming white racism in every one.) But let’s be honest, this long preceded him, too. He just made it worse.
Affirmative action and minority quotas in the 1970s really started this inevitable resentment ball rolling. It’s become much, much worse though as every single election cycle, Republicans and their supporters are labeled as racists and hating poor people. White Republicans want to put black people back in chains (Biden in 2012) and push grandma off a cliff (multiple Democrat ads.) Pretty astonishing but just commonplace — like the black plague was commonplace.
The class warfare of many Democrats, most notably New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (“I’ll tax the hell out of the wealthy”) but essentially all of them on stage the past two nights talking about “fair share” for the wealthy paying more, a misnomer if there ever was one. This whipped up division creates animosity to gather votes and power, using the American people as discardable pawns.
Karl Marx understood this formula. Lenin and Trotsky understood it. Stalin understood it. Mao understood it. Castro understood it. For that matter, and I hate to use the name, but Hitler understood it. They all played to the most base and ugly parts of human nature — the other guy is causing my problems!
This is a dangerous and deadly road, already well-traveled in history.
So let’s be clear. No one man is an existential threat to the nation, as the hyperbolic Democrat/media establishment is fond of saying today of Trump. That’s just nonsense. Our framers, who are also out of favor with the left, set up too great a foundational system of checks and balances for that.
But fanning race and class warfare is an existential threat, because it has the ability to destroy the foundations. We were headed in the right direction for a brief moment in the 1950s and 1960s (Martin Luther King’s dream that his children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character) but for a much longer time we have been going backwards, and it’s really speeding up. Class warfare is running in tandem.
This can end in no good place for our country if the foot is not removed from the accelerator of race and class divisions. History makes very, very clear that we are heading for a cliff. The thing is, we’re all in the vehicle together.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.