In the era of Trump, it seems that the most popular word in the English language is crisis. We just seem to keep bouncing from one to another, sometimes juggling them like a circus clown in a side ring. We’re in a constitutional crisis, and we have a crisis in leadership, and let’s not forget the crisis at the border.But in the midst of all of these crises, one thing tends to be forgotten. The power of a democracy doesn’t rest with the government, it rests with we the people. And I’m here to tell ya, the kids are alright.
Right now there’s another crisis, this one in Cory Booker’s home town of Newark, New Jersey. And while the responsibility for this one doesn’t rest with Donald Trump, it’s perfectly representative of the kind of night terrors he visits upon us on an almost daily basis, like a plague of locusts. In Newark, we have a slow rolling train wreck, basically a repeat of the Flint water crisis, but without the original malicious intent.
A while back, one of the two water processing plants in Newark added an extra ingredient in the purification process. Turns out that ingredient changed the properties of the water, and started leaching lead from the pipes, and into the drinking water. Since it was only one plant, only a portion of the city is affected, but like Flint, it’s a double crisis, not only a crisis from the lead in the water, but a crisis of faith in government, and trust in what it tells you.
Newark has a Democratic mayor, and New Jersey has a Democratic governor, but the results are depressingly similar to the Republican regime of Rick Snyder in Michigan. The government keeps fudging the numbers, and bottled water is being offered. But like in Flint, with a largely economically depressed population, and with a lot of older residents, water has to be picked up, no deliveries to homes are being made.Free water is capped at two cases of 20 oz. bottles every two weeks, and since of course, everybody in New Hersey wants free Newark bottled water, the city is forcing residents to jump through hoops to actually prove that they live in Newark to get their bottled water.
As seems to be the case so many times when a government we pay oodles of money to in taxes can’t seem to get their shit together, it’s the people we pay the least, if at all, and whom we normally only turn to for emotional and spiritual support, who come through in the clutch. Enter Bishop Jethro James of the Paradise Baptist church of Newark. What the entire state of New Jersey can’t seem to handle, with all of its resources, Bishop James is handling himself, and handling with humility, grace, and passion.
Think for a moment about preachers like Pat Robertson, Jimmy Jones, and Jimmy Swaggart, going on TV to beg for donations to fuel their private jets. Now, let’s compare that to Bishop James. When is the last time a preacher went on television and actually said, “Please, don’t send money. We don’t need money! We need water!” Water is what he needs, and water is what he is getting.
Local businesses are pitching in with water donations. A church in St Louis went into a Walmart, did a Jerry McGuire and “Showed them the money,” and today Bishop James is sending volunteers to a local Walmart in a truck to pick up pallets of bottled water. He has volunteers who are handling water, stacking water, and handing out water. And for low income residents, many with small children and no transportation, and older residents, the water is coming to them, courtesy of volunteers who are lugging it over. New Jersey’s Governor Murphy may be making me embarrassed to share the same name, but Bishop James is doing his name and his faith proud.
We see this time and time again in the dystopian Banana Republic of Trump. In Mississippi, from school officials to social workers, from churches to neighbors, who jury rigged it so that young children who had been stranded because their parents had been rounded up by the knuckle heads at ICE, would not sleep alone in the locked doorways of their homes, with empty bellies. Along the southern border, where residents bring non perishable food and diapers that are refused by CBP to feed and change small children housed in cages, to the lawyers who scramble there to represent them for free, people are pitching in. So, from where ordinary people line up around the block to donate blood to strangers shot in a Walmart by a Trumpian racist, to the local merchants who send over food and drinks to make their wait more comfortable. We see it time and time again. When government fails, we the people pick up the slack.
Make America Great Again? Trump, you stupid shit, America has never been greater! But unfortunately, that greatness is far too often thrust unwanted upon us, by your stupid, selfish, racist words and actions. Black, white, brown, gay, straight, transgender, round eyes, oval eyes, almond eyes, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, none of whom you give a shit about, and many of whom you actively loathe, coming together time after time to ensure that you will not destroy what we the people have spent 243 years building, passionately believe in.
But I’m going to let you in on a little secret Mr President. You just stay right there, in your little oval playpen, and pay with your twitter thingy. In addition to all of the other shit you’ve dumped on us, we’re working on another little community unity project. It’s called The 2020 Project, and when next November 3rd gets here, we’re not just going to Make America Great Again we’re going to make it un-fucking-believable! You and the rest of your racist rabble have worn out your welcome.