Save us the hollow call for unity, Franklin Graham: Opinion in Charlotte Observer

Save us the hollow call for unity, Franklin Graham

Charlotte Observer

UPDATED JANUARY 11, 2021 11:45 AM

Last Thursday, one day after the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, Franklin Graham had a message for Americans.

“The division in our country is as great as any time since the Civil War,” he tweeted. “I am calling on Christians to unite our hearts together in prayer for President-elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris, and for the leadership in both parties.”

It was the kind of statement this country needs to hear, a call for reconciliation that you’d expect from a faith leader. Except just two weeks before, this leader’s arms were folded, not open. “Many people believe the presidential election was stolen from @realDonaldTrump,” Graham tweeted on December 28, “and if conservatives lose control of the Senate, there is nothing to stop the radical agenda of the left.”

Earlier in December, Graham echoed the same election lies that fueled the Capitol invaders. “When he says this election was rigged or stolen,” Graham said of the president, “I tend to believe him.”

Unite our hearts? Save it, Rev. Graham.

Get ready for the big walk back, America. Get ready for the agitators to now call for peace. Get ready for the same people who played along when the president stoked a nationwide fury now wanting to calm everyone down.

Like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who said after last week’s siege: “We must come together and put this anger and division behind us. We must, and I am confident we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power.”

This is the same Ted Cruz who, as the mob was forming in Washington, encouraged “peace” and “order” by declaring: “We are gathered at a time when democracy is in crisis.” It’s the same Cruz who the week before shouted at a Georgia rally that “We will defend our constitution” and “We will not go quietly into the night.”

All for election fraud that didn’t exist.

This costume change, brazen as it is, is hardly surprising. For years, Republicans and conservative leaders have told Americans that what they see isn’t actually true, that Donald Trump’s unhinged tweets and intemperate attacks are merely the products of media and Democrats picking on him. Just as guilty, although slightly less hypocritical, are the Republicans who chose to be silent about the president and Charlottesville, the president and “shithole” countries, the president telling Proud Boys to stand back and stand by.

Many of these same Republicans, including members of Congress from North Carolina, added their names to an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit that falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was tainted with fraud and should be overturned. They nodded or looked the other way as Trump’s election claims got more bizarre, his efforts more desperate, his language more incendiary.

Only when Trump being Trump resulted in five deaths and a ransacked Capitol did some rediscover their principles and their spines. But even now, Republicans are arguing against a second impeachment of the president, on the grounds that it would inflame his supporters.

Never mind the hypocrisy of calling for calm shortly after you’ve been yelling “fire.” This also is blame avoidance — not only for the president, but those who bowed and cowed in all the moments that led up to this latest, most horrifying one.

Unity? Yes, we need to move toward it. But to get there, we need those responsible for Wednesday, including Donald Trump, to be held accountable. We need the leaders and the party that enabled him to take responsibility and earn the country’s confidence and trust again.

A good start would be to admit what is plainly true, that the 2020 election was not stolen from the president.

Until then, save us the hollow words of reconciliation.

That includes you, Rev. Graham. You’ve long had an affinity for telling folks — whether they’re Girl Scouts or a gay presidential candidate or a bank that dares put a lesbian couple in a commercial — how their behavior is leading to the decline of America. You’ve especially liked singling out individuals and groups to repent and be accountable for their sins.

We won’t be so presumptuous to declare what’s a sin or who needs to repent. We don’t even think you’re wrong in suggesting that Americans need to find a path and a peace they can share. But before you start calling for everyone to come together, it might help if you came clean about what tore us apart.

FYI Trump’s Latest Yemen Move Is Far Worse Than The Capitol Riot

FYI Trump’s Latest Yemen Move Is Far Worse Than The Capitol Riot

Written by Caitlin Johnstone, Jan 12, 2021

While the Capitol riot is being hysterically compared to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht by the political/media class, the Trump administration has done something far, far worse that is receiving far, far less attention.

The US State Department has officially announced its intention to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, as many had previously warned. Humanitarian organizations have been condemning the move as it will make it more difficult to provide aid to a population that is already being brutalized by the worst mass atrocity in the entire world, a Saudi-led atrocity which could not occur without the help of the western power alliance.

We are already seeing some effects of this designation.

Yemen Solidarity Council@YSCouncil

We are ceasing all operations in the United States for the time being, as well as putting a temporary halt to our intended plans for humanitarian fundraising.

Let it be known that the Trump Administration just criminalized foreign humanitarian aid to .

View image on Twitter

Antiwar‘s Dave DeCamp reports the following:

The terror designation will hamper the efforts of international charities that deliver food to Houthi-controlled areas, where 70 percent of Yemen’s population lives and malnutrition is the most widespread.

Aid agencies fear their work in north Yemen will now be criminalized since the Houthis are the authority they have to deal with and make transactions with. US terror designations open up sanctions on any individuals or entities that do business with those Washington brands as terrorists.

Pompeo said exemptions would be made for humanitarian goods. But any additional roadblocks for aid agencies will cause more suffering in Yemen since the situation is so dire. “Even with exemptions, the operation will be compromised,” said Janti Soeripto, the president of Save the Children, according to AP News.

The United Nations conservatively estimates that some 233,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, mostly from what it calls “indirect causes”. Those indirect causes would be disease and starvation resulting from what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the worst famine the world has seen for decades”.

When people hear the word “famine” they usually think of mass hunger caused by droughts or other naturally occurring phenomena, but in reality the starvation deaths we are seeing in Yemen (a huge percentage of which are children under the age of five) are caused by something that is no more natural than the starvation deaths you’d see in a medieval siege. They are the result of the Saudi coalition’s use of blockades and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites, and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes aimed at making the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen so weak and miserable that they break.

In other words, the US and its allies have been helping Saudi Arabia deliberately kill children and other civilians on mass scale in order to achieve a political goal. Which would of course be a perfect example of any standard definition of terrorism. The unfathomably savage and bloodthirsty US empire designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization is the least funny joke that has ever been told

The Trump administration has just designated Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organization while facilitating the worst mass atrocity on this planet in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen. Here’s an article I wrote about this depraved move last month: 

We Are The Terrorists

The Trump administration is reportedly close to moving the Houthi rebels in Yemen onto its official list of designated terrorist…

This move is quantifiably far, far worse than anything Trump could possibly have done to incite the Capitol riot, as it will kill far, far more people, yet the mass media fixate on one news story while virtually ignoring the other. This is because the Capitol riot story feeds into partisan narratives and manufactures consent for authoritarian domestic terrorism laws, while the Yemen story highlights the depravity of US imperialism. The plutocrat-owned media does not exist to give you a truthful representation of the world, it exists to keep the wheels of the empire rolling along.

There’s a weird taboo against saying some things are worse than other things, especially when it involves things the mass media tell us are of cataclysmic significance. People shriek “Why are you minimizing the Capitol raid??” and “Why are you comparing them! It’s not a pissing contest!” This is stupid. All things are not equal to other things, and figuring out the ways in which news coverage is disproportionate and not reflective of reality is a very important part of making sense of the world.

So now Americans are being fed a steady diet of narratives about the threat Trump’s radicalized base poses to people of color, while ignoring the fact that Trump is currently implementing policies which facilitate the butchery of people of color. Only difference is the latter is hidden behind geographical remoteness, and is far more egregious.

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

“The story of Kanye and Kim’s divorce is going to generate more news media views than the entirety of the Yemen war since it began.” 

Americans Only Care About America. Their Rulers Only Care About World Domination.

It matters that the mass media do not cover news stories with an accurate degree of proportion. It matters that they keep the public’s gaze diverted from the horrors of empire while radically distorting their sense of reality. This isn’t some idle “contrarian take”. This matters.

In the last couple of centuries we’ve progressed all the way from expecting our leaders to murder brown-skinned people while saying racist things to expecting our leaders to murder brown-skinned people while condemning racism. The murder hasn’t changed, and the racism hasn’t really changed either. All that’s changed is the norms of how it is put into practice.

This matters.