Daryl Grigsby: White America gave Trump the platform to lead the charge

Published in the Grass Valley Union on January 12, 2021. Find it here.

The shame of the assault on the Capitol of the United States is the shame of white America.

By white America, I do not mean every white person in the United States. I do, however, mean the majority of white Americans.

Majority means the more than half of whites who voted in this last election. According to the Pew Research Center, 57% of the whites who voted, voted for Donald Trump. That is almost 6 of every 10 white voters.

Once in the confines of the Christian church, of which I am an embarrassed member, the white support increases. According to surveys and exit polls, 78% of white evangelicals, 53% of white Catholics, and 52% of white non-evangelical Protestants supported him for a second term. That despite his racist rhetoric and actions, denial of a deadly pandemic, bullying and lies, and overt calls for extreme nationalism and white supremacy.

And now we see whites running for the exits, expressing dismay and shock and surprise at the flag-waving mob that took over the Capitol.

What happened on Jan. 6 was not an aberration. It is what Trump has been projecting, proclaiming and calling for in the last several months — and for anyone who listened carefully -—the last four years.

The election of 2020 should not have been close, and in fact, would not have been close, were it not for the majority of white American voters. White American voters, especially those of the Christian faith, bear direct responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6, because their votes enabled, empowered, and emboldened him to act as a mob instigator.

What if the election was not even close? What if whites — en masse — abandoned his divisive hateful political program? He would have been isolated and left without any grounds to claim the election was stolen. His only supporters would have been exposed as the mob that assaulted our democracy.

White America, not all, but most, gave him the power and platform to lead the charge against all we allegedly hold sacred in this country.

Let me again make distinction: This is not about all whites. This is about those who I believe — by their votes, their prayers (without corresponding deeds for the common good), their actions, or their silence — enabled an obvious deranged bully and self-centered racist to act in the manner he did.

You cannot swim in the sewers without wearing the stench. Were most white people assaulting the Capitol? No. Did most white voters support the one who instigated the mob — that very day — to “take back our country”? Yes.

Eddie Glaude, author of “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” makes the distinction between “white people and humans who happen to be white.“

I make that same distinction, for I firmly believe that most white Americas are blinded by the privilege of their color and thus are unaware that being white supersedes being human or being Christian.

Those who are human first, a significant minority, live with integrity, compassion and values. They in fact our hold our nation together with their courageous work for justice.

The majority of whites did not storm the Capitol — but they did aid and abet their leader. That you cannot deny, refute or explain away.

It is way past time for white America, those not on the racist terrorist fringe — but those with integrity and conscience — to face the facts of their complicity and do something concrete about it. Anything less is empty words and crocodile tears which lead not to change but more of the same. When is enough enough!?

If white Americans, that majority who voted for Trump, cannot see their role in and relationship to the assault on the Capitol and take the corresponding and necessary corrective actions, then our nation has a long, painful road ahead.

Amazingly, if it were up to the majority of white voters, the majority of white Christians, Trump would be beginning another four years. Whenever I am in a group of white people, that reality disturbs me.

I am reading comments that “This is not America.’” As an African-American who has lived through eight different decades, one whose great-grandfather was a slave (and a child by rape of a slave woman by the slave master), I’m here to proclaim this is America. More specifically, this is white America.

As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “by their fruits you shall know them.” Again, when is enough enough?

Daryl Grigsby lives in Nevada City.


What to Do if there is an Attempted US Coup

We are people aligned with various local groups who are concerned that if President Donald Trump loses in the upcoming election he will refuse to concede power even if the results are clear. We are organizing locally, as are thousands of people around the country.

We see many warning signs. When asked repeatedly, Trump has refused to commit to respecting election results. In July, when Chris Wallace asked, he answered, “I have to see… No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no.” The other day he again started people chanting at a rally: “Twelve more years,” despite the eight-year Constitutional limit.

All of us should be invested in the integrity of the democratic process, respect for election results, and the peaceful transition (or continuation) of power. Those of us who are looking at this challenge ask each of you to consider what you might do if this threat becomes reality. Most coup attempts fail if the people take immediate action. To find out how to be prepared, see below.

We ask our local elected representatives to prepare for this contingency by 1) establishing standards to protect voters from intimidation, 2) counting every vote before certifying results, and 3) directing local law enforcement officials to respect people’s First Amendment rights and protect those rights from individuals and groups who may threaten them.

There are many possible scenarios for election interference. The Trump Administration has been hard at work at voter suppression, including restricting vote-by-mail during the pandemic. Mail continues to be delayed. The most likely scenario is this: Trump will show a lead on Election Night, since his supporters are expected to vote in person, with his lead diminishing as mail-in votes are counted, perhaps stretching into days or even weeks. Trump could claim early victory, resulting in contested results, state-by-state power struggles, demonstrations, social media chaos, and inflammatory tweets by Trump. This could be just the beginning of a chaotic election and aftermath.

A Trump Campaign adviser said, “There will be a count on election night, that count will shift over time, and the results when the final count is given will be challenged as being inaccurate, fraudulent — pick your word.” For months Trump has been setting the stage for this claim. At the Republican National Convention, he said, “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.”

An article for the November 2020 Atlantic Magazine “What if Trump Refuses to Concede?” was published online early because of its urgency. It recommends:

“…If you are at relatively low risk for COVI9, volunteer to work at the polls. If you know people who are open to reason, spread word that it is normal for the results to keep changing after Election Night. If you manage news coverage, anticipate extra­constitutional measures, and position reporters and crews to respond to them. If you are an election administrator, plan for contingencies you never had to imagine before. If you are a mayor, consider how to deploy your police to ward off interlopers with bad intent. If you are a law-enforcement officer, protect the freedom to vote. If you are a legislator, choose not to participate in chicanery. If you are a judge on the bench in a battleground state, refresh your acquaintance with election case law. If you have a place in the military chain of command, remember your duty to turn aside unlawful orders. If you are a civil servant, know that your country needs you more than ever to do the right thing when you’re asked to do otherwise.”

Finally, join us in signing the following pledge at choosedemocracy.us. Tens of thousands have already signed:

  1. We will vote.
  2. We will refuse to accept election results until all the votes are counted.
  3. We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coup is attempted.
  4. If we need to, we will shut down this country to protect the integrity of the democratic process.

Those of us who are working together so far include: Sharon Delgado, Guarionex Delgado, Janie Kesselman, Mikos Fabersunne, Avila Lowrance, Brian Fry, Shirley Osgood, Jesse Golden, Joyce Banzhaf, Peter Galbraith. We invite you to join us. Find updated information on Earth Justice Ministries Facebook Page, which also appears on the website at https://earth-justice.org.

In closing, from The Atlantic: “Take agency. An election cannot be stolen unless the American people, at some level, acquiesce.”











No Safe Way to Protest

The Reverend David Nui, pastor Nevada City United Methodist Church

(Regarding whether we should hold a demonstration for racial justice after violent white supremacists attacked a previous one.)

This is a challenging time and we cannot allow the injustices and the violence to dominate our lives and our community. Fear is what the counter-peace protestors want to instill in anyone who wants to voice their grievances regarding the systemic racism that has taken over everything; from politics to the economy, to education and, yes, unfortunately, even Christianity.

For any action to have the impact that is called for, TIMING is everything. Action is needed when everyone perks up and takes notice. To wait until it is safe is a figment of one’s imagination. Was there ever a peaceful protest not met with violence? Was there ever a peaceful protest welcomed by those whose hearts are filled with hatred and racism? There is no safe way to protest. There is no right way to protest. There has not been one in the past and there will be none in the future. That is just the nature of protesting. If one wants to have safe actions, it would be best to have that action in one’s own backyard or living room. One must accept the risks of going against the grain. Many of the rights that we are taking for granted today were fought for with blood, sweat, and tears. That is the kind of risk that one has to take if a real change is demanded. Otherwise, the safest place is home where the change needed will never come by.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” MLK Jr.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

Pastor Dave Niu

Nevada City United Methodist Church

An open letter to our Christian clergy

Becky Gillespie: An open letter to our Christian clergy

The times we live in echo the words of God speaking to prophet Isaiah, “Whom shall I send?” People are crying out for racial justice in our country, and Christian clergy are standing on the sidelines.

Nevada County may not have the diversity present in other areas of our country or even state, but there is racial injustice here and now is a time to speak and respond.

I am not an outsider; I grew up locally. I am a Nevada Union High School graduate. I came home to raise a family and to get involved in our community, including with one of our local churches. I write this out of my love for Nevada County and my fellow Christians.

I joined with many demonstrators for weeks this summer to bring attention to injustice. I attended the peaceful vigil for Black Lives in Nevada City. Most recently, I marched with BLM protesters in the streets of Nevada City. We encountered the rage of counter-protesters (I witnessed them shove a woman against a vehicle, rip signs from protesters’ hands, and yell at families with young children). Yet we marched on, even as the mob followed us on foot and in vehicles.

Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering that outright rejection.

With the exception of the evening vigil, where I encountered a clergyman from one church, our local clergy have been absent from standing up against racial injustice. The more I have prayed and reflected these past months, the more I understand why I feel like I am a homeless Christian in Nevada County. The Christian leaders of our community have been far too silent amidst the calls for justice. Dr. King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” specifically to his fellow clergy. He wrote it 57 years ago. The message is timeless; we need to hear it today.

Today, as in 1963, it seems that the greatest stumbling block toward freedom and justice is the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”… Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering that outright rejection.

When faced with the counter-protesters that Sunday in Nevada City, their ill will was obvious. I am completely stunned however, by the lukewarm acceptance from our own Christian clergy.

King continues: “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”

The present tension we face is a necessary phase of transition to establish justice for all God’s children, including our sisters and brothers of color. I ask our Christian clergy; Will you hear us? Again, human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God … Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

I ask our Christian clergy; Will you act in Faith?

It is never too late to embrace positive peace. Go forth from our worship halls and into the world, actively living God’s words of love and justice for all. Courageously show us all how to set God’s words into action.

I ask our Christian clergy; Will you lead us?

Becky Gillespie is a resident of Nevada City.

Becky Gillespie: An open letter to our Christian clergy