Is there anything more toxic and depressing than systemic, organizational cancer? Anyone who has ever been a part of an organization ravaged by systemic cancer can tell you that it’s an environment where nothing good can grow. The people not driven out will turn on each other at the drop of a hat. Some, in a manner of self-preservation, will check out emotionally. In order to cope, they become detached, almost zombie-like. Such places are not pretty or pleasant. I’m afraid America is becoming eaten up by systemic, organizational cancer. I see that the cancer has taken root in our government and many of its systems–the president and the myriad scandals swirling around in his orbit–our electoral system–special interest influence. I see it spreading from the government to our religious institutions–our immigration system–our health care system–our education system. Systemic, organizational cancer is metastasizing and America’s health–our very future–hangs in the balance.
America’s systemic, organizational cancer first took root in our government structures. The very fact that our Congress is filled with career politicians can be seen as an early symptom. Politics was never meant to be a career. Our founding fathers, nearly to a man, reviled their roles in government. They saw it as an unpleasant duty, not as a occupation. Most of them counted the days until they could return to private life and felt great relief when their political days were behind them. Today, many of our politicians view their civilian careers as mere stepping stones to a decades-long tenure in Washington D.C. When that began to happen, our government leaders became much more susceptible to corruption. Like Adam and Eve with the serpent, special interest money lure them like the forbidden fruit of Eden. We have reached the point where special interest and big finance runs this nation more than We the People. Even the very process by which we elect our president has become infected with systemic organizational cancer. The Electoral College, which was created in large part to protect the interests of slave holders, now has enslaved the will of the People to the whims of the tiny states whose ballots have taken on tremendously overinflated influence. As a consequence, the winner of the popular election seems less and less likely to win the White House. This phenomenon was taken to new levels when Trump lost the popular election by more than three million votes but still won a comfortable electoral victory–that’s systemic, organizational cancer in full effect. Now we see the cancer manifesting itself as scandal upon scandal–tumor after tumor–mounts within the Trump administration, while his small support base–mostly conservative evangelicals–continue to dig their heels in and support him as if he were sent by God Almighty to save us all.
The cancer is spreading into our immigration policy as DACA is facing a countdown for survival. Millions of productive members of American society, people who’ve lived here most of their lives, are quaking in fear as they await their fates. Many are already being rounded up and sent “back home” to a place they’ve never even called home. All this done as millions of conservative Christians cheer with glee–Make America Great Again–Americans are Dreamers, too! That’s systemic, organizational cancer.
Headlines this week in Indianapolis have been dominated by the tragic death of Colts player, Edwin Jackson, who was killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver–that driver happened to be an undocumented man from Guatemala. As soon as that detail broke, the right wing took to social media to politicize the tragedy. It didn’t take President Trump long to weigh in on Twitter.
“So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST.”-Trump on Twitter
This was a swift reaction and call to action after one tragic car accident. This from the same man who refuses to talk about change when dozens of people are killed by American terrorists with guns firing hundreds of rounds per minute into crowds. Here’s the detail about the car crash in Indianapolis that the Right fails to point out; the drunk driver, Manuel Orrego-Savala, had already been deported–TWICE–but came back. So, couldn’t we say that the immigration laws we already have don’t work…so what’s the point of more laws? Isn’t that the very narrative we hear from the right every time the topic of gun control comes up? That’s systemic, organizational cancer.
The cancer has spread to health care. President Obama passed an admittedly flawed Affordable Health Care Act. In spite of its flaws, millions of previously uninsured Americans finally had health care. In his zeal to disassemble every bit of the Obama legacy, Trump and his right-wing Congress, with the undying support of conservative Christians, rushed ahead to end the AHCA, putting millions of Americans again at risk of being uninsured. The tragic irony of that fact is that many of those who stood to lose coverage were from the poor areas of the Bible Belt where many of the most steadfast Trump supporters reside. They were complicit in stripping themselves of their own health care and many now are realizing the seriousness of that. That is systemic, organizational cancer.
The cancer has spread to education. The Right has been at war with public education for many years now. My own state of Indiana has been on the front lines of that war for years as I wrote about at length here. There is a huge push to privatize education through the voucher system. What this would ultimately lead to is a new age of segregation, since private schools can turn students away for any reason. It’s a not-so-secret mission to push Christian agenda into the curriculum. That’s might sound good to you, Christian friends, but whose brand of Christianity will the powers that be favor? Will it be yours? Be careful what you wish for. Meanwhile, the unfair accountability system tied to high stakes standardized testing is driving more and more teachers from the profession and a serious teacher shortage is looming on the horizon, in fact, it’s already here.. That is systemic, organization cancer.
America is sick.
We need healing.
God help us.