We've Got Ninety-Nine Problems but the Root Is ONE

By Teodrose Fikre / ghionjournal.com
Mar 16, 2018
We've Got Ninety-Nine Problems but the Root Is ONE

Political and ideological differences prevent us from seeing that our hopes and frustrations are interconnected.

I know it seems like the left and the right are irreconcilable when it comes to the way the two sides see the problems of our nation and the issues we need to tackle as a society. I could probably list 99 areas of disagreement when it comes to the way conservatives and liberals view politics and by extension understand the world. One is better off trying to scale Mount Himalaya with UGG boots on rather than attempt to bridge the gap between the left and the right.

But lend me your time my fellow Americans, what if there really was an area of agreement between the two political wings? Imagine the sea change that could occur and in time lead to a synergy between the two disparate demographics? What if the 99 areas of disagreement most of us can enumerate without too much of an effort are all symptoms of a central disease that is mauling all of us? This is not to diminish the radical variances between the societal, racial and political divide in America, especially given the toxic state of our discourse where it is all too common for differences of opinions to be greeted with rhetorical scud missiles.

Yet, the more I observe the way we keep declaring wars on each other and using blow torches upon fellow neighbors and citizens, the more I’m convinced that this level of animosity is borne from frustration and helplessness. When people feel disempowered, they have a tendency to take it out on others who think like them even if the recipients of odium have outlooks that are polar opposite from the givers. We tend to hate those things which remind us of us after all. So I ask people on all sides to pause and reflect and then think on the ideas expressed in the next paragraph.

The issues most of us are pissed off about is rooted in economic injustice. What I’m espousing is not some new idea or a radical notion that has never been expressed before. Martin Luther King realized this during the later stages of his life and decided to stop focusing on social justice and pivoted towards economic justice. He tried to galvanize “white” and “black”, Democrats and Republicans, to come together on the core issue of economic equality.

Historians and opinion leaders are always trying to erase this part of MLK’s legacy; that is because the establishment does not want people on the edges to unite in collective pursuit of equality. After all, there is money to be made in tearing apart our nation but there is rarely a profit in being a healer and gathering people in the middle. By the middle, I’m not referring to centrism and the morally bankrupt “moderate” Democrats and Republicans who are just as complicit in the pillaging of America as their more radical counterparts in the District of Caligula. I’m referring to the legacy of Dr. King who tried to unite the poor and the struggling masses on all sides in order to fight for their economic self-interest.

This audacious attempt to organize a poor people’s campaign and create a coalition of working and fed up Americans that led to a death sentence by way of a COINTELPRO sponsored assassin’s bullet. Where King’s life was snuffed out and decades of indoctrination has whitewashed his aspirations, the truth of his message still holds true today as it did in the 1960’s. I honestly believe that the most ardent Donald Trump loyalist and the most avid Barack Obama adherent can find a common cause if we distill social issues to the following four areas.

  1. Working and poor people should be taxed less
  2. Economic policies should focus on building up our communities and localities instead of enriching corporations and globalists
  3. We should incentivize small businesses and entrepreneurship instead of transferring wealth to the 1% and tilting the scale in the favor of multinational corporations
  4. Power should be returned to the people and to our localities instead of having bureaucrats and technocrats in DC control most facets of our lives

If you read those four points to the left and the right and all stripes in between, I would venture to say that the vast majority of people will agree. Sadly, we keep fighting over social issues, most of which that reside in the realm of personal choices. Why don’t we give red meat issues a rest for a while? What people do in their private lives–as long as they are not hurting children or infringing on our rights–should not be up for discussion. Let us focus instead on the common denominator of economic inequality that is hemorrhaging all of us. #RootIsOne


“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Teodrose Fikre is the editor and founder of the Ghion Journal. A published author and prolific writer, a once defense consultant was profoundly changed by a two-year journey of hardship and struggle. Going from a life of upper-middle class privilege to a time spent with the huddled masses taught Teodrose a valuable lesson in the essence of togetherness and the need to speak against injustice.

Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, 
Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.

The Ghion Journal is a reader and viewer funded endeavor. They disavow corporate contributions and depend only on the support of their audience to sustain them. Please consider making a small monthly pledge to support their work on Patreon. We believe that community media should be funded by the community. Thank you in advance for your kindness. - Films For Action 

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