(The Guardian) -- In declaring a national emergency to fund an unnecessary border wall this month, Donald Trump has provoked a conversation about what the word “emergency” actually means.
Forget the manufactured border crisis, let’s talk about the real emergencies facing the nation today. Right now in America, there are 140 million people living in poverty or just one paycheck or emergency away from poverty. Thirty-seven million people live without healthcare and 62 million are paid less than a living wage. Fourteen million families cannot afford water and millions are living with poisoned water and without sanitation services. We suffer under an impoverished democracy that has less voting rights today than it did after the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.
In other words, there is a national emergency of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy. And it didn’t start with President Trump, though he is certainly making things worse. The truth is, neither party has done what we need to address this real emergency, despite the fact that our deepest religious and constitutional values compel us to care for the vulnerable, welcome the immigrant, pay workers what they deserve, and organize society around the needs of the poor.
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