January 11, 2021
NASW-DC (the national office) issued a press release endorsing President Trump’s rapid removal from office, either by way of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution or via the Congressional impeachment process.
Insisting on “accountability,” the brief statement reads, in part – “The despicable attempted coup of our government by a white supremacist mob on Wednesday failed. The election has been certified. But President Trump bears responsibility for this insurrection that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. He must be held accountable for this and his shameful attempts to subvert the will of the people and disrupt a peaceful transfer of power.”
Nothing wrong with the statement as it stands (even if it does sound like it was written by a Nancy Pelosi staffer, and at the moment is probably the least controversial position even the most mildly progressive organization might take). But what social workers will need going forward extends well beyond a position on ejecting a racist, authoritarian president. We need astute analysis: analysis both of how the nation degenerated into the mess that it presently is – not just a deeply polarized tinderbox, but a political system seemingly incapable of responding to the needs of tens of millions of increasingly desperate and frightened Americans – and analysis of how we’re going to build our way to the better, more just, humane and secure world that we so very much want and need.
Getting rid of a toxic president is only a first step, if that. Trump may go, but “Trumpism” will persist, along with the deep fissures and structural contradictions of a crisis-ridden American in decline. How should social workers respond? What is to be done?
What say you, NASW?