I write a lot about the grand experiment that is America. It was and is a great idea that was flawed from inception. We keep working on it, we keep trying to reach perfection, we get closer and sometimes, some of us believe we have arrived.
Then we have a 2016 election.
And those who thought we were close to realizing the ideals written in our foundational documents realized we were not. And those who knew we still had a ways to go recognized the relentlessness of the racism, sexism and violence rooted at our foundation.
Yet we persist in resisting complacency and accepting the unacceptable. And in 2017 elections, Americans who believe in what America stands for are fully engaged.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” ~ Edward Abbey
I watched some of the PBS series on Italian Americans last weekend, and I was struck most by the fear this new group of immigrants generated in the European Americans who were already established in this country. Like the Irish who had come earlier in the century, Italian Americans faced negative stereotyping, discrimination and violence.
I was reminded that the struggle to live up to the ideals of our founding has existed since America came to exist. I was also reminded that the achievement of ‘whiteness” available to these groups seems to have robbed them of their collective memories of prejudice and distrust experienced by their ancestors.
If they remembered, would that change their attitudes?
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.” ~ Coretta Scott King
I suspect the one third of Americans who still approve of #45 is the same one third who frequently invite the one third they’ve identified as the “others” to just leave America. Or if they stay, to be denied full access to citizenship, preferably while serving time or detained in an ICE center….and servicing the government for free. OR be exterminated.
And if the remaining one third is disengaged, that could happen.
“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” ~ Haile Selassie
When I see old images where hate is clearly emanating from easily identifiable faces, I wonder about their descendants…do they know PawPaw and MeMaw were full blown racists? And if they do, what do they think? How do they feel? What do they say?
“Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger; if you try to make it better, you’ll only make it worse.” Proverbs 19:19, MSG
There is no celebration of Nazi Germany in Germany. In the immediate aftermath of WWII, most references to the Nazis were purged, at least in public. It took a couple of generations to look honestly at the hate that led to the horror but in the 70s and 80s, Germans took a hard look at their collective contributions to the holocaust and decided who they had been wasn’t who they wanted to be.
It has been approximately 180 years since the American government started forcing native-born Americans from their ancestral homelands in the southeastern to designated Indian Territory.
It has been 153 years since the War of Rebellion when the Americans occupying that stolen land, committed treason rather than free an enslaved people.
I wonder if the land of the free and the home of the brave will ever have the courage to look honestly at its own history of oppression?
I saw the #ThisIsNotUS hashtag trending this past weekend and was gratified to see so many pointing out the obvious…that white men carrying torches, white men beating people of color, white men murdering those with whom they disagree is about as American as it gets.
“Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be.” ~ Bruce D. Schneider, Energy Leadership
Inhale What IS, Exhale Illusion… Inhale Knowledge, Exhale Willful Ignorance… Inhale Transformation, Exhale Status Quo… Just Breathe
This week, while some Americans were celebrating the American Experiment, the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were marking the 1-year anniversary of their state-sanctioned deaths.
While many Americans over indulged, over 2 million Americans, almost 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population, provided almost free labor to corporations focused on profits.
Many American’s seem to accept these realities as indictments against other Americans. They cannot see their connection to or comprehend their complicity in the systemic and relentless racism that is the reality for many in this country.
“No one is free until we are all free.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was reminded, once again, while visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture that Americans of color have fought just as hard and sacrificed just as much as those who would exclude us from claiming America as ours…