I begin my days by turning on the television and watching the news. Slowly, I am trying to start my day another way. Maybe I can get up a little bit earlier and go for my daily walk before it gets too hot and muggy to do so. Or I could have coffee and a light breakfast while having a chat with my husband.
What I realize is that watching the news may not be the best way to begin my workday, especially given the current news cycle where just about everything seems to be bleak and foreboding.
For the middle class, the fight for our very survival has never been greater. We are living in an era where our two-party system of governance is broken…possibly beyond repair. The system that has worked for decades has been shattered because one of the parties in our government refuses to participate fairly in the system that has worked for most of us in the past. I say most of us because we know that the very system that I speak of was not designed for everyone to live, love, and prosper under the constitution. The system was designed for the prosperity of a few at the expense of many.
In the era of the fifties, people could go to drives-ins, go to drive up restaurants and order a burger and a malt by a teen-waitress on wheels, enjoy a high school soph hop and get awarded pins of merits by the cub, boy, or girl scouts. Unfortunately, this era did not include everyone, and it wasn’t meant to. This was how the system was intended. This time of innocence did not include people of color. We were bitterly omitted; forced unwillingly to sit on the sidelines of an America that did not want us, nor did they lend value to our communities.
In the era of the sixties, people of color fought for civil rights and won, even if it was in name only. We fought for the right to be seen and heard. Gone were the days of black and brown singers having to have someone else pose for the covers of their albums because the sight of our faces offended a few. Gone were the days of segregated schools. We could participate in the democratic process by exercising our right to vote thus allowing our voices to be heard.
The seventies era gave way to the rights for women. They were no longer considered to be the property of men. Their places were no longer in the home where they would have to be barefoot and pregnant. They could do more than tend to the children, fix dinner, and serve their husbands a cocktail all while wearing an apron, high heels, and a string of pearls.
The seventies also gave way to the LGBTQ rights in the form of the first riot in Greenwich Village, NY where the police would habitually raid gay establishments, shutting them down until June 28th, 1969, when the gay community fought back…and won.
And for a while, all seemed right with the world.
But reality has a funny way of sneaking in and backhanding you with the truth and you wake up realizing that your experience was a thinly veiled lie because like it or not, we are being slowly pushed back into the era of the fifties. And like it or not, there may be little we can do about it.
With the Supreme Court’s nullification of Roe v Wade, women no longer have the right to choose to have an abortion should the circumstances present itself in certain states. In some states, it doesn’t matter if the woman was the victim of incest or rape.
And the Supreme Court is now mulling over whether to come after LGBTQ rights which includes the right to marry. It is highly possible that it may be illegal to be in a same sex or interracial relationship. What’s worse is that the decision is being made in the vacuum of the perceived religious values of a few.
They have already made the decision to take away a woman’s right to choose regardless of the blowback that they are receiving.
Right now, former disgraced president Trump is backing candidates that believe in the big lie, that the 2020 election was stolen from him. He is systematically installing candidates that will make it easier for him to overturn the outcome of a presidential election should he lose in 2024.
This should not surprise anyone since it is painfully obvious that he attempted to remain in power at all costs and it appears as if there was an extremely detailed plot to assist the former president in this regard.
America may not be able to survive another Trump presidency. Images of his constantly playing golf have been seared into the memory of many Americans. We also realize that there are many people who support the twice impeached, disgraced former president; and with that knowledge comes the fact that Trumpism is alive and well in this country.
Hatred has become the norm. Candidates that support the big lie will behave much like the disgraced former president and this has also become the new landscape of the Republican party. We are currently living in an era where democracy hangs on by a mere thread. If we are not careful, autocracy will take the place of our democratic norms.
And what is frightening about all of this is that the majority seems to be held hostage by the reasoning of a few. And the few seem to believe in conspiracy theories and misinformation as opposed to the rule of law, the will of the American people and the guidelines of the Constitution.
It appears as if we are doomed unless…
We all get out and vote. We must act as if our very lives depend not just on this election but for every single election moving forward. We cannot trust that the Republicans (and for that fact, the Democrats) to do the right thing that is good for the American people. We cannot trust that our two-party system will do the right thing by all of us. We already know that the Republicans plan on stealing the election. They have been taught by Donald Trump, using his behavior as a blueprint to reflect what has worked and what hasn’t by saying ahead of time that an election has been rigged or that the election was stolen to cast doubt on the electoral process.
With the deck stacked against us, we can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines because we did not get everything we wanted. All of us: old, young, male, female, gay and straight, Democratic, or Progressive, need to get out the vote because our very way of life depends on it.
~ J.L. Whitehead