Things must make sense to me. I was brought up to think this way. For every question, there must be an answer. And every answer must make sense. I just can’t come upon an answer that doesn’t answer my question but is there just for the sake of providing me a response.
But the circumstance that surrounds our country doesn’t make sense. Many of us don’t know how we got here. When I was a child, I never worried about what was on the news. Cable stations didn’t exist when I was a kid. The news had been relegated to the main networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC. If you didn’t catch the news at 11 then you were just out of luck…until the next day.
But how did we get here? Why are we here and what can we do about it?
Right now, our fractured country is teetering on the brink of losing the very democracy that it was founded upon. And it would be easy to lay this at the feet of the 45th president. But the simple truth of the matter is it isn’t his fault. Not all of it.
Hatred has been loosed like a pack of demons. Never in my lifetime did I think that I would see the amount of hatred that we all are bearing witness to today. And yet, the hatred has been here long before I was born. It simmered, coming to a slow boil until someone came along and took it mainstream.
I can’t blame the far right exclusively for the mess our country is in. That would be too easy. But to understand how we got here; you must examine a few things…unpack them like a traveler at the end of a long journey.
Hatred has always been in the picture. Oh, sure it may have gone silent for a little while, but most of us knew that it was still there. I was lured into thinking that somehow, hatred had taken a back seat even though job opportunities were still hard to come by depending on what job you wanted. Housing was an issue, depending on where you wanted to live. And schooling was an issue, depending on where you wanted to send your kids to get educated.
Hatred, resentment, envy, and anger raged around us. It was always there; all you had to do was open your eyes.
Well, my eyes are wide open. And I have an idea as to why we are going through what we are going through.
Our nation is becoming blacker and browner. Black and brown people are being properly represented in television, film, music and business opportunities. It almost appears as if we have come to acquire equality. And this prospect terrifies some white people because equality to some can feel like repression to another.
And with that terror comes the questions that I’m sure have been discussed over many a dinner table: Where will we go? Can we find the right school for our sons and daughters that will give them the appropriate leg up when they enter the job market? Will our neighborhood be safe?
All these questions are valid.
The answers to these questions will almost always come at someone’s expense. After all, these conversations around the dinner table aren’t meant for people that don’t have power. It’s meant for people that claim they do.
And yet if you asked these people why they wanted to move, what type of schools were they interested in and just exactly what do they mean when they say “safe” neighborhoods the answer would be simple: It’s a neighborhood with no POC (People of Color) in it. It’s a school that don’t really have POC’s in it. The word “safe” is code for white.
This is not to say that all white folks think this way. I’m smart enough to know that. But enough of them don’t want to interact with me or anyone that looks like me.
Now my opinion about this very topic is that 1/3 of this country would like to return to a calmer and gentler era…an era where there were no mass shootings. They would like to return to an era where POC had their place and they have theirs and the two never intermingled.
Our current political climate reflects a group of people that would like to return to that era and to be damned with everything and everyone else. What is overwhelming, almost breathtaking is how anger, hatred and resentment have become mainstream.
I am taken aback by the sheer ugliness of humanity on full display for the entire world to see. We have no empathy for the immigrants. We want to take away a woman’s right to choose when she can start a family or not to have children at this time in her life. We are on a trajectory of taking away the hard-earned rights of the LGBTQ Community so that not only can we not enter into marriage, but we may also not be able to have a consensual same sex relationship.
It was never intended for a minority to gain control over the majority and yet here we are, standing on the precipice of that very circumstance becoming a reality.
Then if you add into the mix of all of this the Evangelical Christians that decides that they have the right to tell others how to live their lives in the name of the Lord; all the while acting in the most un-Christlike of behaviors. Religion was never meant to be weaponized to repress anyone. And Christ, (according to what I’ve read in the Bible) would have dined with people like them and myself because we are all deeply flawed and in need of salvation. One was never meant to be better than the other in the name of religion.
And yet if you look around with eyes and hearts wide open, you will see the effects of hatred, repression, lies, deceit, warmongering and unrest. Our world is one great ball of confusion. The war in Ukraine comes to mind.
It seems like dictators have decided that the riches of the world is up for grabs and there for the taking. Our democracy will cease to exist if we as a people don’t wake up and realize what is at stake.
Just like the hundreds of people that stormed our capitol prepared to take back a presidency that they believed to be stolen from the 45th president of the United States; we who are the majority must be prepared to fight for what is rightfully ours. We as a people have the right to live in peace. Our children should feel safe to go to school without being shot. We have the right to live in a land where we love and care for one another, even if it is in name only.
Our nation was not founded on a lie and our elected officials are expected to behave in a manner that compliments our constitution; not defile it. We were meant to be our brother’s keeper, not executioner.
I would like to believe that most of the citizens of our country stand for good; that when one of us is repressed, we all are repressed. It was never meant for the ultra-wealthy to govern in lieu of our elected officials.
And yet, here we are teetering on the brink of losing everything that we thought we had in place…rights that we thought would be forever ours.
We cannot let our democracy slide into minority rule. We cannot let the smaller group who accuses us of doing the very thing that they are doing right before our eyes, win by fraudulent means because if they do, everything that was right with us will be gone for at least two generations if not more.
We cannot be a nation built on fear, lies and resentment. We are better than that. At least this is what I hope.
Friends, it has never been more critical for us to exercise our voice and right to participate in the democratic process.
I want my nephews and nieces to inherit a world that is not one of anger and fear. I imagine that you want that for your children as well.
So, let’s not sit these next two elections out because we believe that the minority is going to cheat and change the face of the nation once they come to power.
We need to get busy and do what we need to do. It’s time to put our noses to the grindstone and unite as a people and protect our sisters, our white allies, our immigrants, and people of color. We can be a land flowing with milk and honey.
So, lets choose that this fall and in 2024!
~ J.L. Whitehead