I’m mentally, psychologically, emotionally tired. And I’ll bet I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who has had enough and is looking for a way to feel better, better about today and better about tomorrow, and better about themselves.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” (Howard Beale in Network, 1975)
So what’s the answer? There are several, one or more of which will be the outcome of what we are facing today.
The year 2020 will go down as a pivotal time in the world. Not only are we dealing with a pandemic and facing a major economic downturn, but now we’re watching and/or participating in protests, in some cases violent, over racism, social injustice, and police brutality.
I think the only way we can deal with this is to understand each issue individually, and then deal with them collectively. Until we can agree that the best way to get beyond these trying times in the world is to step back, agree to disagree, and move on.
Let’s first agree on a couple of things. Firstly, this discussion will be about the United States, but could easily be extended to include every nation in the world. Secondly, we must agree that racism is not just a black & white issue, but a subject that should include all people, regardless of skin color, religious beliefs, economic status, or whatever other label you would care to plaster on them. And thirdly, these are my ideas. Whether you agree with them or not is your problem, not mine. So, let’s begin.
I want to first point out that we cannot change history, no matter how much we would like to. It is what it is, so live with it.
In An Indigenous People’s History Of The United States Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz writes, “The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism—the founding of a state based on the ideology of white supremacy, the widespread practice of African slavery, and a policy of genocide and land theft. Those who seek history with an upbeat ending, a history of redemption and reconciliation, may look around and observe that such a conclusion is not visible, not even in utopian dreams of a better society.” We cannot change this glaring fact. The United States was founded by white men for the benefit of white men.
Is that right? Hell no, it’s not right. But it happened. We cannot change that fact. All we can do is agree that it occurred and agree to move on.
Let me explain how I see our country’s founding. It’s not all nice and rosy like we were taught in school. This country was founded by people with money and land to their name in such a way that it keeps separated those with from those without. We do not have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If you’re a member of the one percenters, then that’s a pretty true statement, it’s all about you, by you, and for you. But not so much for the rest of us.
That’s our history, folks. The white man pressed his way across this continent, dragging the African slave behind him, practicing a policy of genocide, taking out nation after nation of indigenous peoples. All for the acquisition of land. Land meant power. Power formed this country. And if you weren’t white, you didn’t count.
That’s our history. That’s how this country was founded. Accept the fact that we cannot change this. Accept it and let’s move on. We can make things better, but not by dwelling on the past. Just know that it’s there, learn from it so that we don’t repeat it in any fashion, and let’s step into the future together, equal as human beings without regard to anything that might classify us into groups within that larger classification of human.
Before I get to how this might be accomplished let me address my tiredness. I never thought I’d live to see it a second time, but I am—civil unrest that sprang from racial injustice. And I’m tired of it. We didn’t fix the problem fifty years ago because our government, and elected government officials, chose to ignore it. The one percenters chose to squash it. And we, the people, chose to ignore it.
I’m tired of our elected officials using their office, the power we give them through voting them to that prestigious place, as a way to lift themselves towards the plateau of richness, that place where only the wealthy reside.
I’m tired of people who use politics as a lifelong career. Let me take clarify that. I’m not tired of the political process. I’m tired of the people who abuse that process. My focus is on Washington, DC. The Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on whether to flush the toilet when there’s a turd floating in it if we gave them two years to reach a decision. That’s not a way to run a country, and our founding fathers would agree. They envisioned a nation of citizens who would serve and then go back home and allow someone else to do their civic duty. But our founding fathers really did not allow that to occur. It sounded good on paper, but in practice it was a farce. Remember that those men who founded this nation were of the land holding gentry, and a proud member of the wealthy of the time, and white.
I’m tired of a president who uses his position for personal gain. I’m tired of a president who says one thing, and then blatantly does another. I’m tired of a president who treats others with disrespect and stoops to the name calling tantrums of a third grader. I’m tired of a president who did not have what it takes to serve when asked, but touts of his greatness without being great.
I’m tired. I’m just plain tired.
So, should I just accept the fact that that is the way our government is and move on? Should I just accept the fact that our country was founded on racism, genocide, and white supremacy and move on? Should I just accept the fact that life as I’ve grown to know it will forever now be different? So many should I’s.
Let me begin answering some of those should I’s by saying that yes, life is going to be different for me for as long into the future as I care to venture. This pandemic we’re living through has forced us to make changes. Many of those changes will remain for a long time, maybe forever.
Should I accept the fact that our country was founded on racism, genocide, and white supremacy? It’s the only thing I can do. I cannot change that. I cannot even attempt to try. It is what it is. Live with it. Learn from it. And let’s move on.
I keep writing, “let’s move on.” But how? We’ve got a racist, misogynist for a president who is using the office for personal gain. We’ve got a Senate and a House that can’t get anything meaningful accomplished. Half of them blindly follow a president they don’t agree with because they’re afraid he will speak poorly of them. The other half can’t seem to get their heads out of their asses long enough to do anything about much of anything.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t figured this out yet, it’s about time to open your eyes and take a good look. Our government is corrupt. Our society needs a massive alteration. Our culture needs blinders and then a desire to see others as people and not members of a group of people.
So, what do we do about it? We have a few options.
We can begin work immediately to change our culture. The job will be long and hard. It will probably take more than one generation and will not be 100% successful. We begin with dialogue at the highest level. But, we must have people with open minds on both sides of the issue that are willing to take on this major task. But, somehow, we must begin.
What about our corrupt government? We can wait until November, if we last that long, and let our voting power speak for us. To make meaningful change we will have to understand that this process will involve more than one voting cycle, and will not be 100% successful.
Or, we can….
I’m going to let one of our founding fathers speak for me.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1787)
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.