Every person who gets interviewed on television says the same thing. It’s the current mantra about “the U.S.A.,” that these hooligans who rioted in our Capitol are not really who we are. Not really. Just, well, maybe sometimes.
I think this is exactly who we are. We prefer other nations not know the truth. It’s embarrassing. After all, we’ve stood in front of the world and told them WE are the TRUE protectors of liberty — despite being the last people to deliver real liberty (will we ever?). Jim Crow was officially “gone” just 55 years ago. Although it’s not legal these days, it’s definitely not gone or even close. Black parents still need to warn their children to be very cautious because the police don’t seem particularly worried about shooting them. In last week’s attempted coup, people carrying swords and crowbars and lead pipes were deemed “okay.” Meanwhile, Black protesters carrying a cell phones or nothing shot in the back — multiple times. Being Black is dangerous. In many ways, the current climate is worse than Jim Crow because there are no rules. At least back then, you knew what you were “allowed” to do — and what would get you killed. Now? It’s a crap shoot.
As someone who ISN’T Black, I can’t see any other reason why so many Black men get shot other than being Black. My husband is Black (or, as our granddaugher says, dark beige). He’s never been shot, but he has been roughed up many times. All the excuses I’ve heard about how they thought that can of Fresca or a cell phone was a weapon ring hollow. Increasingly hollow each time it happens.
Americans scream about liberty for two reasons: (1) Because someone suggested controlling guns, or (2) they’ve been asked to do something inconvenient which doesn’t directly benefit them, even if it will benefit everyone else.
The above photograph was something we never saw until Jan. 6, 2021. The Confederate flag, inside the United States US Capitol. Even during the Civil War, this never occurred. Shame, shame, shame on anyone who cheered this. The comment I keep hearing about how “we come together in times of danger” has been clearly disproved. Not only don’t we come together, we attack anyone who doesn’t agree with us.
Where was everyone while we’ve been heading towards half a million dead from COVID? Which citizens were worried protecting us? Not our so-called president or congress. Not even the police or military. Say what you want, but this is a country largely comprised of self-centered, greedy people whose only interest is their own welfare and bank account. When and how did greed become the overwhelming issue for so many people? How did so many Americans — who claim some version of Christianity as their religious base — act so completely antithetically to what they (supposedly) believe? What happened to conscience? What happened to a basic understanding of right and wrong? Where did compassion go?
When did we become such awful people? Is it our failure to appropriately educate our young? Is it the long term result of ever allowing slavery and continuing to allow it long after every other “modern” country had banned it?
If you think I have an answer, you are wrong. I was raised by very liberal parents. I was taught that all people of every religion and any color were equal. No one every used bigoted wording in my home. Never, ever. I never heard it in my home. I was raised to believe that we were all obligated to pay a little more so everyone could benefit and have a better life. That’s how Garry was raised and that’s how I was raised and that’s what we believed growing up and that’s what we both believe now.
I thought everyone believed this. I felt that everyone who had hit at least five years had an intrinsic understanding of right and wrong. That this was embedded in our DNA. But I’m wondering because I see so many people for whom the concept of “fairness” is meaningless. They simply don’t care whether it’s fair or not. All they want to know is if it’s good for them and if it isn’t? Screw you. Screw the world.
“I want what I deserve and if I have to crush you in getting it? Too bad!”
I’m ashamed of my country. Humiliated by how we’ve rejected the obvious norms by which other nations function. We still claim to be “the greatest nation on earth,” but we aren’t even close. I’m not sure there really is a “greatest” country, but there are a lot countries who treat their citizens a lot better than Americans. So much of our power and wealth is because the biggest wars in human history weren’t fought here. While Europe and Asia were bombed until entire cities vanished, we got to keep all our stuff. When the war was over, they had nothing, but we had all our factories, businesses, and homes. Europe and Asia had to dig their way out of heaps of rubble. Maybe if those wars were fought here, we’d have a different attitude. We would certainly have a different economy.
At the very least, I would like to be able to feel a semblance of pride in my country. I would like to be able to respect my government, not cower in shame. Wouldn’t you like to feel the same way? Whatever it takes, we need to fix it. I don’t want to die with this as my last memory of the U.S.A.
I guess great minds think alike because I found a similar (same title, but even better researched and written from a Black perspective) article in “The Undefeated.” You should read it. Coincidentally, they used the same news photo I used. Their article is a good read and I think there are probably more like this. I have heard reporters say essentially the same thing as well as my husband, who was a reporter for more than 45 years.