You may not know me and, lately, I definitely do not know you. I refer to you as my brother and sister because I do believe, in a biblical sense, we all come from the same God or creative force. I am reaching out to you because I believe you are key to making our country great. Not great again, but, perhaps, great for the first time. Wouldn’t that be exciting and challenging?
Despite a spike in the economy and historic low unemployment rates (started under the administration of President Barack Obama)—our country is not great. Despite the relaxation, and in many areas outright elimination of regulations and record profits for many American corporations and the top 2% of our population—America is not great. Despite a renaissance of many urban centers in the U.S., the escalating value of commercial and residential real estate, and the strategic investment of capital in cities by global businesses—America is not great.
So, brother and sister, before you jump to the defense and perceive of my statements as “unpatriotic,” liberal leaning or even socialistic, hang with me for a minute and allow me to explain.
Our 45th President has destroyed whatever possibility we had toward greatness—and many of you have let him and support him to a fault. By doing so you are playing a major part in our country’s drift toward something akin to modern day fascism. This, in no way is great for our beloved country.
When he made racist remarks against Mexicans and bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia, you winked and looked the other way because you said he is a businessman who knows how to kick our economy into high gear. When he got into office and immediately attempted to impose an Islamic religious ban, you said, “give him a chance to exercise executive authority.”
When he fired James Comey and began doubting and criticizing American intelligence leaders and institutions publicly and internationally, you stood by his side; when he yanked the security clearance of John Brennan and threatened to do the same to others, including former U.S. Attorney Sally Yates; again, you gave him a pass.
Then last year when he refused to criticize neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Virginia, and recently referred to an African American woman whom he hired in the White House as “a low life. . . dog,” you, once again, took no public stance in opposition to his lack of civility or cultural and racial incompetence.
Then, on the evening of August 21, all hell broke loose. The President’s former campaign manager was found guilty of 8 felonies. His personal attorney pled guilty to 8 crimes that ranged from bank fraud to federal campaign violations. He implicated 45—the real orange man—in some of the crimes committed. As usual, 45 has denied wrongdoing and attempted to redirect the discussion to how well our economy is doing. Thus, far, my two Senators–both Republicans, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sen. Tom Perdue have said nothing. Governor Nathan Deal, not a word. The Republican nominee for Governor, who received 45’s endorsement for Governor, lips are sealed. Democrat Stacey Abrams has spoken out against the beleaguered orange man, but, oh, right, she’s a Democrat.
In the upcoming State elections, if the last few elections hold true, virtually every Republican who votes, and 82 percent of all White voters in the state of Georgia, will do likewise. They will cast their votes for leaders who support 45. This takes my breath away.
Now, back to my earlier statement regarding America being great. The potential for America’s greatness always resided in its ability to “perfect” its “imperfect” Union. The potential for greatness resided in its being a beacon of light for self-rule, entrepreneurism, and Democracy. Despite its history of slavery, Jim Crow, and present day institutionalized racism and patriarchy, any day if the consciousness of the majority of citizens matured, America could improve itself. It could alter institutions of oppression and exclusion and radically restructure its economy to close the disparity of income and wealth. These would be essential steps toward greatness.
Somewhere within the idea of a great America is the closely held notion of the dignity of all humans, including our newest brown immigrants, and certainly their children who arrived here as the result of risks taken by courageous parents determined to provide a better life for their children akin to what was afforded other American immigrants throughout the 20th century.
Republican brothers and sisters, stop blaming your black and brown fellow Americans for everything you desire, but lack, in this economy—a system built on the backs of my ancestors exclusively for your advantage. Democracy is sacred to us because we have never had it in its truest sense, and neither have most of you.
But we all can have it, and here is how:
First, stop the momentum of 45 that’s taking us to scary places of Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, and White Nationalism. Don’t let him trump (no pun intended) the Rule of Law. My biggest fear of his overtures and flirtations with Putin is they might be plotting a Hitler and Mussolini thing—one world ruled by ruthless dictators who punish dissidents, shut down the free press, eliminate scapegoats, and suspend the Rule of Law. All of this happening under the watchful eyes of, what we referred to once under former President Richard Nixon as, the silent majority.
Second, do not let our elected officials get away with being silent while 45 takes us down this path. Do not mistake the cyclical rebound of our economy (with its low, stagnant wages) fool us into thinking that the current boom has anything to with most of us. Demand that our Senators and Representatives stand up for Democracy, even if it means taking on 45.
Finally, engage in actions that lead to consciousness-raising. Oppose the rise of neo-Nazism in this country and be consistent. Oppose those who give them cover. Fight rape culture and ostracize or, if appropriate, have arrested those who brag about it or disclose sexual crimes they have committed. Fight for fair wages, affordable housing, and equity in every American institution, including education.
All of this goes without saying, you my brothers and sisters, must be prepared to give up privilege. Break the psychological mindset that Democrats and their constituencies want to take away something from you that was hard earned. Privilege is not earned; it is inherited.
We can make America great, together. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We must . . . live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools.” I am about doing what’s necessary for us to live together as “brothers and sisters.” How about you?