One Black Man Reacts to Impeachment of 45th President
My grandmother’s mother was a slave. My grandfather was a sharecropper who never received his 40 acres and a mule. My mother, Ida Scott Lewis, born in 1928, may have been related to the Scott, the last man known in Missouri to be lynched for a crime he did not commit. My late brother, ten years my junior, languished in a state penitentiary designed for him after he failed the third grade. All my life, I assumed democracy was my friend, even though I never achieved it in its fullest sense. It always remained a precious prize, elusive, but worthy of pursuit.
So as I sat glued to the TV on the night the U.S. House impeached 45, I couldn’t help but to become overrun with sadness and despair, even holding back tears, as the votes came in. The tears I held back were not ones of sorry or pity for him. He got what he deserved. The bully got caught cheating, and Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and others slapped him in the mouth. If he had carefully steered our country into greatness he arrogantly claimed he would, his party would have still been in the majority and impeachment would have been nearly impossible.
But, instead, he beat up on immigrants, particularly Mexicans and Central Americans. He passed tax reform heavily skewed toward Wall Street and the filthy rich, touting economic and job growth based on Wall Street metrics and not wage growth and the standard of living of those who struggle and work two and three jobs. He packed the courts with extremely conservative judges. Above all, he extorted a vulnerable ally, holding up much needed defense funding until Ukraine announced an investigation into his most formidable opponent, Joe Biden, in the upcoming Presidential election.
I know that the president and those who defend him whine and say he is a “victim, targeted for a takedown by the Democrats the moment he was sworn into office.” Yet, it was Senate leader Mitch McConnell who declared upon the inauguration of Barack Obama, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Despite the obvious hypocrisy, many Republicans continue clinging to Trump like white on rice. Not one had the courage to vote for the Articles of Impeachment.
People it is time that we face the facts; there is no longer a Republican Party as we once knew it. The old party of Reagan and Bush is dead. Trumpism has trumped republicanism, without even firing a shot. And if we stand back and do nothing, we will wake up one morning and the flag of stars and stripes will be replaced with one with black swastikas.
Roughly half of this country defends, supports, and enables 45’s bizarre behavior and policies. Many whites I speak to about 45, claim they love what he’s done for our economy, but part with him on social issues. But I was not born yesterday. If one believes that women should be paid equal to men for the same work, then why would one support politicians who won’t vote for legislation to correct this wrong? If one believes that every vote should count in America, then why do “good” republicans continue to vote for candidates and incumbents who won’t support the Voting Rights Act? If they say they are pro life, then witness the lives of children being devastated in cages on the border, then why do they keep politicians in power who support 45’s xenophobic inclinations? If this country is called a democracy, then why do so many continue to believe in structures that award the top one percent with 90 percent of the wealth?
You can’t keep placing your foot on our necks and then saying you want us to rise.
Dancing with Elijah
And then there is America’s original sin—slavery, Jim Crow, institutionalized racism. Its legacy, effects, scarring, unhealed wounds. It has made the nation sick, Black and White, alike. Trump intuitively sensed the fear in white workers and others. “The nation is browning, white folks will no longer be in the majority. Those of us who are descendants of slave owners will lose the slightest grip on power, the American way. Let’s take back our country—make it great again,” he SCREAMS!!!
So the question before Americans today is not democracy or socialism. It is imperfect democracy, where the bottom 90 percent have a fair chance of living in dignity, or evil fascism and corporate crony capitalism. Are we spiraling up toward the angels, brother Cummings envisioned, or down deep into an underworld where decrepit creatures abound? (By the way, the late Rep. John Dingell is nowhere near there, but 45 had better be careful.)
The number of years God grants to each of us during this life is a mystery. How we live our lives, each day, is what we can control. Trump has decided to live in a way that surely one day he will dance with devils. We must live ours in a way that enhances our chances of dancing with Elijah, dancing with Harriett and Sojourner, dancing with Schwerner, dancing with Martin and Malcolm, dancing with our fathers and mothers—Dancing with the Angels.