Last week’s white nationalist violent attempt to overthrow the US Government is a defining moment in U.S. history. The coup attempt was planned online – Facebook, Parler, Reddit, 8Chann, and other message boards – and was designed to assassinate the line of succession – Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in an ill-fated attempt to allow lame-duck president Trump to retain power and stay in office.
The televised scene of tens of thousands of mostly white, mostly male, Trump supporters storming the Capitol and quickly overrunning the few Capitol police who tried to do their jobs, shocked the country and world while showing the fragility of “The Great American Democracy Experiment.”
Reminiscent of other destabilized countries, the scene unfolded like a horror or zombie movie, with thousands of domestic terrorists forcing or being escorted by police into the Capitol and wrecking unbelievable damage on the very seat of American intellectual and deliberative power.
The terrorists tried their best to find Pence, Pelosi, and Schumer who were each properly hidden, but were unable to find them so they set about destroying everything they could. And let there be no doubt what their intentions were as they came equipped with plastic hostage handcuffs, a gallows for hanging, guns, and knives.
It is being reported GOP members toured the Capitol earlier in the week with some of Trump’s troops, and that panic buttons had been torn out of the offices of Black and POC offices.
The racist insurgents wanted to make certain specific communities got the other big message by flouting the hateful confederate flag, and waving anti-Black, anti-Black Lives Matter, and Holocaust denial and pro-Nazi signs.
The faux grievance white nationalists, proud boys, klan, and white supremacy advocates who tried to overthrow the government is based on a simple premise: Hate.
And that hate is directly in response to Black people voting – and helping Democrats win key races that helped flip six States to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, thereby giving Democrats the Presidency, the House, and the Senate.
The devastating reputation of Trumpism, McConnellism, and GOPism can be directly tied to the *treatment by them toward President Barak Obama.
But the racism that is fueling the acts of violence and war on us isn’t recent or even novel.
White America has waged war on Black Americans with the Civil War, the Thirtieth Amendment, the destruction of reconstruction, a century of lynching, the attack on Tulsa, Rosewood, Philadelphia, and dozens of other Black cities and neighborhoods by aggrieved racist white people.
They have waged war on Black Americans with real estate redlining, HOA’s, chronically underfunded schools that still find ways to staff police, rampant police brutality, and of course by ordinary citizens policing our bodies and movements in public places.
They wage medical war by restricting access to hospitals, doctors mistreating us, and by allowing our mothers to die during childbirth. And they punish our children more frequently and more harshly, both in school and when in public.
They wage war on us by limiting our access to affordable fresh food, by charging us more for goods and services, and polluting our water, air, and areas where we live.
They wage war by charging us more to borrow money for college, credit, and home purchasing. They limit our access to financial markets by hiring us less frequently, paying us less when they do hire us, promoting us less often, and terminating or laying us off first.
They wage war by shooting up our memorials, refusing to learn or teach our history, and by directing millions upon millions of microagressions at us every single day.
I still do not want to wage war against white people.
I don’t want to see our friends and families fleeing for their lives trying to escape rampaging white men, owners of three-hundred million guns.
I don’t want to see blood filling our streets. Our neighborhoods destroyed and our children in tears.
I don’t want to see tanks rolling down our streets, our churches bombed, and our elderly disrespected – because I have seen all those things already, and have no stomach for more of the same.
Why do so many white people want to kill Black people, people they don’t even know?
Most white Americans don’t have Black friends or even know a Black person, yet a significant number of white people, including all those who tried to take over the government, want to kill Black people.
Most Black people are just trying to live their lives and mind their own business. Go to school, raise kids, work in a good job, enjoy the weekend. Most Black people are unconcerned about white people, other than protecting ourselves in public from white people bent on policing our bodies.
So why do people who have every advantage, who have the most jobs, the most money, the most property, the best food and hospitals, the best loans, the best schools, and who mostly live among only white people – want to kill us, we who have the least of everything?
They don’t want us to vote, to live near them, allow our kids to attend school with theirs, receive government assistance like they do, farm land, get loans, protest or march.
They don’t even want us to “Go back to Africa” as their ancestors proudly yelled at our ancestors in prior decades.
No, they want us dead. Exterminated. Genocided. Wiped from the face of the planet.
Failing those options, they’d gladly settle for re-enslavement, concentration camps, and no restrictions on what they can do to our bodies.
How do we even begin to address such neighborly evil?
There are ways to avert war, with diplomacy being front and center among those choices.
Black and white America each need diplomats to reach out to the other side and work through the issues that due to racism have never been adequately addressed, talked about, resolved.
We need UN monitors, international negotiators, and a clear peace and armitice plan.
The diplomats have to start with an understanding that they are not dealing with equal problems, starting places, or proposed solutions. And that the power dynamic is entirely unequal by design.
The diplomats cannot suddenly make America equal for Black and white people, of course, but acknowledging the inequality can create a productive setting to begin talks addressing current issues and proposing future solutions.
We have definitive data that show white American leaders alone cannot resolve the racism in their community toward Black people.
They cannot pass laws that survive white pushback and resentment. They cannot manage law enforemcent to not be racist, and they certainly cannot prohibit other forms of institutional racism – we have given them over one-hundred and fifty years to do so and they have come up well short of our expectations.
They cannot even create a fair system of voting – the very foundation of democracy.
The relationship started unequally, divorced unequally, and has been in a state of unequal coexistence since the end of the Civil War.
The only way forward, as marriage counselors and therapists can attest, is a third-party mediator/diplomat(s) to bring us to the table of discussion and planning.
The alternatives are what we are seeing happen in D.C. last week.
And unlike the millions of white people advocating for Civil War, I know we have to find another way.
Not just for Black people, but for white people as well.
Because there is no America without Black people. Without Native people, or Latino people, or Asian people. The imaginary America that only resides in the minds of racist white people doesn’t exist and it never has.
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
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