The current state of the country as reflected in the profound ideological split within the political leadership that currently resides in the nation’s capital clearly points to a nearly impassable divide among the nation’s people. This division is profound and has been extant for many generations and was especially exacerbated in the post-Civil War era notably following the abysmal failure of an attempt at “Reconstruction” (1865-1877).
Ever since the colonization of North America by Europeans in the 17th century and the subsequent formation of the Democratic Republic of the United States, a multiplicity of atrocities were committed against the native American population resulting in the near genocide of that people and the horrific imposition of slavery upon African peoples forcefully brought to this continent for the sole purpose of economic gain. Even to this day, these crimes against humanity have not been effectively acknowledged, and, as a consequence, blatant injustice and inequality persists.
The notion of white supremacy remains intact and has been given a new breath of life within the current political climate. It should be noted that the region of the country in which overt bigotry and hatred are particularly evident is in the Southeastern part of the United States – the area that was once the very heartland of the institution of slavery. White supremacy, however, is not simply a regional issue – it is extant throughout the nation. As a consequence, it is not only African Americans that feel the brunt of this backward and bigoted “philosophy” – it is also directed at people of color in general and even those who are culturally distinct. It is my contention, that the current fear of the increased numbers of immigrants attempting to come through our southern border has its origin in the belief that they are not our equals – that they are effectively inferior and, therefore, pose a danger to our way of life and institutions. This inherent aspect of the American reality is treated much like that proverbial, “elephant in the room.” Disturbingly, this belief in white supremacy represents the support structure and ultimate rationalization for white privilege that is a fundamental aspect of life in America.
This attitude is not reserved for residents of this country but has also become effectively embedded within the fabric of our interactions with other nations. The atrocities committed by this country against various peoples throughout this world as a result of military intervention – using the enormous firepower of our military establishment – has been directed primarily at much poorer nations, usually from countries with people of color and differing substantially in cultural outlook. If one were to tally the numbers of innocent lives lost in these militaristic adventures in the post-World War II era, they would number in the tens of millions. In none of these major military exploits was the nation’s security or well-being ever at stake. There are, of course, political and even moral rationales made for these wars – The Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars for example – but the results are, nonetheless, the killing of many, innocents in completely avoidable confrontations.
In spite of this reality, it does not necessarily mean that the future direction of this nation will remain unchanged. It is essentially up to the willingness of its people to look with honesty at its own history and the real consequences of national policy and political choice with a determination to make insightful and meaningful change. The future vitality of this nation is dependent upon the degree of commitment that its people have regarding the fundamental aspiration of this country to achieve true human equality with the utmost respect for law and social justice for all. This will have to be the work and effort expended by the next generation. Let us hope for the best.