As the celebration goes on for America’s Birthday, we are also in the space of racial reckoning. White Backlash reminds us that we’ve seen this place before.
I can remember while growing up at about the age of being just old enough to cause a little trouble, nothing major, but just kid stuff. In these times, peculiar occurrences would happen. I would be somewhere with my parents and get a sense that I have been there before. I didn’t possess the vocabulary to articulate these times but came to know these as deja vu.
“deja vu” is “the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time.” Merrion Webster’s Dictionary
Twenty-first century America currently finds itself in one of these spaces. Some have compared today’s rise in hate to that of the 1850s. This rise has specifically affected black and brown populations, political polarization, and class.
In 1852 the Wig party fell apart over the Fugitive Slave Law America enacted as a part of the 1850 Compromise. That led to a landslide victory for the Democrats. The polarization only increased throughout the balance of the 1850s, resulting in the Civil war.
In an opinion piece, Thomas Freedman of the New York Times spoke of the potential new civil war.
“They will lock in minority rule in America. And when that happens, both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets, and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war.”
online resource, The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot Against Liz Cheney — and Our Democracy
The old saying says that those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it. We all can acknowledge how cute that sounds. However, reality utters something far more ominous. When patterns lock in, the probability of parallel outcomes is nearly guaranteed. In essence, much of the repeat is by design.
Many will say that our democracy is at stake, and we have never seen this before in America. False; Democracy in America is as cute of a concept as the quote mentioned earlier about those who do not learn from history. What I discovered as I grew older is what I considered as an experience of deja vu was simply someplace that I had been before but was too young to realize. The space America finds itself in is not a return. Except for occasional times of enlightenment, this is a space that America has never escaped.
All the while, America was erected from the foundation of slavery and codified by White Male suffrage ( only White male landowners could vote) and at times affirmed by the complicity of many white women.
Though convoluted, the thru line of rationale is one of compromise for the sake of a dominant few to lord over the so-called ignorant masses. Machiavellianism (the ends justifies the means) quest for power is manifold then cleverly twisted into a rope whose strands consist of white supremacy, the commodification of the marginalized, Nativism, Christian Nationalism, etc. So goes Colonialism and Apartheid unchecked.
Another civil war does not need to be our fate.
“If you are going down a road and don’t like what’s in front of you, and look behind you and don’t like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path!” Maya Angelou
“In the past, people did not understand God, and he ignored this [or God overlooked such times of ignorance]. But now, God ·tells [commands] all people in the world to ·change their hearts and lives [repent]. “
Acts 17:30 The Expanded Bible
There is too much information, books, publications, online and media sources, courses, and too much case law to plead ignorance two hundred and forty-five years into this American experiment. America must terminate the perpetual deja vu of complicity and complacency that are arming the institutions of systemic racism.
By Kevin Robinson Founder, Editor/Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine