A Facebook friend in France posted a photo that really hit me. It’s a picture of a small group of U.S. ex-pats gathered around an American flag. The thirty or so people didn’t all know one-another, but they were all there for the same purpose. To honor another American, a veteran of WW II. They were all smiling and appeared happy to be there, regardless of their individual political persuasions.
It struck me that the photo is a portrait of the way we used to be, almost Rockwellian in nature, and I wondered if we might ever get back there again? Together in our support of the country, happy and smiling regardless of one political party or another? It led me to wonder if we have been so torn asunder by misinformation, disinformation, greed and anger that we’ll never be able to find our way back home?
I thought about those old sci-fi movies, where the Earth comes under attack by men from Mars, with all us earthlings forced to cast off our differences , coming together for the common purpose of survival of our species. “Is that what it’s going to take?” At that same moment it hit me that we’re already there, with the ongoing threat of Covid-19. However, instead of uniting us in a common goal, Covid has has been turned into a political weapon to separate us even more.
I dunno, this might be the big one, the one we can’t dig ourselves out from under – not when we can’t agree on whether facts are facts or Covid-19 is for real, even while it claims some three-thousand American lives a day. It’s a KGB dream scenario, a national implosion, as a constant stream of disinformation turns reality on its head, causing Americans to distrust one-another to the point that they’re ready to ignore a pandemic and sell out the country to a tyrant who never delivered on a promise to release his taxes while snuggling up to Vladimir Putin at every turn.
Really? Could it get any worse? Well, it does.
With more than one-hundred Republican members of congress signing onto a motion to set the election aside and effectively kill our democracy in favor of a autocrat, you have to wonder. Sure, the Supremes said “no” to the proposal to discard democracy by throwing out our free and fair national election, but millions of Americans, 38% of all Republicans according to one recent poll, continue to believe the election was rigged. Crooked. That the fix was in. And it was, except that they’ve got it backwards. It was Trump and not the Dems who tried to shut down the Post Office, to hamper mail-in voting. The Republicans, in fact, were fairly tripping over themselves in an effort to keep people away from the polls, particularly in areas populated by people of color. Imagine that.
And so I have to wonder, when I see a photo of smiling Americans, united in purpose, regardless of political persuasion. I wonder if we’ll ever get there again? Of if we were ever really all that united to begin with, replacing reconstruction with Jim Crow, leaving the open wound of the Civil War just sitting there to fester. For decades. Until now. The present. With an entire party working to throw out an election because they, the Republicans, the party of white America, the party that weaponized a pandemic for political purposes, lost.
And we still can’t admit that it was mostly about race? How do we get past that?
Millions of Americans who have been duped into believing the election was rigged aren’t going away. The forces that led them to believe that up was down, fact was fiction and fiction was fact, will still be with us. As will unlimited amounts of dark money flowing into our political process thanks to the Supreme Court’s unimaginably bad decision in the infamous “Citizens United” case.
2024 is coming and we are still in trouble. More trouble perhaps, than many of us can, or are willing to recognize. An honest analysis of the past, admitting that it was our forebearers constant striving to live up to the ideals of the founders that made us great, is just too difficult to face.
For those who would destroy our democracy, those who seek to eliminate our self-determination, the election of 2020 was just a temporary setback. Nothing but a political hiccup. History continues to demand eternal vigilance.