Guest column: America is getting Darker
James Baldwin suggested, "ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." Wake UP America!!
As a U.S. Navy veteran, I am all too familiar with the American will, right, and might. I have witnessed and personally experienced countless acts of American extremism, white supremacy, and terror in my lifetime. There are still places in this country where I do not feel comfortable driving or sleeping. January 6 is yet just another many examples of American extremism. While the world is watching the events of the successionist siege unfold and calling us hypocrites, one-half of our national leadership remains silent on a seminal issue that has impacted and imperiled our fragile democracy. The event continues to illustrate why many of our leaders are not trusted. Their lack of morality, ethics, and political positioning has created a vacuum of uncertainty among the public. We do not trust our leaders. Over the last 150 years, our country has experienced similar nationwide terroristic acts. The country struggled to unite during reconstruction, Jim Crow, the 1960s Civil Rights, and the Obama and Trump presidency. Where are the profiles in courage?
Here we are six months after the events of January 6, and there are sitting U.S. Congressional leaders who continue to remain silent. The evidence of that day is apparent. They continue to foster the BIG lie and run when confronted with questions by the press. The election was not rigged, and they know it. Yet, many Republican congressional leaders continued to gaslight the American public by suggesting it was just a typical day on Capitol Hill. The fairytale does not pass the eye test. The facts are that an angry mob of extremists, upset about our presidential election results, attempted to circumvent the will of the American people by storming the U.S. Capitol. These facts are not in dispute. We must never forget their acts. On January 6, 2021, white extremists plotted an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
It is equally disturbing that a political party that backs law enforcement would refuse to meet with the very officers who protected their lives on that day. That day and surrounding events mark our new reality. Six members voted against legislation to give the very officers whose heroic acts save their lives a Congressional Medal of Honor. These same leaders have a lot to say about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee and have blocked at every moment his ability to do what he loved. Still, nothing to say about the Confederate Flag that was paraded through the Rotunda. The mendacity.
Americans are approaching the dog days of the summer and her seventh month since an organized insurrectionists group plotted, stormed, and attempted to siege our U.S. capitol. They almost succeed. Our country would look vastly different had those insurrectionists succeeded. To the world and average American citizen, it appears like there have been no significant consequences for those who committed those unAmerican acts of violence and terror. To me, it looks like good ole red, white, and blue American business as usual. Our country, historically, has been rife with contradictions on the matters of politics, race, and class. Americans fight hard for those things we value. The fact is our country does not value diversity or the impending shifting demographics. This dilemma is the crux of our current fight. America is getting darker.
— Dr. Maurice Franklin is a professor of public policy and public administration at Cal State Northridge. He lectures and consults on organizational sustainability and development strategies. His published works include a focus on social justice and social equity.