Last February, I dusted off an opinion editorial, America Coming Apart at the Seams, written last summer for another publication. The article attempts to explain the boiling, not-so-undercurrent of angst, anger, and rage in the United States which at the time was evident in increasing and seemingly intractable political polarization.
In it, I wrote:
“America’s class and race fault lines have been around since its founding, yet we stubbornly believed in superficial fixes, say reviving blue-collar economic opportunity, more food stamps, health care for all, smaller government.
These and “many policy prescriptions that could be right, but the populist Trumpian- Sandernista backlash to America’s faltering white picket-world is symptomatic of deeper upheaval. What America is experiencing is a profound and cathartic questioning, rejection of its governing social contract.
America’s Social Contract is Broken
Social contracts are in constant evolution, this is not news. But while change is the norm, what America is experiencing now is far from a game of inches. Rather, it is a rather acidic review of its contract, one so radical it begs the question: Why now?”
This was written before the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May, which, far from simply laying bare the racial fault line which was already glaringly obvious and ugly, finally drove a stake in the national conscious, awakening masses who had never thought to protest and stand up for and with their fellow citizens.
America, goes my review, has long been faltering as it is:
“…no longer a melting pot. It is a multi-cultural society lurching towards an uncertain future just as it is slipping off its foundations. This must be extremely uncomfortable for a nation with great confidence in absolutes and its own exceptionalism, particularly as its leading political ideologies have proven entirely unable to cope with, let alone manage ongoing change.”
Stand Up, Be Careful What You Say, & Have Their Backs
If you are white, what is your responsibility now that racism, inequality, and justice have at long last arrived at the top of America’s agenda? If you don’t know, consider New York congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman words:
“When you look at the impact of concentrated poverty that’s been created by bad policy, and the trauma that results from that, and then add on top of it stop-and-frisk policing, zero-tolerance schools, you’re dealing with a population of black and Latino students that consistently feel occupied,” he said.
“It’s that feeling of occupation so many are rebelling against right now. There’s palpable rage and mourning all across America,” said Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party…. It’s deeply felt … and it’s not simply about the horrific death of George Floyd.”
If you are white and or of an other type of priviledge what should we do?
Have the backs of, and help make space for rising black, brown, and Asian leaders, leaders of diverse faiths, backgrounds, lifestyles, race and creed as they voice and begin to build on their vision of a more just and sustainable world.
It is time to help build on the word and spirit inscribed on every American $1 bill: Novus Ordo Seclorum – a New Order of the Ages.
Want to Change the World? Nine things parents should consider when searching for anti-racist media for their kids from the Washington Post.