We live in a time of steroidal bad news, but there is reason for hope as we finish 2021 and roll into 2022. Joe Biden is President and Donald Trump is not, and the failure of the Trump coup effort to date is a reason for hope. The truth is stronger than it was in 2020 because Trump is not in office spewing a stream of lies. Scientist say that the climate crisis is bad, but could be worse. Because government and private industry are responding to the challenge the worst version of climate change may be avoided. More will need to be done on climate, but the good news is we have reason for hope, and must push for a more human-friendly planet on all people (as well as other creatures and living things). Governments and institutions are making progress in protecting society against COVID. You can feel the potential for a return to a comfortable new normal after the pandemic has become manageable. Responsible institutions and organizations are pushing the idea of human dignity and against far-right hate, misogyny, and nazism. Major issues will remain with us, but there are reasons to hope for progress and improvement in 2022 if we remain engaged.
Upcoming elections are really about white supremacy. Why is this the situation we are in? Republicans continue to lie and support the Big Lie to gain power and provide fascist sympathizers with an excuse if they cannot face the truth. Evidence: 1) Republicans refuse to hold Trump or his insurrectionists accountable for January 6, or an ongoing attack on the Rule of Law and the US Constitution. 2) Republicans claim that Critical Race Theory is taking over the schools as a racist trope to stage attacks on factual history (George Orwell said “who controls the past controls the future”) in the education system. 3) Republicans undermine the right to vote, ease of voting, and the primacy of the vote (if Republicans don’t win they seek the right to overturn or replace the election results). 4) Republicans consistently support welfare and government support for the rich while blocking any investments in working American citizens. The list of authoritarian and anti-democratic acts and behaviors by Republicans could continue, but the most important thing is for Americans to act and vote to stop the creeping disaster that is the Republican Party today.
The saying that it is darkest before the dawn is hopefully true. We are living in a time of pessimism with good reason. Climate crisis, threats of authoritarianism, COVID and pandemics are a few examples of threats to our way of life. I think we have to stay hopeful and act to minimize the worst extinct of ourselves and others. It is hard to be positive at a time where the evidence says to prepare for the worst. Prepare for increasing threats to liberty and life, but work and hope for the better days ahead.
Professor Timothy Snyder wrote a brilliant article titled “The War on History is a War on Democracy” for the New York Times (June 29,2021). He did the public service of defining Critical Race Theory – a set of decades-old arguments about how racism works in law and society that has recently become a fixation of Republican politicians. Associated with the U.C.L.A. and Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and other African American scholars, Critical Race Theory asks why discrimination did not end with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and recommends critical scrutiny of laws focusing on their consequences rather than upon the avowed intentions of their authors.
Professor Snyder also wrote how authoritarian regimes (and now Republicans in several states) try to control what people know and think about so that they can maintain power or control society. Here is an example from the article of how Florida is making the teaching of facts illegal while attempting to confuse the issue with Holocaust denial:
the Florida Department of Education’s new policy states, “include the denial or minimization of the Holocaust, and the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.” Professor Snyder reminds us all that truth and liberty are under attack. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and the will to act on the truth.
Rosa Parks was a person who didn’t seek fame, but did not shrink from doing her part in the struggle for civil rights. After Mrs. Parks stood up for the civil rights of African-Americans on public transportation she was economically targeted, and had to leave Birmingham, Alabama. Darnella Frazier was not looking for recognition either, but she did the right thing when she saw evil. She held up a mirror not just to police behavior, but to America and what we allow in our public servants. Derek Chauvin would probably have gotten away with murder if Darnella had not stood up to his evil. With Darnella leading the way the Minneapolis community defined itself as people who would not tolerate clear evil. The struggle between those who will allow evil to triumph as long as it leaves them comfortable, and those who will not make a deal with the devil goes on. Hopefully new laws will protect decency for everyone and diminish opportunities for evil, but as the quote says “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty/“
The United States offers so many strengths and so much hope that it cannot be ignored by people around the world. Americans seem to be stuck in repeating cycles of conspiracy theories, assault rifle mass murders, abusive police incidents, failing infrastructure events, and an ongoing cold civil war revolving around culture, race, and politics. Americans say they want change, but vote for the same politicians who deliver the same results and threaten worse. There is no way that people with integrity can continue to ignore the reality that what we say we are, and who we actually are during elections is different. People are known for being deceptive and conflicted (demanding morality in others while being ruthless and amoral in pursuit of selfish goals for instance), but we are capable of enlightenment and acting in our ultimate best interest. Make sure that you know the stakes in the events of our time and act for a better future. George Floyd’s trial is a milestone on our journey to somewhere; let’s hope and work so that it is not hell.
White American Inferiority/Insecurity Complex (WAIC) is a problem for everyone because it keeps all people from reaching their potential. Fearful people whether they are Black or White are not able to reach their potential. People who externalize their negative emotions create victims and tragic headlines in random ways. Fear builds and spreads like a virus that weakens trust between people, but also in institutions. Building a more perfect union in our country will require confronting difficult truths like the systemic abuses of civil and human rights that the Woke movement addresses. America will either move to increase freedom or decrease it depending on the wisdom and knowledge of our citizens. Fear and hatred (for the self first and then others) pushes people toward foolish and destructive outcomes. It is frightening that the majority of whites voted for Trump, but more of this group moved away from this malevolent political force than any other group. There is hope in America. If Americans can identify and confront liars and lies consistently we will honor all of the sacrifices made for this republic.
News reports that Donald Trump fundraises off of lying about the 2020 election and tricks donors into giving money weekly instead of a one-time gift is not surprising to most people. The stunning truth is the millions of people who continue to believe Trump and have respect for him. Americans are not forced to listen to, or watch, particular sources of information; they choose outlets providing lies and and deception fitting their view of the world. The view of the world that is against increasing the number of citizens who vote, against equal rights for women, against civil rights, against social mobility. A large number of Americans don’t believe in democracy or equality; they want to be entitled and able to lie about opportunity for all. Americans who want an America that lives up to the social contract that rewards work and discipline with dignity and respect must be ready to vote and provide resources for it. The struggle between good and evil is never won by sitting around and waiting for someone else to provide it to you. Vote, contact your representatives, and donate to causes you care about.
After four years of Trump we are deep in the sewer as a country, but trying to climb out. Numerous Trump officials likely committed multiple acts of corruption or criminality and have yet to face official accountability. We have numerous Republicans in the US Congress who will not say that an American election was free and fair; even though they cannot prove cheating that would have made a difference. State legislatures want to make it harder to vote, but have no evidence of a need for fewer voters beyond protecting their party. Asian Americans feel targeted by their countrymen as do many other ethnic groups after Trump’s assault on truth and decency. I have heard several people in media and elsewhere speak of being ready to fight to protect themselves. America is at a crossroads. If our leaders and representatives do not act decisively; the degeneration Trump and his followers started will metastasize into civil war. The rising insanity and evil that is perpetrated by those who feel entitled to act with impunity must be met with truth, compassion, and justice. Putin wanted Trump for president because he felt he was a tool for American decline and self-destruction in all areas. Putin has won all of the early rounds but the fight is not over. Research our history and current reality from verified sources. Be ready to make the important decisions made by citizens in a republic.
It appears the Biden administration has COVID in retreat after Trump refused to deal with it seriously. A new book says that Trump was totally fooled by the Chinese leadership and then became angry. He could not admit being tricked so kept lying to cover up and protect his fragile ego. Biden now has to deal with a range of issues that the previous administration ignored or just made worse. From climate to low social mobility and voting rights our country is in danger. Democrats have seen that Republicans are not dedicated to the US Constitution, but focused on power. Lies about the election, the need for masking, climate change, and massive corruption are major issues today. Lies flow too easily from too many Republicans. The old saying that ‘the first casualty of war is the truth’ rings true for today’s America. Joe Biden and the Democrats must continue to make significant progress against major real world threats. while preventing civil war and fighting for the soul of America.