I can’t believe the news today,
Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away,
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?
We can be as one, tonight.
Broken bottles under children’s feet,
Bodies strewn across the deadend street,
But I won’t heed the battle call,
It puts my back up, my back up against the wall.
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”, U2
(Written on the day of the Capital Insurrection)
As I write this, I remember having been told of an America that was free and safe. I remember sitting on lined tape in a room with leather green flooring and ABC blocks everywhere, staring at a block-television screen as a silly-named-man is sworn into office. I was not aware that he was the first black President, as my child’s mind just thought that he was my first President. In the near future, I would be told of his significance, and of how this represents a part of why America is beautiful, of why it is as great as it is. And I can recall a time when I was told that the American people were decent, seeing that if a President was to play tricks that he should be thrown from the throne in which he felt he sat. That was only half a century ago. Moreover, a satirist named Dave Chappelle once illustrated to me a nation that, when seeing the mangled body of a young black boy who was lynched by older white men, said, “We can do better than this.” I heard of a nation that knows boundaries, that knows what is good and what is bad, what is decent and what is indecent.
But as I write this now, I watch as a black policeman sprints up the marble steps of Congress, baton in hand, with several white faces chasing behind him. I watch as men draw their weapons at the prospect of anarchists breaking through the Senate doors to endanger our leaders and representatives inside. The world watches as a place once claiming democracy is seen in a state of disorder ordered by the supposed champion and defender of democracy himself, the President of the United States. A white man in a thick coat bearing the American flag stands where the President of the Senate would reside, fist in air, proudly showing his claim to the title as the ultimate “patriot”. Flags of allegiance storm the hill, separating the country just as they did a hundred and sixty years prior. A car with several signs on top of it is parked on the front steps with no illusion to the country it loves, only to the party, to the faction within, that conspires to the idea that the man in the Oval Office is equivalent to that of the Man in the sky. I am reminded of seeing the Capitol just six months ago when peoples of all creeds walked the streets in the wake of years of police brutality and systemic racism. Instead of peace, as intended, they were met with rubber bullets, tear gas, and clubs so that the President’s picture could be taken in front of a church, with him holding the Bible. Today, as people within the opposite group reside there in numbers equivalent, and I look at the television screen seeing no law enforcement, no tanks or army cars as there was then. I watch as the antithesis of this nation breaks through to the building that built this country and established the Founders' ideas of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I watch as it nearly crumbles to the ground.
This is the nation I see today.
The nation I see is one that is in open season upon the institutions that protect and give power to the disenfranchised, who have suffered for centuries already in this country. The nation, the state, the county, the town I see is only one that exclaims itself as a sign of a cliff ahead: a danger.
And although it is easy to just aim and fire, it is always good first to look at the symptoms before diagnosing, to never have a claim without a base to support it from. So what prescribes one to be a part of this danger to society? In terms thereof, radicalism is often included in this classification and if Trump supporters are anything, they are radicalists to the highest degree. Now, what most see as ANTIFA* to the Democrats, this can be said for Trump supporters in comparison to the average Republican. They bow to everything he says, never thinking twice of disassociating from their Lord Creator because, in reality, they most likely concur to his ideas and to his persona. This kind of selfless belief in a politician, a man who is inherently flawed as a human being, who is then also overflowing with egotistical greed and power, is in itself radical and, consequently, dangerous. On top of this, one who subscribes to ideas or actions that pose precarious to the everyday lives of others, basing these ideas on flawed logic and inherited morals, can also be considered when classifying others as a danger. The ones most typical pertain to the suppression of or ignorance towards race and class. Although in more recent times, it seems that political voting can be added to that list as well. And it is between radicalism and perilous thought, in the terms of behavioral tendencies and social idealism, that one can be a danger to society. But it is not just my idea of radicalism that helps to identify why Trump supporters are a danger to society- for America’s definition supports this theory as well. Just as communists were considered to be radicalists in the 1950s and 60s, abolitionists in the 1840s and 1850s- the description of the ardent Trump supporter fits neatly into what this nation would describe as a “danger to society.” That definition: somebody or something that looks to disrupt the very fragmentation of the social order and general peace of its people.
But then it must be asked: why is it that they should be seen as dangerous and as nothing other than? The answer is prevalent, and, in all cases, has already been answered. Prior to the Civil War, there were those in the North that said the South were fine, good people who believed in an idea that, while not humane, was a necessity to provide for the family. And this was a necessity that many in the Northern factories understood very well. Therefore, the North subscribed to this and failed to see, in their conformity to the societal and racial stigmas of the time, that the root of the problem was not state rights versus federal power, or Southern values versus Northern values. No, it was the weed that killed the apple tree, the greatest sin that America ever bore to its name- slavery. And so it was in their undoubtful kindness to their fellow American and complete understanding towards the “necessary evil” of slavery that they themselves were a threat to the nation through their own oblivion. The North believed them good people for the most part who believed in a slightly sinful system, but what could they do? They were here, above the Dixon, and they were there, below. It was in the North’s lack of seeing that the South were dangerous that America then almost split in two, that war broke out because of the lack of consensus against those that believed in an idea contrary to what was written in the Declaration of Independence.
Although, nearly a hundred years after the Civil War began, when Emmet Till’s deformed and beaten body washed up on the river shores of Mississippi, when it was becoming more apparent that black men were being hung from trees without due process of law, that segregation was in fact not “separate but equal”; those who knew what was right for this country began to build their defense and stand with their fellow American in the battle against segrationalism. Those who sympathized with segregation and Jim Crow began to be seen as distasteful and a threat by other Americans, and it wasn't because those Americans who saw this wanted to see them in this light, but they remembered. They remembered what happened when their Northern or Progressive ancestors failed to see these ideals as wrong in terms of the goal set by our Founding Fathers. They remembered that when our ancestors failed to see these ideals as a menace to the average American’s way of life - especially that of the innocent black man - and that if this menace was allowed to continue in our society this country could then fall. And it was through this remembrance and subsequent activism that war and deep conflict was able to be averted, and more insurances were given to the black minority of this country.
In one case, the danger was recognized. In the other, it was not. In the one, few people died, and in the other, more than six hundred thousand perished as to restore a nation. Then, on this day the 6th of January, over three hundred thousand Americans have died from a preventable disease, and now the Capitol has been swarmed with bodies in aim of hurting those who refuse to defy our democracy. The correlation between the two? A man who believes himself above democracy, holding the most powerful office in the world. He is a pyromaniac that was allowed into the kitchen and now all is set to flames. But the danger does not solely lie with the man at his desk with his manifestations. The danger lies all the same, just the same, with those that believe he should be there indefinitely, set as a king in a land that wished for none. Just as the Confederate was dangerous, just as the Segregationist was a threat, so is the ardent Trump supporter, whether they mean to be or not. Therefore, if they are not called out and shown that their ideas hold a lack of reality and dignity, along with security, more may suffer and more may die. And if anything has proven that, today does.
Today proves that when one feeds the crows crumbs and then seizes to do so when reality faces you, the crows will attack with all of their might and fury, never having forgotten your actions, your promise, or your identity. Today proves that when you give in, you take out, little by little, the soul of this nation and its integrity, defying the people that make it great and seen as a kind of haven on Earth for all people with different ideas and backgrounds. Today illustrates the consequences of our actions to avoid rather than inform and criticize those that hold a belief that is, quite clearly, capable of destroying this country. Today, and for every day now hence, I refuse to stand back and stand by as I have in the past. I refuse to not do anything out of respect for a “difference of opinion”, to let others who preach of heinous and false ideals go without knowing the significant damage that their words hold to not only themselves, but this country they so dearly love.
So to my classmates across this nation who “joked” by wearing blackface- you are a danger. To my peers that sympathize with and kid of white supremacy, saying the n-word and never thinking of its meaning and purpose of change in ownership to the black population, that serve themselves to the idea of a perfect America with a perfect leader, to a mindset that can never be illegitimate - you are a danger. To teachers, especially those that instruct in history and government, and other public servants that demean the science of masks and emphasize false voter fraud allegations, as well as denigrating the Black Lives Matter movement- you are a danger. To white residents that tread upon those that support Black Lives Matter, failing to understand that they are protesting for change that could save lives and better this nation - you are a danger. To the people that placed themselves at the service of a campaign that weaves the fabric of distrust and division in this country- you are a danger. To House Representative Jeff Van Drew, who was among the one hundred and forty who contested the democratic election, who endorsed the lies that caused the events of today, the deaths of today - you are a danger. To everyone that floats in the bubble, never having thought of what other people go through, what minorities or immigrants face in the wake of this country’s past and present rhetoric, buried in your money and privilege, who never want to see change and refuse to have honor in defeat, disregarding the countless steps taken to show the legitimacy of this election- you are a danger.
And you know why you are a danger, just as those before you were: because you undermine the idea of “life, liberty, and justice for all.” Because at the end of the day, you only want it for yourselves. You tell us we are wrong, and we tell you you are wrong, but one side has to be based on fact and reality-. One has to be right, one has to stand for what is best for this country, and you, you are not this country. In fact, you and your political, social, and racial rhetoric have only become a threat to it. And if anything proves that, today does.
So I pray that you read these words and understand them not as something to be said to hurt you, but to help you understand what it is that you have become, and what your counter-beliefs born out of fear have done to this nation. I pray that you have an open mind about these words I have written, and I pray that someday I will be able to state, “As I write this, I remember a nation divided and in danger because of the falsehood that plague others' minds. But as I write this now, I see a nation that is healthy, that is safe, and that has people that know that there is more to it than what's in it for them.”
Although until that day, I shall continue to fulfill my responsibilities as an American, as someone that believes in the ideas founded upon it, and I shall sit with pen in hand and fist in air, preaching: “We can do better than this.”
* ANTIFA was not at the Capitol building, here is an independent British news source on the FBI report: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/fbi-trump-riot-congress-antifa-b1784736.html
To read more articles from B. F. Harvey click here.