Chapter 111 – Democracy Or Dictatorship

       Today I voted. The experience was quite powerful in the way it made me present to the seriousness of the exercise. It was the first day of early voting in North Carolina and the line in the city hall building stretched out the door, around the building and out into the street. I stood in that line for two hours before I was able to vote. I stood there moving towards the polls ever so slowly among masked citizens trying their best to social distance while waiting. The pain in my back, from standing in line for so long was tremendous. The experience was my first real exposure to COVID-19. Standing among hundreds of people on a windless morning, you know you are standing in a soup in which the stock consisted of the expired air of all the people around you. My sense was, given the circumstances of the pandemic; every vote casted in the United States this year should have been done by mail. That the Republican commitment to disenfranchise as many voters of color as possible is so strong as to subject Americans (many of whom the most vulnerable to death by COVID) to that level of stress and danger suggests an evil that’s beyond anything I imagined possible in this country. It was palpable to all standing in that line.

       In Chapter 108 (The Eve Of Destruction) I discussed the shock I experienced when a very dear friend indicated that Trump was a gift from God. It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve recovered from the shock. At this point, I feel like that person was probably the only person on Earth who could have made me truly understand what I know now. I suppose in way, I should be grateful to him for that understanding. Now, I get it. I now understand that with Trump supporters, it’s not a matter of just disagreeing with the opposition or a believing that America will be better served under their approach to governance. I now understand that they believe the entire American democracy no longer serves their interests and the entire system must be scrapped in favor of a white supremist dictatorship. They believe that white people are the only real Americans and that only white people should be the beneficiaries of America’s fruits. Most of them don’t feel that way out of hatred for non-whites. For them, it’s a matter of practical politics and the belief that their ancestors claimed this land for them and their posterity and they refuse to become a minority in the land they claim to be theirs. They see themselves the same way the Israelis see themselves, as being surrounded by hostile people of color vying to take back the land that was stolen from their ancestors. They realized that they have aligned themselves with groups of racist psychopaths and religious zealots, but they are willing to accept them as allies in their war to make white people the exclusive power of America.

       Needless to say I am deeply saddened by this. I, like most black men my age, have my own Jim Crow story and my own racial profiling story, but I was actually looking to see a happy ending to it all before I died. It pains me to know that I will probably not see racial reconciliation in America in my lifetime. It pains me to know that in all likelihood, my grandchildren will have to fight some of the same battles I had to fight, and my dear white friend’s grandchildren will have to reconcile their innate love of all humanity with the attitudes of their beloved grandfather, who is so broken and warped by fear of change that he feels the need to swear allegiance to a racist, paranoid, narcissistic, psychopathic leader and in alliance with a bunch of racists, religious hypocrites and environmental destroyers.       

What I’m saying may sound harsh, but that is the hard truth of the choice we are all faced with in less than three weeks. If the overwhelming majority of Americans wish to continue our democracy, Joe Biden will be our next president and the Democrats will control both houses of congress. If not, America as we know it will be over. It’s as simple as that. So if you want America to remain America, you better make voting Democratic your only priority in life for the next few weeks. You must vote no matter what, even if it costs you life and limb. If you believe gunmen are going to try to prevent or intimidate you from voting, bring your own gun. If your poling place will be set up so you’ll have to stand in line for 24 hours, bring a chair, food and water. Whatever you must do to vote, do it. This will be our last chance for democracy through peace instead of war.

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