Yesterday I voted. There were a sizable number of people voting, but not nearly the number I would have liked to see. We are at crisis point in the salvation of our democracy. With that at stake, you would think there would be people filling the voting booth area, with lines extending through the doors and into the hallway, out into the parking lot and around the corner. The attitude of the American voter (especially the young American voter) should be I don’t care if I have to stand out here all day and all night for a week, I’m going to cast my vote. Do you think in retrospect if the Germans knew in 1930 that a proper turnout in the election that brought Hitler and the Nazis into power would avoid WWII and the holocaust they would not have been as committed in their determination to vote? If the newly freed slaves had the opportunity to prevent an end to reconstruction and the Jim Crow horror that followed simply by casting a vote, do you think they would not have been that committed to vote? The average American first of all, doesn’t believe that democracy is as at risk as it is and second of all, doesn’t understand how adversely affected all of us will be if democracy comes to an end. If the Trump dictatorship comes to pass (as it will unless Democrats at least take the house), it will mark an end to democracy in this country. Going forward from there, any expression of peaceful dissent, either by action or print will be met with violence and/or financial ruin. The recent bombing attempts on prominent Democrats are only the beginning. As domestic terrorism escalates, marshal law will quickly follow, and then it will be over. We all will officially be at the mercy of Donald Trump.
I know all that sounds far fetched to this nation of sheep we’ve all become (sheep as described by Bradley Cooper in his American Sniper role). I won’t get into why I think we’ve become that way, but I would like to talk about what life was like when I was a young man in my formative years in the 1960s and early 1970s. The difference between young black men of those times and young black men today is that back then; we expected to die for what we believed. Notice, I didn’t say willing to die but expected to die. You have to have lived through the desperation and humiliation of Jim Crow to understand why a young person would have that attitude. I remember personally feeling extremely disappointed to find that my childhood heroes like Roy Rodgers and later on Elvis Presley actually despised people who looked like me (I don’t know if that’s true but that’s what the older kids told the younger adolescents of my day). And when I was finally confronted with Jim Crow first hand while visiting my aunt in Alabama, the devastation was complete. As I matured into a young man after the rude awakening to the fact that the rights and protection under the laws of America didn’t apply to me, I made a decision. I decided I was not going to live my life that way. Once that decision was made, I accepted the fact that I would either die in the rice paddies of Viet Nam or in the streets fighting for my civil rights. I was at peace with that decision. What changed was not my attitude, but the attitude of white America. White America decided that rather than turn the streets of our cities and towns into killing fields, it would assimilate the best and brightest among us into the mainstream of society. People like me were invited for the first time ever to attend the finest institutions of higher learning and professional schools in the country. We were invited to live in the finest communities with the finest schools and shopping facilities in the country. That lasted every bite of about five years before the right wing of white America began to, slowly at first, reverse all the gains (which were substantial) that had been made in those five years. Now, after 50 years of opulent living, I no longer have the energy or courage to really fight for anything beyond staying as healthy as I can. Mission accomplished to all those wished to stifle the rise of black people into becoming a viable self-supporting community of people.
Now, the most I can do is try to wake up all America to the fact that we are close to achieving true greatness for all of us, providing we hold on to our precious democracy. We are never going to agree on everything but if we focus on uplifting any and all of our citizens who are willing to work for the common good of the country, the quality of all our lives will improve beyond anything we can imagine at this time.
That brings me back to the upcoming elections. It would be great if the young people of all minorities of color had the same mindset and commitment to the cause of saving our democracy, as we were committed in my day to ending Jim Crow and achieving racial equality and equal protection under the law. That’s not to say that there aren’t many young people who are fighting for the changes we need in government to save our democracy, and who are showing up to the polls in record numbers. But the kind of electoral activity among young minorities I’m suggesting should be happening would be so overwhelming that the Trump supporters wouldn’t even bother to show up on election day. Clearly, that’s not happening. In all probability, if Trump is to be defanged, it will be because the majority of white people in this country have decided they’ve had enough. If they do show up, I hope they understand that if we are to avert the catastrophe waiting for us on the horizon, they must vote all Republicans out of office. We must send a message to all politicians that if they fail to uphold their responsibility to apply the necessary checks and balances required to preserve our democracy, regardless of party affiliation, they will have to go. Those who learn their lesson can always come back in 2020, but the trip to the woodshed must happen in this election. The Democrats need to control the House and the Senate to send a strong enough message to prevent this from ever happening again in our lifetimes at a minimum. I wish to God I could find the words to get all of you to understand that. The chaos is quickly approaching the point of no return, as evidenced by the recent domestic terror attempt by what appears to be a deranged Trump supporter. Right wing journalist initially claimed that it was all orchestrated Democrats to disparage Trump supporters and sway the elections towards the Democrats. I don’t now how they’re going to spin now that the attacker has apparently been caught but I’m sure they’ll claim that he doesn’t count because his history suggests that he may be mentally Ill. I say it’s not surprising that a mentally ill Trump supporter would carry out such an act because the Trump rhetoric is very appealing to a lunatic. If all the person in the ultimate position of leadership in this country ever does is talk in ways that inspire fear and hatred of people who look slightly different from you, he can’t help but confirm the paranoia of the average paranoid schizophrenic, especially when the speech is delivered like the speaker himself is a lunatic. We can’t go on this way. We must hit the reset button in November and vote out all Republicans running for office in federal, state and local elections.