Monday, November 14, 2016
Trump hasn’t taken office yet the mythology of equality in America is being dashed already
…We’ve seen and witnessed a group of young black teens being harassed by another group of white teens calling them the N-word and telling them that they need to go back to Africa, and if they want to go back to Africa, not to worry, that Trump sends them there free. So, it was really crazy and——Democracy Now, 11/14/2016
by Larry Geller
Contrary to much contemporary wisdom, the United States has one of the longest uninterrupted political traditions of any nation in the world. What is more, that tradition is unambiguous; its meaning is articulated in simple, rational speech that is immediately comprehensible and powerfully persuasive to all normal human beings. America tells one story: the unbroken, ineluctable progress of freedom and equality. From its first settlers and its political foundings on, there has been no dispute that freedom and equality are the essence of justice for us. No one serious or notable has stood outside this consensus. You had to be a crank or a buffoon (e.g., Henry Adams or H. L. Mencken, respectively) to get attention as a nonbeliever in the democracy.
The above is from p. 54 of The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. A search took me to this book and this page, I have’t read much else of it and what I have leads me to say I can’t recommend it. But we seem to have one new name to add to Bloom’s list.
Of course, I disagree with the basic thesis. Our history of slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the mass internment of Japanese-Americans, the Native American genocide, and the suppression and near-genocide of Native Hawaiians contradicts Bloom very clearly. Not to mention the current wave of voter suppression and women’s never-ending struggle for equality and basic human rights.
Each country has its own mythology. Bloom is describing ours. Perhaps it should remain as an ideal, even though it doesn’t ring true otherwise. One day, perhaps, it might be achieved… though not apparently any time soon.
Social media and alternative media including Democracy Now report the abuses currently rampant across our land, revealing that the “unbroken, ineluctable progress of freedom and equality” remains actually as broken and dubious as ever.
No sense of this appears in our shrunken daily newspaper. It seems to me to be essential that this be reported, so we may deal with it as concerned citizens. Somehow.
Trump is the enabler, but I am saddened by the eruption of racism and bigotry on the streets, in the tweets, and in schools.
From today’s Democracy Now, a high school sophomore from New Jersey, speaking to the reporter at a protest:
… A friend I know went to high school on Wednesday, and people were saying racial—or religious slurs toward Islamic people who go to her school, and things like that. It’s definitely prevalent.
We started to hear that there are violence or abuses against the people of color, children of color, in rural neighborhoods in the United States, and that’s a really dangerous sign. Here in New York, diversity is embraced, but you don’t know what is going to happen, even in a progressive state like New York. And we’re really concerned that a Trump administration is going to incite violence, hate, racism and other dangerous policies, which could affect or threaten safe environment for parents to raise kids.
In time, perhaps over several generations, the mythology might have prevailed. Now, I am not so sure. It hurts deeply to see how easily the racist, misogynistic underbelly of this country has come to the fore. The students are acting out what they learned from their parents. Now they are repeating the abuse, setting back the possibility of democracy, freedom and equality for another generation.