Ever since the election of November 2016, half of the country has been suffering from PTSD. We are filled with anxiety that the country we once knew will never be the same. The truth is Donald Trump is not the problem, but a symptom of what America suffers from.
We have been here before… The extreme policies of today’s America stem from the same fear of yesterday’s America, the browning and blackening of the nation’s demographics, and fearing the partnering of White, Brown and Black people.
At the end of slavery, and during the Reconstruction Era from around 1865-1877, Blacks and Whites came together. They rewrote southern State Constitutions, added the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment to the US Constitution, and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which affirmed the equality of all men and prohibited racial discrimination in public places and facilities such as restaurants and public transportation.
Two thousand Black men were involved in government at every level from the Senate to local sheriff in every southern state. Black fraternal organizations and churches were formed. In 1872 Frederick Douglass was nominated as a Vice-President candidate during the Equal Rights Party Convention, however he declined the nomination.
When former White slave owners saw this coalition of White and Black people they became afraid of losing their power structure.
In 1876 there was a disputed presidential election; it was resolved by the Compromise of 1877. This compromise essentially stated that Southern Democrats would acknowledge Republican Rutherford B. Hayes as President; in turn Hayes would remove federal troops from former Confederate states and give these states the right to deal with their Black citizens without interference from northern states.
The Reconstruction period ended at that point and the racial caste system Jim Crow began and operated in Southern states from 1877-to the 1960’s. In 1883 the US Supreme Court declared the 1875 Civil Rights Act illegal. The court also ruled that the 14th amendment didn’t prohibit private organizations or individuals from discriminating because of race.
In 1865 at the end of the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, the oldest hate group in the country was formed. The KKK was designed to intimidate southern Blacks and any Whites, who worked with Black people. Lynchings, tar-and-feathering, rapes and other violent attacks on anyone that challenged white supremacy became the hallmark of the Klan.
So, you see, we’ve been here before… The Republican Party of today is the old Southern Democratic Party; whose members switched party affiliation after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voter Rights Act.
Not unlike the Segregationist of 1877, today’s political leadership in the Republican Party are passing unjust policies that inflict pain on the least of us; the poor, the elderly and immigrants.
These corrupt politicians plan to take healthcare away from poor people, cut education for our youth, in order to pay for the $3 trillion-dollar tax cut congress passed in 2017. A tax cut that only benefits the richest among us. We have not seen that amount of wealth transferred since the era of slavery.
There are 140 million poor people in this country and 54 million of them work every day and still do not make a living wage and 72% of the people in poverty are women and children.
Since 2010, twenty-three states have passed voter suppression laws. According to the Brennan Institute because of maps drawn after the 2010 tea party wave that favored Republicans, Democrats will need to win the popular vote in November by nearly 11 points, to gain back the House of Representatives.
In 2013 the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote ruled section 4b of the Voters Right Act unconstitutional, saying the coverage formula was based on data over 40 years old. Without section 4b, no jurisdictions can be subjected to section 5 pre-clearance, until Congress enacts a new coverage formula. These two sections prohibited states with a history of racism from changing any of their voting laws without the Justice Department’s approval.
Five years since this Supreme Court’s ruling, nearly a thousand polling places have been closed around the country, many in predominantly African-American counties. In 2016 Donald Trump won Wisconsin by 30,000 votes. However, 250,000 Black voters had been illegally refrained from voting. In order to override intentional voter suppression, we have to increase voter turnout by 12% this year.
Even when they hate each other, Republicans know how to come together for their own self-interest. Donald Trump called his opponents wives ugly, their daddy’s murderers, called them liars and other insults, today all of them enthusiastically support him.
In order to beat them at their own game, we must stop fighting each other, and start fighting racism, sexism, homelessness, misogyny, homophobia, and extremism wherever it shows up.
We must show our power and hold people accountable. OUR VOTE IS OUR POWER! We have to be smart enough to come together for righteousness sake and demand change at the very seat of power.
The same way this Republican Party has gone back to their old playbook; we need to return to what worked for us in the past. We need to be in it to win it or die trying! We must VOTE on or before November 6, 2018.
“Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around, gonna keep on walkin, gonna keep on talkin, marching up the freedom way.”