The “kneeling” controversy is providing Number 45 — I refuse to call him “president” any longer — with yet another opportunity to further divide the country along race and class lines. And like him or not, he’s masterful at it.
“When fascism comes to America it will come draped in the flag and carrying a cross,” is attributed to Sinclair Lewis (who actually didn’t say or write it, but wrote so many other incisive words about fascism during the rise of the Third Reich that he might as well have said it). And similar to Hitler’s scapegoating of Jews in Germany, Number 45 has the perfect scapegoats here in America: Blacks.
When Colin Kapernick first took a knee during a football game he said afterwards that he was making a statement about in inequality and the unfair treatment of blacks at the hands of the criminal justice and social systems in this country, but now, in order to undermine his brave stance and delegitimize his message, right-wingers — lead by Number 45 — want to make it about patriotism, respect for the flag, and the honoring of the men and women who have given their lives in defense of our country.
Racists cannot admit that Kapernick has a point, since they would then have to face the shortcomings of the unjust systems that have been erected and maintained in this country. And too many Americans are not willing to do that, because once such shortcomings were admitted to, they would then have to be changed.
Instead, Number 45 says there were some “very fine people” marching with Nazis, skinheads and Klan members in Charlottesville, seemingly oblivious to the fact that “very fine people” don’t march with (or even associate with) avowed racists … or was he? It’s becoming increasingly clear that his goal is to split the country into two warring camps.
Something I wrote months ago is becoming increasingly less outlandish and sounding more prophetic: As a nation we are in dire need of a divorce. Even after 45 is long gone, the hatred he has unleashed will still be with us, continuing to divide the nation. And as Abraham Lincoln once said “A house divided cannot stand.”
If one could travel back in time to ask the ancient Romans if they thought their civilization would falter and fail, you’ve be hooted down as a madman; that is what some are saying about my prediction. But so too will some historian, in some distant future look back on us, here in America, in 2017, scratch his head and ask, “What were they thinking? Couldn’t they see this coming?”
For those who focus on the dislocation that would be caused by such a division, I need only remind them of the wife who stays in an abusive relationship simply because of the difficulty and dread of leaving. Only hindsight informs that it’s better to separate than for one or both parties to end up dead.
We should not let the mistakes of the past ruin our future. What should have happened is, once the Union defeated the traitors of the South in the Civil War, the slaves should have been freed and those who did not willingly want to come back into the Union should have been allowed to go. Indeed, most should have not been allowed back in; see where that mistake has gotten us?
Does anyone in their right mind think that we can heal the breach that divides Progressives from Reactionaries? Or, put another way, the haters from hated?
The kneeling controversy is only a symptom of a much deeper problem, a deep blue state/red state division that will continue to manifest itself in myriad ways both large and small. But know this: as we continue to bicker like a married couple that has long ago learned to hate each other, the world is passing us by … and laughing.
I’m not positing that our demise is imminent. It’s doubtful that it will happen in my lifetime, or perhaps yours. But unless there is a coming-together of Americans at least on core issues such as the right to peacefully protest injustice, then we are in deeper trouble than we’re willing to collective admit — and we’re doomed to repeat the mistake of the Romans.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com.