Who are we, if we know who we are? Still divided but turning a page.

Two weeks ago, a fascist terrorist like “mob” crashed into the US capital all the way to the federal government’s buildings.  The reaction? Journalists: This is a never-seen before scene… and other missteps comparing to war zones created by the US imperialism. Politicians: This is not the United States of America.

However, that’s the problem.

  1. This is the United States of America. It’s always been like this, even if much of it was and is centered either behind closed doors or either in certain circles out in the open. Certain circles as in we point to police behavior, certain conservative organizations, such as the KKK or the Proud Boys to name a couple, and the very mentality of a growing toxic social fabric. That growth expanded into greater social norms, also out in the wide open.
  2. A little known fact: this is by far, not the first mob crashing in the capital. Terrorist and alt right from the entire country? Yes, this is the first. The largest riot terror mob crashing in the capital? Also yes, this is the first. Mob? No. A long ways before the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794), the Civil war (no mob but war is war and the fear was there) or even the burning of Washington DC (war of 1812), the last time a mob took on the national government, the leaders decided drastic change was paramount. End result: a new governance system, a new country.

Two weeks after a terrorist mob took on the capital, we had to endure the passation of power in a weird show of so-called “resilience” and “democracy prevailed” in an age where a pandemic is raging. Whereas democracy did prevail due to years-long grassroots pushing for it, there are problems. The words uttered during this inauguration are as conflicting as the actions from the past two decades, maybe four. It was, we’ll write bluntly, distasteful hearing the same bla bla over and over again. We are turning a page at last on the past four years. We are sighing with relief that the era is over.

However, the era is far from over. Unfortunately, we are not turning a page in general. A fight began decades ago with the civil rights movements: a group of people, much hated by the authorities, fought tooth, nail, and blood for change. Each of them left a legacy. The latest one, John Lewis, left a network of communities with a battle plan. That battle plan led to deepened coordination for peaceful protests last summer. It led to the fruits of years-long work of pushing citizens to register to vote and vote. It led to “democracy prevailed”. Battle plans and grassroots organizations combined, they will continue what they started, because hell be loose, there is no going back. It demands change. It demands to be heard. It demands to be at the table, not of negotiating, but of decision-making. And it demands reparations. Nothing will or can move forward until every single demand is reached.

What happened two weeks ago is not the tip of the iceberg. It was the avalanche we all knew was coming. Instead of working towards containing and eliminating the ideology behind it, we let it fester. We let it run wild. By letting it fester, we encouraged the behavior behind it. Whether we wanted to or not, we’re all complicit. However, two weeks after the crash into the capital, that was not completely obvious. The system is still here.

Yet, the words ring out against the tide and only two instances stand out.

Amanda Gorman’s reading of her poem “The Hill We Climb” delivered a powerful message, personal and pointing to hard truths. Truths are the past and the present. Truths point to the future’s necessary action. Rise. Repair. Recover. Three “R”s, which define the ongoing battle for reform and rights in the country. This battle defines the country as much as the extreme conservative ideologies embedded in the system. There are always more than two sides but, in this instance, one must prevail in the end.

With fiery words, the Rev’d Silvester Beaman delivered that same message. This is not over. This might be the turning point. In the past 4 years, the previous decades built up to this past year. It’s the explosion, several of us had been waiting for. Yet, the system is still the same.  That system, though, is about to get a direct punch from the battle raging, now firmly in the center. Today and yesterday might seem normal or back to normal to many. However, to many more, it is not normal.

Unless we acknowledge and carve out a bigger place for the many communities, who tirelessly made sure we could be here to see this moment of “democracy prevailed”.  The time is long gone to act. We’re on the final stretch as it is. Saving what crumbled is not enough. Acknowledging the past is the beginning. Then, reform top to bottom, include, build up, insist. Whoever supports the toxic ideology is still around. Two weeks ago showed how deep it runs and where it flows. We have a long fight ahead of us. There is no normal before the fight is over. The same applies to the country for which everyone is fighting for. Resilience yes. Repair, yes. But also – recognition of those, who have fought long and hard against the toxic system since the beginning.

Cross the border to continue the fight. We’re turning a semi paragraph. We’re turning a semi-page. Somewhere the South-Western coast looking over the Pacific. July 2019. ©le_chah_errant

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