Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Nation, Under Siege

It became clear the moment Barack Obama was declared the winner of the 2008 Presidential election, that a shift was occurring in American society, a momentous shift, the momentum for which had built over the decades since the end of the 1960's. In the highest bastion of white male dominance, a black man would reign, finally.

To many, it signaled the end of the world.

A cherished view of a nation dominated by the last vestiges of the exclusively white, male Founding Fathers was torn asunder, as if the Starts and Stripes were ripped from a flagpole, dashed to the ground, and trampled. The harsh, unendurable reality of hundreds years of secession, repression, segregation, criminalization, denigration, and enslavement of a people burst forth, as the damming of their drive for freedom was damned by the weakness of a white race unwilling or unable to accept that their view of the black race was built of tissues of self-approbation, self-delusion, and ignorance, not one single stone of truth.

As this wave of change flooded the lands once fertile with overt racism, the spores of that fetid crop were given rise to flourish once more in the light, nourished by the delusional hatred thus uncovered. So it began that the tattered remnants of those forces antithetical to the nation knit themselves into groups that hoisted banners long dormant, taking them to be symbols of the "true" nation, and voicing opposition to anything that spoke to the unity of the disparate elements that, conjoined, make up the United States. Suddenly, it was no longer all of us created equal, but some of us more equal -- and thus more deserving -- of freedoms than others.

These misguided miscreants, buoyed by their wretched enthusiasm, exhorted and supported by The Monied Powers, took to the airwaves and the ballot boxes and battered their way into Federal government, and as the mouse that nests in the gears of the grandfather clock, proceeded to gum up the works. A strong government that could -- and was enjoined to -- support the American people and defend her way of life, began to disassemble the core values that made her great. They put their heads down and rampaged through a system that, while imperfect, had managed to keep the nation together through feast, famine, war, pestilence, and internal strife. A well-oiled mechanism might have absorbed the blow; the government stitched together over two hundred years was not so tough.

It was a simple proposition: the newcomers and their mentors already extant established one goal: to deny the President of the United States any kind of legislative boon, no matter how much it was necessary to the operation of the country. Caught in the midst of a crisis of their manufacture in decades past, these hooligans in the castle proceeded to drag their feet, to spout useless puffery, to point fingers and assign blame, and brought the system of Federal governance to a crawl, barely able to keep it functioning from month to month.

And there was no reason for it.

For in this case, we take "reason" to mean that there was some flaw in character, some dark, deceitful streak, some malevolent undertone, that they could see and we could not.

President Barack Obama presented no such things.

Instead, he was earnest in his attempts to urge the nation along, to light a fire under a sputtering economy, to rein in the excesses of our forays into nation-building at the end of a sword. He spoke of peace, but was unafraid of war. He could wax eloquent about the true meaning of the founding of our nation and at the same time point out its most egregious flaws. Most of all, he was able to draw ire from both sides of the aisle, the surest sign that he was on the right track to handling a fractious and floundering country.

No, this foul, festering obstructionism was not the product of any realized malevolence in the heart of our President. It was -- and is -- the odious stench of racism, swathed in anti-government sentiment, cloaked in jingoism, and borne upon a howling wind of self-importance by Americans who are certain they owe nothing to anyone, even as they are sure they are owed everything by everyone else. It is a match set to the tinder of a nation desiccated by close to four hundred years of treating every person on the North American continent who was not of the "good fortune" to be born of the white race as inferior.

Is every opponent of the President's agenda a racist? Certainly not. If not, however, they have not been in a hurry to denounce their brethren who are. They have not been quick to denounce those who wish violence and death upon him and those who work for them. They have not been quick to derail the fanatical desire of some in their number to drag his name through the mud. They are certainly not quick to acknowledge his lack of malevolent intent. No, they are content to sit on the sidelines, eyes closed, ears plugged, pretending they are above it.

It is clear that there is one narrative in our nation now, that overrides anything reasonable, one that is given the widest possible latitude, one that is shouted from rooftops and television sets: President Obama is destroying America. If that were the case, it would already lie in ruins at our feet, for it was tattered badly by the previous administration's lackadaisical approach to governance and appeasement of its party base. All evidence points to a nation that has resisted a tide of disappointment, disaster, and chicanery, through brute strength and main stubbornness and a willingness of the average American to lend a hand to those in need. Despite every attempt by a petulant and fickle Republican Party to douse the flame of unity, we soldier on, as we always have. If anything, we are stronger for the fight to restore order.

Now, as the grey skies part, it is time to turn from the business of survival to that of restoration. The bombastic lot that plunged us into the whirling chaos of budgetary shortfalls coupled with regulatory dismemberment lain on top of the admixture of nationalist fervor and the tyranny of the minority must be handed their walking papers. The United States of America is not ready to fold, not prepared to simply walk away from the table. We have come too far, survived too much, to allow a bunch of rabble-rousers to continue excoriating a government that has held this nation together for over two hundred thirty years. If they do not like the Federal government, they need not be part of it, but as long as they claim the individual rights and freedoms that that government protects and provides, they will not be allowed to destroy it.

So it is up to the rest of us to put a halt to this madness, through word, and deed, and ballot. Let us restore the faith our Founding Fathers had in us, when they built a nation Of The People, By The People, and For The People, by showing that We, The People shall not give in to the tyranny that some among us would claim as patriotism. Our nation must remain indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.