By Carole Copeland Thomas
Here we are in these early days of the Biden Harris Presidency, and the battle cry for reconciliation is on full display. My response: Not yet. Nearly three weeks ago, the very foundation of American democracy was rattled and almost overtaken by an angry mob of largely white anarchists who felt that 80 million voters had stolen their rightful President's victory. They were wrong. They believed the Trump lie and acted on it. As a result, federal property was damaged, six people were killed (including the officer hit over the head with a fire extinguisher and the other who committed suicide), and many federal workers were scared out of their wits. The Vice President was threatened with hanging and was rescued in large part by a quick-thinking black US Capitol police officer. Other anarchists sent death threats to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others in Congress.
All based on lies.
All fueled in part by military veterans, law enforcement officers, Ohio bar owners, and Pennsylvania zealots trying to sell Speaker Pelosi's laptop to the Russians. All fueled by lies.
Lies that quickly gathered followers on Twitter, Facebook Parler, and the dark web. Lies that were nurtured by President Trump because of his desperate need to steal the November 2020 general election, he simply didn't win. And to further add injury to insult, lies that the former President held onto that prevented him from formally conceding the election, right down to stepping into the helicopter that flew him to his farewell speech on January 20th. Lies. More than 30,000 lies in four years—disgusting lies.
Lies that cost me business because of a September 2020 Executive Ban that blocked diversity training programs for federal agencies and federal contractors. Lies that generated a 1776 report just days before President Trump left office. In that report, more lies were reshaped into unrecognizable historic patriotism.
Here's what Former Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo said on Twitter the day after the 1776 Report was released:
"Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the "isms- they're not what America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker."
So, according to Pompeo, my work over three decades as a diversity thought leader, speaker, and trainer is worthless, seditious, and divisive. If that were the case, President Biden would not have so swiftly signed one of 30 Executive Orders that reversed the September 22nd diversity ban signed by Trump.
Pompeo, like boss Trump, was a major peddler of lies.
My response to Pompeo, who called me the enemy, is: "Good riddance to both of them for generating the lies that continue to wreak havoc in our nation."
So, I cannot in good faith champion a reconciliation process before holding political leaders, business executives, and civic advocates accountable for the extensive and generational damage they have done to our society. There has to be an acknowledgment of truth in order to root out the lies. Clearly, the second impeachment we're now witnessing is a step toward accountability. We don't know what the Senate will do or if the Senate will convict President Trump. At least the House of Representatives had the guts to denounce an outgoing President whose selfish lies led to violence and death.
And when it comes to business and commerce, my annoyance is on full display. I am watching and monitoring those companies who wrote compassionate letters of support for Black Lives Matter after George Floyd was killed. Through their political PAC organizations, some of those same companies gave gobs of money to Republican legislators who fully embraced the Trump election laws. Some have recently cut ties with these legislators.
I cut ties with My Pillow propped up on my bed. I took this pillow and threw it in the trash when I learned that Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO, was one of the main proponents of the election lies. He was seen visiting the White House after the January 6th insurrection. He and Rudy Giuliani continue to fan the fires of hate, election lies, and unwavering loyalty to Former President Trump. Several companies have dropped his products from their inventory, including Wayfair, Bed Bath And Beyond, and Kohl's.
The same can be said for the complicit behavior of Social Media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They must be held accountable and not allowed to serve as the distribution channel for Trump lies and conspiracy theories. Yes, Twitter has banned Trump, and Facebook, too. Let's keep it permanent. Parler, the widely uncheck fringe group platform, has also been removed from Amazon, Apple, and Google. Let's keep it that way.
And here's what Mary Trump, the former President's outspoken niece, said today on Twitter:
"To anybody interviewing congressional Republicans: first ask them if, in one word, they accept the results of the 2020 election. If they say anything other than yes, cut their mics and end the interview. Better yet, find out ahead of time and don't have them on at all."
I do believe in reconciliation. It's a necessary ending platform that will restore the country and help heal our deep-seated wounds. With truth, accuracy, and transparency, the road to reconciliation will lead to the right path for our sustainable future.
However, the most effective path to reconciliation is through the gateway of accountability.
Conservative leaders MUST accept that Donald Trump LOST the 2020 presidential election. They must also denounce those who became anarchists the minute they stormed into the US Capitol and breached security measures to do so.
Americans MUST work with the Biden Harris Administration to fight COVID by wearing masks and practicing safe social distancing measures.
Americans MUST also work with the Biden Harris Administration to help tackle the economy, bring jobs back into the marketplace and find new solutions for communities of color far too often left out of the economic gameplan.
And Americans MUST admit that our racial issues are deeply dividing our country, are institutionally embedded in our nation's fabric, and must be acknowledged if they are going to be resolved.
Reconciliation? Yes. But Accountability must be fully applied, administered, and rectified if reconciliation has any chance to make it in our great country.
Most of us launched our New Year with high hopes, plenty of expectations, and a reassuring notion that the worst of 2020 was behind us. You know that feeling, the COVID vaccine was on its way, and health care professionals were at the front of that line. The political and economic uncertainties were turning a corner, with a new presidential administration ready to take over. We were promising to move in a new direction after the pomp and circumstances of a January 20th Inauguration.
All of that was awaiting us, in addition to our New Year's resolutions and weight-loss commitments.
And then it happened right in front of our eyes on live television. The January 6th Insurrection on the US Capitol changed everything. It shocked us, frightened our spirits, and ripped off America's band-aid, exposing an avalanche of old and new national problems.
Ripping Off America's Band-Aid
There are five layers of old skin that were ripped off when QAnon, The Proud Boys, and other anarchists/white supremacist groups stormed into the US Capitol, demanding that their grievances be heard. On full display were:
These five tenants are embedded into America's fabric and provide the building blocks for fringe groups like the Proud Boys. And the stakeholders of these far-right groups represent the largest danger to our country: domestic terrorism.
As articulated by Congressman James Clyburn, the Democratic House leader whose single endorsement relaunched Joe Biden's presidential candidacy,
"It is time in our country to admit that we have a domestic terrorism problem."
The problem is an old one. It kept festering and exploded in mid-air on January 6th when an angry mob of white anarchists burst into the Capitol to save their president, whose lies they believed!!!!
They beat white police with no regard for "Blue Lives Matter." In one instance, DC Officer Mike Fanone probably saved himself from being beaten to death by yelling, "I have kids." No such luck for Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher and died. And let's not forget Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who couldn't take it after guarding the Capitol on that Wednesday and committed suicide days afterward.
They were all white.
Heroes like black Capitol Officer Eugene Goodman probably saved Vice President Mike Pence and others in the Senate Chamber with quick thinking. Seeing the Senate Chamber unguarded, Goodman picked up his baton and led the crowd in the opposite direction, allowing Pence to be whisked away with seconds to spare.
Yes, the bravery of many whose quick thinking and service to the country probably thwarted a catastrophe that could have killed lawmakers, staff, and building maintenance members by a mob fueled by a lie.
On the anniversary weekend of his 92nd birthday,
What Would Dr. King Think About America in The Year 2021???
Dr. Martin Luther King's message to us some 57 years ago is as applicable now as it was when he uttered those words during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy; now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice; now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment."
Yes, my friends, the January 6th Insurrection reminded us of the unfinished business we still have in America. And it showed that a lie told enough times can turn into another person's truth. Until we tackle the impact of Violence, Racism, Anti-Semitism, White Privilege, and Anti-Democracy, we will never be the superpower country we claim to be to other nations around the world.
It will take accountability BEFORE healing. Rushing into healing, unity, propagandized corporate letters, and singing Kum Ba Yah, aren't good enough. We have a sizable portion of our country that believed the lies, galvanized their own racial bigotry, and tried like heck to end our democracy. They failed. And they must continue to fail as we stand up, speak out and say NO to their path of destruction. The accountability MUST be our focus BEFORE we can even seriously address a unified front toward reconciliation.
It will take an uncomfortable examination of our personal fault lines that contributed to the degradation of January 6th. Discussions in large and small groups will provide the path forward. Having new leadership team in the White House will certainly help the cause.
We are in a clear and present danger that will marginalize us all in America if we don't seriously address the angry white mob carrying Trump and Confederate flags. They have every intention of pushing our democracy off the cliff of our future.
Wake up, stop denying it, and help lead our nation through the painful but necessary path of accountability BEFORE healing.
-Carole Copeland Thomas
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.