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.