When I first heard the expression Make America Great Again, I thought it was awesome. It was great from a marketing perspective, but also a message that I felt would be a rallying cry for our nation to be all that it could be. Never in my wildest dreams did I fathom that it would be used to utterly divide our country, and ignite the fires of bigotry, racism, and pure hatred, and arguably, the most powerful man in the world would be the one fanning the flames…that is truly scary.
When Donald Trump was campaigning, I thought that his support base – while having a radical sector, still had conservatives and other honorable, decent people. While I knew I would not share their political view, I saw no reason to question their character. I have a diverse group of close friends: old, young, black, white, brown, red, republican, democratic, liberal, conservative, moderate, straight, gay, bisexual, urban, suburban, hip, thug, square, nerd, religious, atheist, agnostic, rich, poor, middle class, drunk, sober……ALL of it!!
But no matter how different I am from them, we share a common bond of human decency. When I look at the current climate of The UNITED States of America, that dynamic has eroded. In the midst of a world wide epidemic that does not discriminate, we still have people sowing the seeds of discord, and divisiveness. I truly believe in the principles of democracy that this country was founded on. While the people who came up with it didn’t do so with black, red, brown, or yellow people even being considered as humans, it is still fundamentally good.
We are at an era where those who have been oppressed, and disenfranchised will rightfully demand that ALL people are treated equally! Just so we’re clear..treated equally when it comes to justice, fairness AND responsibility. People of color can not demand a seat at the table without being willing to put something on it, and to help wash the dishes, pots,and pans. When we can respect each other despite our differences,we can grow and learn beyond our personal perspectives. I am grateful to have friends like Christopher Neiweem.
While having completely different backgrounds, cultures and politics, we are able to have meaningful and insightful conversations. We can disagree without feeling a need to determine who is right or wrong. We have simply come to accept that we see some things differently. But because we respect each other, and take the time to truly listen to each other’s opinion, we quite often find common ground.
Sometimes there may be a delayed reaction – where we call each other and say, ‘You know what? Now I get it!’. We have even agreed on the subject of reparations! LOL. We are an example of what human decency and respect, can produce. There are other people that I may forever disagree with politically, but still respect. At its core, a great America has to be one where we don’t like what somebody has to say, but still fight for them to have the right to say it!
Looking back to 2016 – I don’t know what era in American history that President Trump is being referring to as being great enough to establish again. Certainly displaced Native Americans, enslaved African Americans, and others who have suffered injustice can’t call any time as being truly “great”. But we have an opportunity right now, to work together, to ensure justice, fairness, and equality. The current civil unrest caused by the filmed murder of another person of color, has brought us to a point where White America can no longer turn a deaf ear, or blind eye to the disproportionate, systematic genocide that we have been talking about for decades! Justice should be applied equally. Not only for those who have enjoyed centuries of privilege, but for all who respect our laws, and meet the standards of citizenship. To accomplish this we must MAGA – Make America Great for All!
Bryant K. Crowder is an Independent and deacon at his church.
He is an advisor on urban affairs to the Neiweem Group.
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