By Dr. H. J. Harris, author of “Solving the Race Issue In Americ
As election day unfolds, many wonder if the words of President Abraham Lincoln are predictive of the future of America.
Lincoln said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” Lincoln felt that the ideals of freedom for all and the institution of slavery could not coexist — morally, socially, or legally — under one nation.
With events of the last four years, America is still divided: one part based on truth, justice and equality and the other part based on falsehoods, injustice and racism.
This election of 2020 brings to a head the spiritual contradiction that has existed since the beginning of this country.
What are the signs?
- Partisan strategy to cause millions of Americans to lose their healthcare – with no replacement – leaving them at the mercy of profit driven healthcare corporations.
- The shifting of the focus from the systemic causes of racism in the murder of George Floyd to a symptomatic issue of looting, burning and property destruction.
It was as though a man in his home was shot in his groin and the leaders choose to focus on the damage to his rug caused by his bleeding.
How different could this county and this election cycle be, if the leadership had seized upon the outcry of justice for George Floyd as a teachable moment to confront the systemic racism that has been a cancer on the soul of America for over 400 years.
- Armed white militia invading the Michigan State Capitol with no protests from the leaders nor consequences for their actions. Encouraged by partisan leaders who did not approve of the actions taken by the Governor in response to the pandemic. Culminating in a plot to kidnap or kill the Michigan Governor. Yet, no serious outcry from national leaders on how this could happen in an America promoted to the world as a country of respect, reason, and justice.
- Presidential and partisan efforts to undermine the election process and create doubt in our most cherished institution – the sanctity of the ballot and voting process.
- Overt, intentional partisan efforts to suppress the vote of black, brown, and poor people. Launching numerous, coordinated legal attacks on the voting process designed to suppress the vote and create confusion and frustration.
- Numerous instances of voter intimidation by armed citizens in roving caravans threatening black Americans attempting to vote.
- Mishandling, to the point of dismissing, the pain and suffering of millions of American caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
The disappointment and sadness of this election experience is that a significant number of citizens have approved – actively or passively by silence or inaction – the caustic, divisive language and actions that further undermine the promise made at the birth of this nation that all men are created equal, with certain unalienable rights, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This election, the pandemic and the atmosphere of intolerance, demonstrates that American has forgotten the most basic principle of our faith – the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Continued violation of this “golden rule” creates the spiritual contradiction that divides America against itself, and thus – it cannot stand.
Herbert (H. J.) Harris is a retired attorney and author of “Solving the Race Issue in America.” He attended the 1963 March on Washington and experienced the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 1960’s. More information at www.solvingtheraceissue.com
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