We’ve dropped the ball. My generation, the baby boomers and the hippies, are now great grandpas and must bear the blame for what America has become. How will history judge us? It has been said that hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps it is time we took a peek in the review mirror; for history will be our judge. A century from now, if there is still a planet here, historians will look back at the latter half of the 20th century and first two decades of the 21st and scratch their heads as they ponder, “What were they thinking?” Indeed, what WERE we thinking?
Saturday showed us a vision of a dystopian future. It could be the anomaly or become the norm. This could be coming to a town near you, or our future could be defined by the many solidarity vigils being organized around the country. Our future will be determined by whether we speak honestly about the racial demagoguery of this White House, whether principled conservatives stop enabling the racist and authoritarian policies of the Trump administration, whether we restore the line between force and violence, and whether we have the moral and intellectual courage to engage honestly with our past.
Langston Hughes famously said, “America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath—America will be.” Saturday’s clash in Charlottesville may have lacked the poetry, but it offered the same prophetic challenge of those words. Previous generations sacrificed beyond measure to get us closer to that aspiration. Let’s be perfectly clear that there is only one good way for this story to end, and it isn’t with the side of death or fear, of hate or of a nostalgia for a cult of racial injustice. It’s the only story there is to tell: of the America that will be.
Kemo D. 7
Art by Guy Denning