play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left
volume_up
chevron_left

politics

Why I’ve Been Silent

DTJ January 11, 2021 7


Background
share close

If you visit this site often; you may be wondering why there has not been any new content posted since the end of October 2020. The short answer is, I have been in a state of breathlessness since November. And before you dismiss that hyperbole, allow me to explain.

Like many people, I held my breath the evening of November 3rd as the Presidential Election was being decided.  Many news outlets correctly predicted weeks prior that we’d likely not know a winner for some days or weeks, but as each State result was announced a weird mix of anticipation and fear lingered. Finally retreating to bed early the next morning, I couldn’t help but to think about how the races would be called and if we’d know by the next morning. We wouldn’t. Over the next few days, the drama that unfolded in States like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania and the attack on election process and its workers especially hit me hard given I was one of the volunteers working the polls this election. I gained such an appreciation for the beauty of the electoral process and the sacrifice those workers made in performing such a vital civic duty and therefore was not thrilled they were being vilified unjustly. For the better part of 4 days I, like many Americans, absorbed more news coverage in over the span probably since 9/11. I literally stayed glued to certain news outlets such as the AP, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX as states were called or declared too close to call for Trump or Biden.

When the race was officially called on Saturday November 7th, which happened to be my birthday, I breathed a sigh of relief that a decision had been made and watched as thousands of Americans danced in the streets across the country as our collective decision had been realized. It did not take me but a few moments to discover, however, that an epic election fight was brewing. One the likes unseen before and for which our democracy, laws and principles would be tested.

Even after that race was called, I held my breath for the results of a local City Council race where I live. However, I’m sad to report our friend Luz Gomez did not win. Her race was super close and literally came down to mail in votes and was not decided until the end of November.

With all the election drama going on, you would think I’d shift focus and write about sports especially with the NBA staring its new season, College Football preparing to culminate, the NFL embarking on the playoffs and the collective success of my favorite teams such as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or my Cleveland Browns who are in the playoffs for the first time in 16 or so years. That is worth an article on its own and yes, their season and success had me breathless as well. Cleveland sports fans are some of the hardest luck fans of all and so we relish anytime we are not the brunt of jokes. I think I especially catch flack when I tell people I’m a Browns fan because I’m not from Cleveland. I like the Browns because they were a great team in my youth, and I have chosen to stay loyal to them. For the record I’m also an unabashed and unapologetic New York Yankees fan. However, I’m disgusted with the season they had and therefore will make no further mention of them.

The point is I’m sure many of you might have been visiting the site looking for a distraction through my sports commentary only to find there was none and it should by now be obvious that it’s not that I did not have anything to say. I have written previously in 2020 about feeling we were in a place in this country Sports could not and ought not distract from. I felt and still do that the moment, the issues and challenges causing it are too important not to address directly.

Throughout the month of December, we have witnessed a fight over the Presidency unlike anything seen in our lifetime. I’m just old enough to remember the 2000 election and my introduction to the term Floating Chad. Not sure I understand it today. But that was a fight legitimately argued before the Supreme Court which ultimately decided the outcome. Having voted for Al Gore, I can remember being upset and in disagreement with the ruling. I can also remember being a bit perturbed at Florida’s convoluted voting process. However, I eventually accepted the result and as a country we moved on. That’s not to say there weren’t protest and legal challenges and much of the same drama we see today. However, there wasn’t yet a real 24-hour news cycle and Social Media wasn’t prevalent as it is today. I would watch news when I got home or buy a newspaper every now and then for updates. But there wasn’t an obsession with the results for me. I remember feeling like Bush was not the right person for the job. Who knew then he would be called on to lead our country through such a life altering event as 9/11? I often think about the collective choice we made as a country considering it.

In the 20 years since that election, I have experienced the thrill and hope on both sides: when your candidate wins and the disappointment when they lose. You grumble, and complain, maybe even loudly, but you eventually move on. However, that 2000 election ushered in concerns over ensuring all legal votes being counted and free and fair elections. The topic engaged my awareness of many different strategies such as Redistricting and Gerrymandering that were packaged as common-sense methods of ensuring an accurate reflection of voters but really were clever ploys to influence elections for one party or the other.  You then start to hear terms like disenfranchisement and suppression which are typically targeted against certain groups such as Blacks and Latinos. You then start to ask the question how long or in what other forms does an issue exist and wonder if people are even aware of the tactics being employed against them. Before long, you find yourself in a rabbit hole chasing a snake, too deep to climb out of and bitten.

When ideas become too cumbersome many of us make the decision to leave those ideas for others to consider. And indeed, others do. What we may not realize at the time is that we also surrender our understanding to the skewed interpretations and inclinations of others in exchange for the convenience for not having to consider the complex. Said more simplistically, failing to understand leaves us ignorant. Sometimes you must chase and kill the snake so that it doesn’t harm other people or rabbits.

This leads me back to why I’ve been silent. My original intent was to wait a few days until the Elections were officially called and then talk about where we go next as a country. However, the closeness of the election caused me a great deal of sadness. At the end of the day, people have a right to vote for whoever they choose (except Kanye because that vote achieved nothing).  I can be honest and say that I just did not want to come to grips with so many people falling for the lie of Trump. I’m sure there are Trump voters who were as disgusted with the choice of Biden. It’s not lost on me that not everyone who visits this site necessarily agrees with my take or perspective. That’s cool. But we should be able to both disagree and still support each other. I preface that to further state that I’m bothered by the Election Result, not in who won, but in how the country has responded to the lost. It bothers me how stubborn some have become in believing lies or conspiracy. I’m not one of those people that believes conspiracies don’t exist. But I am also not oblivious to facts. And we can’t just go around calling things conspiracies because we have not been diligent in attempting to understand. There is real corruption happening in plain sight that most people never challenge. Yet they fight for a lie with their whole life. At the end of the day, it’s your choice to believe what you will. I would think, however, there is a shred of integrity and decency left to accept the truth when presented. When did adults become so averse to the truth?

What I saw play out on Wednesday, January 6th, as thousands of Americans stormed the US Capital in an to attempt to disturb the final step of the Presidential Election Certification Process, encapsulates so much of what I’m expressing here and have written throughout 2020 regarding why this moment should not be ignored. There is a clear and present double standard in this country that has slowly been making itself more visible. I don’t care about people protesting, at the Capitol. That is a right as an American. I care that white people protesting is met with a different response from law enforcement and the general media than protests containing black and brown people. And don’t talk to me about looting and rioting being a factor in one over the other. A riot is defined as a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd. Looting is defined as the theft or stealing of goods from a place. Yes, both of those things happened on Wednesday. But law enforcement did not respond to it as it had throughout the country but 5 months ago when a different subset of people was purported to being doing it. In fact, the only tear gas or chemical agents deployed Wednesday were used by the protesters.

At this point some readers may be turned off because I invoked race. It is uncomfortable for many people to consider the impact race truly plays in our society rather perceived or real. When you hear the terms White Supremacy or White Privilege, it may feel cumbersome and cause you to disregard it. However, much as in rehab, the first step towards recovery is acknowledgement that there is an issue, even if we can’t agree on what the root of it is. When a fire breaks out you usually smell the smoke before you know what’s causing the fire. America has been smoldering for some time.

Some people will say that they have free speech and through it can say and express themselves however they feel. Free speech, at times, is a blessing and a curse. On one hand it is a privilege to live in a country where we are free to express our displeasure on just about anything. If you don’t like your jelly made with high fructose corn syrup, there is likely a demonstration happening at 2pm somewhere in America you can join. On the other hand, not everyone enjoys the same experience of the privilege. If you are of a certain race or hue, how law enforcement responds to your protest may be met differently. Knowing this, it may cause you to think twice about complaining about that Jelly after all. Maybe I’ll just avoid the topic all together. But that sort of passive reaction isn’t American either and eventually evolves into aggression on the next issue I might feel more motivated to raise my voice on. That aggression and anger produces what we saw in the wake of the George Floyd shooting, carried over from the dozens of other unjustified killings of Black and Brown people at the hands of law enforcement. However, our anger is a threat met with force. White anger is a spirited expression of democracy. Just admit you liked my people better when we were slaves because your policies and treatment give you away.

It has become harder to live in a country that doesn’t like you. Since November, I have been wrestling with such a complex and sobering reality. There are countless others over the 243 years of America’s history wrestling the same foe. Some have concluded that equality will come in time. Other have said there needs to be a reckoning of some sort. And yet others still say we are spinning our wheels and need to develop a new home for ourselves. But we built this country. We can do it again, right? But why should we have to? Why can’t we just be accepted and loved for who we are? If we were good enough to be made by God, we not worthy to be respected by man? Then again, man has a history doing the opposite of what God intends.

Again, this will all ring a little deep for those of you looking for a laugh or some banter to take your mind off the world. But I just felt like what is happening in this country is no laughing matter. If the issue of race remains too deep or serious, consider the other trails of our current season.  There have been 365K Coronavirus deaths in America over the past 10 months. A total of 2 million deaths worldwide. There are thousands of business owners facing economic ruin due to shutdowns and countless other workers who find themselves unemployed and in need of some social care services just to survive. I fear the homelessness crisis will worsen as a result.  And even when the pandemic is over, people return to work, and we resume a sense of normalcy, what will it look like? Forgive me for not feeling like entertaining you throughout this period.  I have been trying to catch my breath from all that is happening.

Rate it
Previous post
Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *