Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: White America Falling Like Roman Empire

Despite anything the politicians today are saying, the white supremacy form of government that rules the United States is doomed. They may have all the guns. They may appear all-powerful with their voter suppression, their gerrymandering, their Electoral College, their filibuster, but their system is doomed.

A century and a half ago, as they prosecuted the Civil War, then beat back the Reconstruction, at least white folks knew enough about the “Peculiar Institution” of slavery the Confederates were fighting to maintain, to call it the “Lost Cause.” Today they are no better off with “Trumpism,” only they won’t admit it openly.

And let’s be honest, Trumpism now defines the Republican Party. White supremacy theology now defines the Christian Church, though much of the Black Church does not buy into that racist way of thinking. Indeed, Black Liberation Theology maintains that The Lord will deliver His Children from the hands of these oppressors, and not that the Second Coming will ratify a wicked leader like Donald J. Trump on The Throne.

Despite the changing racial demographics in the United States today — perhaps because of the changing racial demographics today — Republican (i.e. white supremacist) politicians are hell-bent on maintaining power and control by any means necessary. They slipped and let the rising Black Tide overtake the ballot box in 2020 and Trump — as unfit a human being as ever sought to be president — was turned out of office, and the U.S. Senate was flipped from red to blue with two unprecedented defeats of White Power incumbents in Georgia.

All over the country, literally hundreds of voter suppression laws have been introduced in GOP-dominated state legislatures, so that a slip-up like that of 2020 never happens again. It’s clear that because white folks are hell-bent on maintaining white governing power, there is no interest in seeing full voter participation by the entire electorate in the U.S. governing experience. No.

They even say so in some of their legislative and judicial arguments. Their aim is to see to it that like-minded, white Republicans win elections, otherwise the elections aren’t “fair.”

White Americans today, like the ancient Romans were a “very religious,” pious people who believed in honoring their ancestors and tradition, Dr. Kenneth Calvert, director of the Oxford Study Abroad Program at Hillsdale College, wrote in a 2018 article. The Romans also “cherished courage, honesty and duty,” he says, and their convictions were key to their rise as a culture.

These virtues sound particularly like the cruel slave owner George Washington, whom contemporaries regularly compared to ancient Roman leaders, and today remains the American ideal of a leader, according to Calvert. Now, it’s MAGA, Make America Great Again, the Trump mantra.

Sadly, white folks will not face the folly of their reckless way of thinking. They believe that by sheer force of will, they will make the entire world continue to come to “heel” at their command. Never mind the presence of a pandemic that swept across the country, taking more than 500,000 lives in its wake, a pandemic which whiteness was unable to stem. At the same time, unprecedented winter storms and hurricanes and out-of-control wildfires battered the U.S. countryside. And yet these myopic, white supremacist-thinking politicians would have us believe that “voter fraud” and “stolen elections,” the “cancel culture” that would suppress former Confederate traitors and the racist drawings of Dr. Seuss are the major crimes and not massive wealth inequality and systemic racism in all walks of life in this country.

Dr. Calvert writes that as its collapse approached, Rome experienced a severe financial crisis. Romans were engaged in constant wars and overspending. Oppressive taxation and inflation widened the gap between the rich and the poor.

The United States has been in a perpetual state of war, somewhere on earth for the past 70 years, and has not won — and will not win — a war since World War II. And yet the Repugnikkkans (as I call them) are content with spending more than $2 billion per day on the military killing machine ($750 billion annually), but believe the mega-rich corporations, which pay fewer and fewer taxes, cannot afford to pay its workers a living wage (a subsistence wage really) of $15 per hour.

The Waltons — the wealthiest family in this country — maintains its Walmart empire because thousands of its full-time employees earn so little, they are eligible for food stamps and welfare relief.

“We call that bribes and corruption but among Romans this was the way business was done,” Calvert writes.

“The political rot also extended to the Roman Senate,” he continues, “which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence. As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership.”

It’s like a mirror from ancient Rome held up in front of the U.S. white society today.

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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