America has long shared its message of successfully overcoming racism, prejudice and discrimination while promoting a visage reminiscent of Walt Disney’s “We’re a Small World After All,” where children of all races hold hands in solidarity.
But as the first week unfolds following the election of Donald Trump as our country’s next president, it’s obvious that this nation has a long way to go before we can honestly say “we have overcome.”
In some ways, the protests by college students and the angry shouts heard from cities across the U.S., as well as the hate messages scribbled on places of worship, point to a sickness that still plagues America. And anger is at the core.
History points to superpowers of the world who, due to the unraveling from within, lost prominence, relevance and national unity. If we liken present-day America to the Roman Empire of ancient history, then we can probably predict our future – if we don’t find ways to heal ourselves.
Maybe American citizens in general and Black Americans in particular, wanted to believe that we had finally evolved to the point where all of our citizens were equally valued and respected. We wanted to believe that the election of our country’s first Black president meant we now lived in a “color blind society.” We wanted to believe the sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and other discriminatory perspectives had dissipated.
But the evidence indicates just the opposite.
Now, as we prepare for the next four years under the leadership of a man who sometimes seems more like a chameleon than a predicable statesman, we will need to pull together, be vigilant and hold our elected officials accountable, including President-Elect Trump.
There’s a foul smell in the air. And while we cannot change the direction of the wind, we can make sure we’re prepared for the challenges that certainly lie ahead.