By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
There is a sense of sadness that feels to be pervasive these days, a sadness which is not going away in spite of having a new administration in Washington, D.C. that is concerned with the lives of “the American people.”
There are no brash and rude tweets. There are no stand-ups by the president on the lawn of the White House, spewing fake news and lies even as he is saying that everything that the media reports is fake news. The nation has a president that really cares about what this nation has been through because of the pandemic, for sure, but also because of the toxic political atmosphere which has existed for some time but which exploded during the previous administration, including an attack on the United States Capitol.
There is that sadness, though, and a sense of foreboding. There is not one “American people,” but there are at least two groups of “the American people,” separated, sadly, by racism and economic snobbery. “The American people” who stormed the Capitol are not “the American people” who looked on with horror. The politicians who represent “the American people” who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection and who supported the huge tax cut for the very wealthy during the previous administration are not the same politicians who this weekend voted in favor of the COVID Relief Bill which cleared the Senate this weekend.
While many Americans relished the spirit of the former president, many others wrestled with anger, frustration and anxiety. As the former president ran roughshod over traditional American institutions and norms, some applauded while others wrung their hands, seeing the country in which they had grown up changing before their very eyes.
At the core of what is happening is America’s white supremacy. Those who love the former president hate the “browning of America,” not a new emotion for them. They rejoiced when their hero president derided the 1619 Project and proposed forming his own 1776 Commission, as reported by NewsHour and CBS News respectively.
Many of the supporters of the former administration have criticized the need for diversity training because they have said it amounts to nothing more or less than White genocide, and rejoiced the order written by the former president to stop diversity training in agencies of the federal government although a federal judge blocked it, according to the Anti-Defamation League and USA Today.
What we are seeing is the unmade bed of America, its sheets soiled beyond the point of being able to be washed clean by the dirt of white supremacy. Those who say they love the president may very well, but what seems totally clear is that they do not like the government – or its law enforcement officers. They appear to be anti-government, persuaded by their white supremacist beliefs that this government was made by White people for White people.
The element of the sadness, which makes it so sharply felt, is the truth is that a government can change laws, but it cannot change the hearts of people. White supremacists would say they’re not “racist,” but are just trying to honor the will of God – i.e., that America remain White – meaning that White people remain in control of everything and everyone. They are fine with Black and Brown people serving in their restaurants, cleaning their buildings, working in their factories and doing whatever is needed to keep the country alive, but when the “duty” of those same Black and Brown people is completed, they are adamant about “them” returning to “their” place, and remain quiet about their condition.
The racist seedbed of this country is toxic. In order for the fight by Black people, for example to get and retain the right to vote to “stick,” the hearts of hard core racists would have to change. Laws are good and necessary, but we see that in spite of the Voting Rights Act 1965 having happened after the debacle carried out on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, not enough hearts have been changed to support it. Rather, we see a rash of bills being produced by Republicans all over the country to hinder the capacity of Black people to vote, TheNation.com reported. The deeply held racist beliefs are ubiquitous, extending to the courts, which means that everything that Black people worked for in order to vote is in jeopardy; there should not be an expectation that the United States Supreme Court will protect Black people, according to a CNN report.
Even though there was no second ambush of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, as had been rumored to expect, it is clear that the anarchists are not finished, and neither is their hero. There is a sadness that grows on a daily basis, the new administration notwithstanding. The ancestors gone before us cry out to us to hold on, to “walk together” and not get weary, but the sadness is heavy.
Would that God intervene, the God of all people, not the God who seems to represent and support only White nationalists, and change the hearts of those who are caught in their racist beliefs. If something does not happen to prick their hearts, it’s not a sure thing that the country will be able to withstand and control the storms before it.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Her latest book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America is available at all booksellers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.