By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
If we do not pay attention by reading and studying, we get caught into believing that the words we hear today about there being a fight for the soul of this country are new. For some, it is a revelation that such a fight is going on now.
But that fight has been going on almost since the inception of this country. It is our story, our legacy, that this is a racist nation, in spite of those who say that is not true. But it is true; when one considers that at the writing of the Constitution, the issue of “what do we do with the Blacks” and “how can we keep slavery alive” were issues with which the founders grappled.
The result was, of course, the preservation of the practice of enslaving people (there were too many of the founders who owned human beings to get rid of slavery altogether), and the relegation of Black people to an official status of sub-humanity, being designated as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of making sure the masses of Black people would not be able to vote, thereby shifting the power from wealthy White men to a more representative groups of lawmakers.
It was because of the quest for money and power that the soul of America suffered a birth defect from its beginning, and the more White people were told and believed that they were “superior” to all other races and were invited to participate in the efforts to keep Black people enslaved, the more their sense of entitlement increased and the more the soul of America descended into racially-defined chaos.
Certainly, we have heard historian Jon Meacham talk about the soul of America, but so did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mitt Romney, Donald J. Trump and most recently, President Joe Biden. Clearly, the definition of “soul” is different for people in different political parties. There are those who think the nation is dying because of its attentiveness to the masses, and there are those who think that the nation is dying because of how it ignores the masses, but underneath all of this “soul” talk is our racist foundation.
King talked about the flailing soul of America in 1967, where he noted that in spite of the 1954 Board v Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision that only 12% of schools in the South were integrated, and in the Deep South, that number was 2%. There began a drive to end public education so that states could decide for themselves how many Black students, if any, they admitted, and that push to end public education is still alive today, as recorded by NewRepublic.com.
Those who oppose using federal assistance to help the majority of Americans who are working for human and civil rights – a group which includes Black, Brown, Asian, women, the poor, the elderly and students – are attacking those who want to make sure those same masses have access to affordable health care, living wages, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But the race card is being played so heavily that the masses are being coerced to fight for policies that are against their own interests. What is most important to them, it seems, and mostly because they are being coached that way, is to retain white power. They are not thinking about what a country that is governed by big business will mean for them and their families. They will not have the basic needs of being human, nor will they have their so-called rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights. As Dr. Greg Carr of Howard University said, “they will be White with no teeth” because they will not be able to afford or access the health care that will help them keep their teeth.
This country has shared a false narrative of its exceptionalism throughout the whole world, encouraging countries, as they have bought into the idea of democracy, to be better and more fair democracies than America ever was. At the same time, this country has taught the world how to treat and think about African Americans as being sub-human, so much so that those who have been in this nation a short time have the audacity to tell Black people to “go back to Africa,” or to Asian Americans, “go back to China” while both African Americans and many Asians have been here since this country’s birth.
A country that does not own and deal with its faults and weaknesses is a country that is vulnerable to all kinds of attacks. By insisting on keeping power and wealth in the hands of a very few, it demoralizes its citizens and makes them vulnerable to offers of humanity offered by other nations – who themselves are really only interested in acquiring more power and wealth as well.
If this nation survives the current crisis it is in, it will not survive much past that because the people who are scratching their way to the top of the power heap are dismantling the country as it has been as they make their way up. They say they are destroying “the deep state,” but what they are doing is merely forming a new “deep state” which will be fine with keeping the masses under horrific economic and political oppression.
The soul of America, it seems, is further away from being “saved” as it ever was.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.