We 21st century Americans pride ourselves in having short rather than long term memories. Our short term memories are conditioned shamelessly by the prosperity of mass consumer capitalism which inspires us to become and remain in deep debt due to planned obsolescence of necessary and desired consumer goods. Short term memory is functional in an America and world which devalues literacy and deep analysis of our societal and global environments peddled in and catered by sound bite social and conventional media.
We are blissful in our lack of communication skills about anything too deep which needs to be addressed.That is until something unsettling happens in our personal , societal, or/and global lives.And then we are shaken down to our emotional roots, confused, scared, a bit embarrassed not knowing what to say or how to say it because we have been encouraged not to have memories especially the not too pleasant long transparent ones.
As well, we 21st century Americans in our sacred and broadening secular places of where and what we worship like to boast as a citizenry that short term memories help us to forgive and to move on quickly rather than lingering too long in and with our unpleasant pasts as a nation we are anyways losing capacity to read about let alone care about. Really our problem as Americans is not whether or not our mass media stroked societal memories especially about the unpleasant stuff are short or long with or without self-induced or imposed spasms of societal amnesia.
The problem is what we Americans choose to remember is highly selective and thus is becoming dangerously problematic in a dramatically changing society and world. Indeed as the ultimate dismal illustration,what we Americans not only saw but experienced for the entire world to see on Wednesday January 6, 2021 in the desecration of our most sacred civil place as a nation, our Capital, by hateful mostly White insurrectionists and domestic terrorists was an unforgettable historical moment something more horrible than an attack on democracy.This is particularly so since the practice of authentic democracy in America has always been inhibited in our constitution anyways by the dehumanization of Non-White citizens, the exclusion of female citizens , White male citizen property ownership requirements,and the Electoral College fear of the popular vote in Presidential elections by the slave owning writers of our most sacred civil religious text–the Constitution of the United States of America.
Instead, the problem is,the January 6,2021 sorid disruption of what since the late 19th century has been a boring routine ceremonial certification of the election of the next President and Vice President of the United States of America , namely, the shameful storming of the Capital of the Free World where we arrogantly assumed such insurrection and coup attempts only occur in ” less than us” so called third world countries, was a firm reminder of something in an ultra extreme.
Frankly, we Americans are encouraged not to know or if we know, not publicly discuss and to have lack of capacity or refuse to see what fearful prejudiced Whites in their berths of privileged racialized entitlement have done in the past. And thus what they can and will do to use their racist hegemony to at will destroy all of us including themselves rather than share society with those they have historically denied access rationalizing them away as being inferior or not human beings at all.We have in other words been in this place before though not as high up the oligarchal food chain where in the past White nationalists preferred to destroy post-Civil War Reconstruction and other ex-African slave freedom efforts enforced by the Klu Klux Klan and the threat and practice of the lynch rope.In post-1954 Brown decision America, they have defunded if not totally destroyed public sector systems such as schools and put their kids in private schools of uneven academic quality than to allow them to sit next to black and brown skinned kids. They have intentionally mismanaged and manipulated the intent of affirmative action to derail fair access, employment ,and promotion practices. They have shifted the investment and venture capital of places of gainful employment and decent housing elsewhere domestically and abroad rather than creating access for those who are Black and Brown. Their response to desegregation mandates has been to destabilize indeed destroy innercity Black and Brown neighborhoods through dividing them with constructed highway systems and diluting Non-White local poltical capacity through changing the forms and rules of local governance. They have for private industrial profit created a massive Black and Brown male increasingly female mass incarcerated complex while denying the ex-incarcerated their voting and other constitutional rights to disempower Black and Brown communities and assuring a poor quality of life assuring their frequent recidivism.
So we have been here well before this past Wednesday in less societal and global though still massively impoverishing and discriminatory ways.When White nationalists with the unprecedented public leadership and blessings of a sitting White nationalist President of the United States of America committed this cardinal secular sinful transgression and desecration of our Capital with the goal of doing harm to lawmakers in this most sacred place to every red blooded American alive and dead, it was the most ultimate grotesque naked display of White privilege. White privilege since our colonial roots has always been here though we are taught not to remember it and forbidden to publicly talk clearly about it crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is let alone to push back against White privilege until it is defanged , disempowered, until it becomes a ” has been a past relic “of a pathological form of thinking, being, and societal organization and governance. At best White Privilege has become viewed as an academic topic only seriously entertained by marginal radical and militant thought leaders not worth being taken seriously in mainstream elite media and public policy circles.
So, though understandable due to our learned general public lack of memory or excluded and repressed memories of the tainted history of White Privilege in the making and sustaining of our nation , there is no need for we Americans to be shocked or disoriented over what White insurrectionists and domestic terrorists tried to do on Wednesday in regards to barging into the Capital to hunt down lawmakers to kidnap if not kill them in the midst of more peaceful true believer Trump protesting disciples there to raise their manipulated voices about false election claims their folk hero intentionally cooked up.The social media and selfie posted images of the terror was nothing less of an event easily avoided if law enforcement and media had bothered to take seriously the White violence Trump whipped up on the campaign trail and while in office with so much effectiveness in his rallies and in his racist abusive language, excuses, and silences which egged on his loyal White nationalists we all well knew about including federal law enforcement officials who had every right to reinforce security they knew the mostly unarmed Capital Police were incapable of handling alone. So let us be honest and for real about this rather than pretend that somehow those in high federal places did not act because they were not asked.They could have asked, they could have warned, and they could have insisted in reinforcing the Capital Police in ways they probably did in preparation for the BLM movement this past American summer.
This point was made clear by an interview with a senior Black Capital Police Officer who claimed they were caught completely flat footed .It wasn’t until a friend texted him an Instagram message by an insurrectionist about what they were planning to do that he got an inkling this was not going to be an ordinary protest.Higher management down played the coming ” protest” and were nowhere to be seen or heard when the ruckus begun. In the midst of two hours of fighting the boisterous crowd not picked up the media , during which he was called a ni___ger at least 15 times as he watched his White colleagues take selfies with White protesters with management nowhere in sight. This was, as he pointed out in stark contrast to Capitol Police management preparation for the June BLM protest.
Many including President-Elect Joe Biden have been pointing about the discrepancies of law enforcement response to the BLM and Pro-Trump protests.It does not take a rocket scientist to explain the difference.
Those who could have strategically intervened in a timely way in this Trump era compromised federal law enforcement era did not care to do so until Vice President Pence under siege like the rest of the threatened folks in the Capital requested such last minute security backup though too late to stop the barging in from occurring. There are first hand accounts of panicking staffers barricading themselves in rooms as what the interviewed Police Officer described as apparent military trained rioters entered the Capital searching for lawmakers such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, calling her out by name. They randomly called Pentagon and Capitol Police numbers they had begging for help with no answers for at least an hour.
Meanwhile there was President Trump in the White House pleased with his ” special people” desecrating our most holy civil place which his disruptive seditious disciples truly hoped to capture. Though White House insiders say what did make Trump upset as he watched the disruption was the “White trash” look of some of his storming supporters; being more concerned about his reputation than the life taking violence. He was in this sense exerting an elite class tough White male image that won mass campaign and governance appeal which paradoxically drew ordinary White and even Non-White males to him to emulate a John Wayne masculinity while at the same time looking down at them.
As alluded to,there is the refusal up to now to face the music of how much Trump’s success in bringing fringe White nationalists into the White House, Congress, and Judiciary into the American mainstream is embedded in the long arms of White Privilege and violence to create and sustain it dating back to colonial times integral to our establishment as a nation.The extermination of indigenous populations softened as Cowboy and Indian stories, the enslavement of Africans romanticized by Gone With The Wind nostalgia, the lynchings of African , Asian,and Mexican Americans, the institutionalization of police brutality against Mexican American farm workers, African American sharecroppers, and their ethnic counterparts in cities hidden, denied, rationalized away by smooth talking scholars, politicians, journalists, and faith leaders down the scores and decades indeed generations,all illustrate the routine White violence which by definition is what America has been from our very beginnings. Such memories of routinized systemic and conscious intentional acts of White physical, symbolic, emotional, and moral violence have been forgotten when convenient which is routinely usually when not always the case.
Subsequently this has created a morbid American culture routinely giving Whites , females as well as males a pass, a high five, a wink while on the other hand when if Black or Brown like King on March on Washington Day or Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest Day or the Ceasar Chavez or later Latino immigrant boycotts and marches or Native American sit ins, you are met with potential brutal law enforcement push back armed to the teeth. It is because as a nation we have been conditioned to forget, to deny or soften White episodes of genocide against indigenous people, the massive rape of Black and other nonwhite women and the actual or emotional castration of their males, the lynchings, the burning down of Black and otherwise Non-White institutions and communities and the more silent cruel ways dehumanizing systemic racism works to create the sustainable societal glass ceilings and the deep basements which assures Non-White mobility remains spotty trickling tokenism at best.
And we are taught as Americans of all ancestries to fear when Blacks and our Non-Black allies dare to exercise their God give human rights and their human given constitutional rights to gather and raise their voices in protest about the dismal acts of terror and discrimination which since colonial days has marked our continued dehumanization and stigma.We are not supposed to do such things like speak up and stand up for justice especially together, especially in mass forms remembering why it was illegal for slaves to congregate unless under watchful White eyes and Black spies.
And when we do boldly dare to march together for our rights, historical White memories of slaves insurrecting and urban Black rioters tearing up becomes activated White paranoia as seen in the photos of armed law enforcement poised to brutally respond to any BLM protester who dared to get out of line. And more historically , if interested, we can recall the paranoid responses of the fearful Kennedy administration regarding the anticipated King March on Washington and of the Clinton administration ‘s Farrakhan Million Man March underestimated by the President and his Black bourgeois friends though nonetheless feared.
But with a federal law enforcement deeply compromised by four years of White Supremacist Trump we are conditioned to be surprised and dismayed if not a bit horrified and even embarrassed about what happened on Wednesday.What else did horrified Pro-Trump Congress men and women in the Capital ducking and hiding in secured undisclosed places expect to happen when insurrectionists and just hateful violent motivated groups openly planned on social media for weeks exactly what they would do? What else did they and Americans in general expect after Trump spent months before and after the election planting the seeds of doubt about election legitimacy if he lost in the public domain? It has been up until the January 6th failed insurrection and coup attempt Trump and his ultra white cronies were hoping would happen to install him as a second term President on the way to dictatorship, quite normal in America to look the other way when Whites, especially makes and females too to do disruptive if not destructive things or minimize or make excuses or even try to rehabilitate the bad boys and girls. The four years of media and Republican Senate excuses for Trump’s cruel and at times law breaking actions let alone habitual lying hoping that one day he would wake up and turn a new leaf has been symbolic of the “White boys will be boys so let’s clean up behind them and wait until they grow up “syndrome.
That White boys will be boys syndrome gets worse with time unless the culprits are brought to the principal’s office, in this case, to the highest civil and criminal justice authorities to experience the full brunt of authentic not symbolic or water downed justice. In this most serious case of sedition , of domestic terrorism, there is the danger of what happens when criminal privileged White entitlement in pinnacles of power and authority are not adequately countered and checked becoming worse, with much more discord, with much more dangerous confident violence.
So far, on the part of the instigators of the attempted insurrection and coup and those who were just hateful and violent, there has been little retreat; little remorse. White extremists on social media are now becoming even more energized to pursue insurrection or public violence goals confident they will win just because they are White and thus hold the privileged entitled upper hand empowered to manipulate legal procedures and the court of public opinion.The excuses, the urges for prolonged investigations and the urgent pleas by elite white mostly men not to do anything hasty such as impeach Trump and to recall collusive Congress men and women violating their oaths of office and the first and second amendment rights of arrested insurrectionists and domestic terrorists with slick attorneys are already rolling in. Pleas for peace with no justice done to the culprits from the White House down to paramilitary bunkers and streets are fruits of short memories of White privilege convenience in a brand new day in a society and world which is not going to roll over; pretend, and not remember short or long term.
This is the society and world President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris have inherited and are facing with a razor thin Senate and House Majority with a Democratic Party wobbly with its own White Supremacist short term memory problems. Leading a Democratic Party unlike the Republican Party with a history of exploiting their constituencies to win elections and then ignoring them if not disposing of them once they win resulting in non -voting or party switching when they are called upon again for support. This Democratic Party tendency to manipulate Non-White and youthful voters and then do nothing for them beyond the symbolic is a moderate ploy which will no longer work.
In 2022 and 2024, it will drive up the number of Non-White nonvoters , especially younger, poor, and economically marginalized middle class voters tired of the empty justice and decent quality of life promises.Or it will drive them to vote Republican if the Party manages to move away from the toxic racist Trump base and offer alternatives for justice a Wall Street and White Supremacy captured moderate Democratic Party is incapacitated to deliver on.Or they will engage in potentially winnable or dominant two party voter draining third parties.
What then must Biden and Harris do then since on January 6th the script has been torn up regarding the ultimate moderate failure in advocating for racial justice while placating White privileged norms and values with a diversifying electorate base unwilling to go back to the days those who stormed the Capital with the Confederate flag attempted to restore?
What will the incoming Biden-Harris administration do now ? What do they dare do to put us on a path in which we are totally transparent and honest about the good, bad, and ugly about our multicultural origins and character as a nation rather than continuing with selective short and long term memories which privileges Whites over the rest of us and at best encourages cosmetic racial justice pronouncements and damage control policies.
This is 2021, not the 1970s in a still very much Jim Crow America where young adult Joe Biden was beginning his political climb upward with no best practices available to develop a sustaining authentic intercultural America.Now we have such tools domestically and globally for the Biden- Harris administration to enable we Americans to come together as an authentic one people bound together through mutual respect for each other, restoration of the dignity of those of us who mundanely have yet to have it . All to create memories for future generations of Americans in a genuine just society no more in a deeply stained racist society with insidious and intentional racial prejudices they at best read about and see exhibited in museums. Do they dare? Do we dare?