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Milestone in struggle for justice

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America at the moment is poised in its history to decide whether the nation will move to the higher ground of true justice for all, or continue on a path where lessons that should have been learnt in the fields of Gettysburg continue to haunt those in leadership positions who seem reluctant to turn the page.

Democracy in action: Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks during her debate with Vice-President Mike Pence last week in Salt Lake City, Utah (Photograph by Morry Gash/AP)

The recent debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic candidate Kamala Harris was far more than an event before the presidential election in early November. The debate was startling in many ways because it came in the midst of a pandemic that continues to sweep much of the globe, leaving a trail of death with America leading the way with more than 200,000 lives lost — and experts predicting that, without proper protective measures being followed to the letter, the number could double in the months ahead.

The one and only debate between Pence and Harris did more than reveal how democracy is on a tightrope for survival in an atmosphere of political uncertainty over the crucial issue of leadership, which according to many observers has promoted divisiveness, and which was at the centre of the bloody civil war battle at Gettysburg that left 50,000 dead and wounded.

That conflict pitting Americans against Americans was not because the nation was being attacked by another country. Instead, it was purely an act of defiance by a section of the country to halt efforts to recognise that every American was entitled to freedom and full justice under a constitution that declared that everyone was entitled to freedom and justice under the law. That would include slaves and former slaves.

Moving from that dark chapter of American history, the Wednesday night debate between Pence and the first black woman to run as a candidate for the vice-presidency proved more than a moment of truth for both contestants as the current administration struggles to justify the unjustifiable in its handling of the pandemic, which has left much of the nation in a deep economic crisis and business infrastructure in chaos. That is very concerning because so many countries rely on America’s economic success to boost their economies.

Opinions on who emerged victorious in the debate will vary, as expected, with people choosing whom they wish to believe. That is also part of the democratic process. However, truth always seems to make its way to the top, no matter what.

That is perhaps why former vice-president Joe Biden decided to speak to the nation from Gettysburg where so much blood-letting took place as a result of hatred and divisiveness.

Biden emphasised that after so many years of bitter struggle, the nation should not in the year 2020 allow negatives of the past to rupture efforts to move the nation to a place where full justice for all is reality, rather than words that merely sound good. Unlike the encounter between Biden and President Donald Trump in their first debate, at least there was a degree of civility between Pence and Harris, despite strong disagreement on a number of issues.

With the White House described by many as a beehive of infection from Covid-19, with Trump himself also a sufferer, it was felt by many that the President lacked real concern for common sufferers when he said people should not let the virus dominate their lives after he received the very best of treatment.

There is a long rough road ahead for the nation, and only strong solid leadership committed to truth and decency in serving the people can move the nation forward. That is a decision for the people who have the power through the ballot box to decide what is best for America.

It is decision that rests with them.

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Published October 12, 2020 at 1:34 pm (Updated October 12, 2020 at 7:34 pm)

Milestone in struggle for justice

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