America’s moment of truth
Regarded as the most powerful country in the world, America will soon attempt to move a step closer to the land where, internationally, it is seen as the place where regardless of race, religion or political persuasion, one can under a system of democracy enjoy a life with unlimited opportunities.
It is that belief that motivates many immigrants to enter the country by any means hoping for a better future. The land of opportunity is an image that appeals to those struggling with families in countries riddled with gang wars and powerful criminals that dictate much of daily life.
Under highly questionable leadership, families are willing to risk everything to place their feet on soil where at least there is a chance for a better life. However, America’s troubled history has been an endless struggle for many of its own citizens, who, because of skin colour or ethnic origin, have been denied their full rights as a citizen under the nation’s constitution.
This has been a burning issue since the 1844 Civil War, when a section of America took up arms to prevent the freedom of enslaved Africans and to prevent them from gaining full rights as American citizens. Raging bigotry and hatred led to thousands of Americans killing each other on their home soil, in a failed attempt to halt the wheels of justice. Although the Confederate Army tried to dismantle President Abraham Lincoln’s agenda to promote freedom, the effort crumbled.
Even after all these years, the nation still struggles with those who resent a diverse America. Perhaps this is why the slogan “Make America Great Again”, popularised by the outgoing administration of Donald Trump, left many wondering what that really meant.
Many felt America, with all its success stories in the struggle to build a nation, can never be great until every citizen — Black. White, Hispanic or other ethnic origin — was accepted with all the rights entitled under the Constitution. This is an issue highlighted by President-elect Joe Biden, who is scheduled to be sworn in as the nation’s new commander-in-chief on January 20.
That date will be America’s moment of truth because up until now Trump has been in complete denial of losing the election and seems prepared use any tactic, including the destruction of democracy, to remain in power. So bitter and disappointed over an election he claims he lost because of massive fraud in the voting system, he called the Secretary of State of Georgia, and all but demanded he recalculate the votes and produce numbers that would give him victory in the state.
Those votes had already been counted three times, with each result giving Biden victory. No voting fraud was found and numerous courts, including the Supreme Court, rejected all of Trump’s fraud allegations. The phone call that sent shock waves throughout America, and perhaps around the world, has been a subject by numerous legal experts who view it as a blatant effort to interfere with election results — an act considered illegal.
How all this will play out after January 20, when Trump is no longer president is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, the transition of power, which will not have the blessing of the outgoing administration, is seen by veteran observers as a troubled deviation from American values in keeping democracy alive.
Trump. still unable to cope with rejection and clinging to broken straws, even went as far as to urge Vice-President Mike Pence to exercise power that he did not have to overturn the election result during certification proceedings in Congress.
History may record the past four years as Trump orchestrating his own demise by sidestepping decency, respect and truth, and by displaying total disregard for anyone opposing his style of administration. Sadly, his repeated claims that the election was stolen from him ignited many of his fanatical followers to storm the Capitol Building, disrupting the certification process and causing mayhem that stunned much of the world. Only after things turned ugly did he make a weak appeal for calm, while insisting that the entire scene stemmed from a stolen election, with no evidence to support such a claim.
Now with the Democratic Senate victory in the state of Georgia providing Biden’s team with more power to begin the task of not only bringing the deadly pandemic under control, but also doing whatever possible to pull together a nation torn apart economically, politically and racially at a time when unification is crucial.
Much of the world, Bermuda being no exception, can only hope for positive developments in this new year. It is no longer a question of which side one supports, but more importantly what values are held as a priority when it comes to serving the people.
This is America’s moment of truth because all Americans who believe in truth, decency and justice must stand firm in supporting the law of the land. No one is above the law and that includes the President.
The days between now and the Inauguration of the new president, Joe Biden, and vice-president, Kamala Harris, will be anxious moments for Democrats and some Republicans in light of the unpredictable impulses of an outgoing president who refuses to accept reality that he has been rejected by the American people.
The real winner for America will be democracy and the hope that the nation can move forward in striving to really make America great. Only the American people working together can make that dream a reality.