“We the people,” will be here the day after the election of 2016 and it will be important for us to find a path that will lead us to healing and wholeness. It is not unusual for us to play dirty tricks on one another in the political arena. There are many stories to be found in our history about the types of tricks politicians played on one another and in some cases there was even violence perpetrated against one another.
But when those who have decided to offer themselves as candidates choose to say and do all types of horrible things and the election ends, the people’s lives continue. And the quality of our lives depends to some extent upon how we respond to the political drama that is created by those seeking office and how much of it we allow to affect our personal relationships with others in our communities.
We have arrived at a dangerous place in this present moment. The fear and hatred that is being bantered around in the public sphere is not healthy. There are too many opportunities for those who might not otherwise have thought to be violent to see such public discourse as an invitation to express themselves violently. We began this downward spiraling journey some time ago. It grew in intensity with the election of President Barack Obama.
The public display of disrespect, the expression of incivility, the threats and the expressions of many that they hoped he would fail were difficult to believe. The idea of losing the place of supremacy that had been falsely claimed by the white landed gentry in the founding days of this republic was more than their descendants could fathom.
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The response to the sense of displacement that was evidenced by the fact that a black family had actually played the game of the supremacy warriors and won the main prize, the White House, was simply too much to comprehend. We saw the result of their fear. The constant conversation about the president not being a citizen. When that line of nonsense did not yield enough reward, the dissenters added that he was a Muslim. Of course many of us would not have cared if he had been a Muslim, though he is not.
Of course there were others who were willing to be more disrespectful than the birthers. The jokes about the president and even the first lady were rooted in the deep-seated racism that could not be contained as it had been before the election came to the forefront.
The truth is that this present moment is not really a surprise. The hope that white supremacy can be restored must loom large in the hearts of those who thought they were the only owners of the country. “We want our country back” is a very strange line to be spoken when there are no visible signs that the country has actually gone any place. Of course most of us understood what that comment was about. We understood it in the same way we understand the slogan, “Make America great again.”
What do these folks wish to see? Somehow I think they want to see the days when it was clear that white supremacy was sitting on the throne. When it was clear that there was a tight lid on the power jar and no blacks, women or anyone other than a white male would be able to have access to the jar.
It is important to move toward accepting that the lid on the power jar has been opened, and that “we the people” have to live together. Therefore, it would be best to find a way to live together in harmony than to perish together as fools. There is no going back.
This column by Catherine Meeks, Ph.D., appears twice monthly. Meeks is also a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.