Give me a fucking break.
LANGUAGE! Back when I worked at the Y, “language” was my admonishment when I heard people, usually in the men’s locker room, swearing. I have the cursing conversation frequently with my kids. “Use your vocabulary, see if you can find a better word. Not only will people think you’re more intelligent, but you’re more apt to nail the meaning just right.” But sometimes the best word is the worst word.
Transition to Greatness… Give me a fucking break.
Transition, from its Latin etymology, literally means ‘to go across.’ It implies standing at an edge, the old behind you, the new just out of reach, a step away. Before the 2016 election, Donald Trump told us he planned to Make America Great Again. This time around he wants to Keep America Great. Recently, as a nod to how screwed up things have gotten, he’s modified his slogan. Transition to Greatness. Even the Trumpers can’t look past the mayhem of his presidency. America is so far away from greatness right now, we’ll need GPS to even locate it.
Biden is squandering an opportunity here. I think he should make his campaign slogan Make America Great Again. I think we’re all missing our great, dull past at this point.
Again. This implies that America had greatness in its past. I suppose your personal perspective matters to determine if this is true. Inventors: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Eli Whitney, Henry Ford. This list goes on to the present day. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk. Yes, we’re great at making new crap to sell.
Many people who identify as patriotic point to the birth of America as a period of greatness. The revolutionaries who created our nation are now known as our founding fathers. OK, fine. They were also a group of men and women who decided they had lived with the status quo long enough. Just like now, it became a grassroots time to push back and fight the powers that be. Dissent from our tyrannical oppressors reached a climax with the best-known American rebellion of all: the Boston Tea Party. The tensions from that protest didn’t calm down until after the Revolutionary War.
That period of history that President Trump and his supporters remember as great—a time when no one pointed fingers at them and said privileged, or worse, racist—was a period of oppression. No one spoke out because they couldn’t speak. It’s hard to talk with a knee on your neck. Yesterday, I read about President Trump’s visit to Dallas’ Gateway mega-church. It was billed as a round-table discussion on justice disparities. Every now and then I read an article that makes me grumble out loud. This was one of them.
Trump warned against labeling “tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots.” Trump’s rhetoric has been consistent since he initially tossed his hat in the ring of the 2016 election. He has worked to widen divisions between white Americans and people of color, and he’s issued a steady stream of derogatory comments attempting to tear down at anyone who isn’t of European descent. Sixty-three million people voted for Trump last time around. It seems to me that tens of millions of Americans actually are bigots.
Like many white people, I’m suddenly reading a lot about white privilege and the effects of systemic racism in America. I’m learning that I’m part of the problem. If you asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would have said “No, not me, I’m one of the good guys.” I believe in equal rights for all. I speak up when someone makes racial comments. But I haven’t done a single thing to alter (and often even recognize) the dynamic in America that lifts me up while holding others down.
Trump has now announced his intention to foster racial reconciliation. He feels that this project will go “quickly and easily.” He’s wrong, of course; it’s almost a laughable statement. Most white people, including me, don’t even fully understand the problem yet. We all have a ton of work to do for anything to improve. It will be a long, nonlinear process that will undoubtedly be painful much of the time. We all need to expect perfection but also be willing to endure slow, incremental change.
Hopefully, today’s revolution will continue to gain traction into the future, and we won’t need another war to finally become allies. Let’s start by electing a new president. We can call this moment our Transition to Healing.