Larry Sutton Contributing columnsit
November 17, 2013
We, as Americans, have been arguing about the role of government for the last 226 years, and that probably won’t be changing anytime soon.
The creation of our present government during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia hinged on the idea of compromise, with diverse groups and interests working together to iron out critical issues facing the new nation. One such issue back then that caused great concern — and is still impacting every facet of today’s America — was slavery. Over and over, competing interests surrounding the issue of slavery managed to delay the inevitable by compromise after compromise.
Finally, with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, events were set into motion that led the American nation to war, with the North pledging to save the Union and later to abolish slavery. By 1865 the was was over, with the South surrendering and slavery abolished.
Unfortunately, the promises of Reconstruction that African Americans had hoped would see them enter the mainstream life, being treated fairly and earning a decent wage proved short-lived. Following the broken promises of Reconstruction, African Americans’ hopes of equality were dashed as they struggled against Jim Crow, lynchings and efforts to deny them the right to vote.
Despite the oppressive effects of racial discrimination, the human spirit triumphed as the greatest generation of African Americans made progress in business, education, the arts and sciences.
I wonder if the American nation had done the right thing at the right time would “the cost of liberty have been less than the price of repression.”
As we fast forward to the election of our first African American president, Barack Obama, in 2008, should we be concerned about the racist tenor our political landscape seems to be taking? Frankly, I am concerned about the tenor of race relations and the use of racist slogans and song as part of the anti-Obama rhetoric.
Some of this anti-Obama rhetoric and hatred comes from fear, thinking that President Obama represents the “new America,” the transitioning of America to a minority majority. Since President Obama’s election, extremist factions have been publicly undermining his legitimacy as president, calling him a Muslim, socialist, atheist, and the birther’s influence lingers.
Just recently, state legislator Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County referenced President Obama as being born in Kenya. Haven’t we put up wit this nonsense long enough? Enough is enough! Come the 2014 elections, we need to consider changing some leadership on both the state and national level.
Today, on many issues relating to race, blacks and whites remain deeply divided. There are many whites who think the country has gone “too far in pushing civil rights,” whereas, there are many blacks who think there has been “no real improvements” in the conditions of blacks in this country.
All people of good will should express outrage and be alarmed by the growing extremist factions which tend to divide and racialize our country even more. Going forward, can we agree that all Americas will benefit as we work together to ensure “a more perfect union?”