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Thursday, July 02, 2020

American Civics and Political Science Lesson for Our Time

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. ~Zora Neale Hurston, American folklorist and author, (1891-1960).

     Awhile back I wrote a blog about the the things I liked best and least about Britain after living there for nearly a decade. I promised British readers I would write a similar post about America, being level handed in my writing about what I liked best and least. Well here is the latter part, as I promised our friend and fellow boater Mike Griffin. I will write another post later about what I like about this country when I can find something to write about. 

     On so many levels this world is clearly in an answer phase, demanding answers to atrocious human behavior on nearly every level that has carried on in this country for five hundred years. We here in the USA, are dealing with so much overwhelming crap on our plate, and many of us find ourselves wishing we could quarantine all the bigots, racists, Christian religious zealots, conservative Republicans, corporate and financial raiders, greedy billionaires, white terrorist groups, along with Donald and Melania Trump and his supporters (yeah I know some of the above groups intersect and overlap) together on Mars forever, although that wouldn't be far enough away for me.
     I remember telling a British friend shortly after Trump was elected to the White House that we were witnessing a coup in action and that America was as close to another Civil war as we had been in those years leading up to April 1861. My friend looked at me rather shocked, refuting my assertion and suggesting I was being an alarmist and my attitude was a bit extreme. I still believe my assertion is true; only a thin black line of ink in the U.S. Constitution is holding this nation together. America was founded on genocide and slavery, the poisons of which foul our country and its politics from then until now, and Americans have been complacent about turning a blind eye to its institutional entrenchment in all parts of everyday American life--but most especially in our religion and politics, cloaked by white fragility and willful ignorance, taught in our schools and churches, enacted upon the lives of people of color in this country as a matter of course because it is written into our laws, and embedded in the American culture and psyche, hand-in-hand with white Christianity. Church and State are complicit in keeping people of color down while lifting white folks up.
     If people think BLM protests are shocking then wait and see what happens if Trump is defeated in November. Things will get really ugly out there because it is already disgustingly nasty. 45's behavior has not only given all the above named groups permission to come out of the shadows and corners of our country, but encourages them to march proud, guns in hand, taking over State capitols, city streets, and expounding their racism in churches, with white impunity while innocent black people--too many of them black boys--are shot in the back for being black in the wrong place at the wrong time and trans people are shot in the street like dogs. Trump supporters feel powerful now and if history has taught me anything, it is that those with power over others will not relinquish it voluntarily. Voting Trump and his administration out of office, voting Republicans who support Trump out of the Senate, these will be seen as the first salvos of the war; it is going to be a struggle of decades to take back this country and re-establish civility and work towards human and environmental rights for all; to regain the precious ground we have lost.
     We are dealing with the most corrupt administration ever to reside in our nation's capitol. While most folks in other countries are disgusted by Trump, they are dealing with stuff in their own countries--Brexit and a pandemic to name two--and the news outlets only cover the most outrageous of Trump's exploits and lies. They are not aware of all the dismantling of public works and Federal law that has taken place by the arbiter of evil sitting in the White House. Since taking office Trump has completed 66 rollbacks and has 34 in progress; Federal laws and programs that protect what I drink, eat, breathe, my rights as a worker,  etc. etc. etc. I will not list them for you ad infinitum because your eyes would glaze over. If you really want to know exactly what we Americans are living with these days you may review the list HERE, printed by the New York Times newspaper.  

      How you may ask, did America lose itself on the way here?
     It was a deliberately planned coup with its initiation by white southern Democrats in the 1960's who switched parties over Kennedy's push for making over society as an enlightened, civil society with regard for the environment, equality, and civil rights. The GOP (Grand Old Party) welcomed the southern bigots and racists with open arms and in that moment it began to signify what the Party really stood for--and what it stood against. "The landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act signaled that the Republican Party would be a home for white voters — especially southern Democrats — unnerved by the burgeoning civil rights movement" (Caldwell, Ch. 2; A Party Divided; July 7, 2016; 
     On March 6, 1961, he (President Kennedy) signed Executive Order 10925 which required government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure all employees are treated equally irrespective of their race, creed, color, or national origin. His Executive Order 11063 of November 1962 banned segregation in federally funded housing. On June 11, 1963, JFK gave his famous civil rights address calling Americans to recognize civil rights as a moral cause. His proposal to provide equal access to public schools and other facilities, and greater protection of voting rights became part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
     The Kennedy administration expanded unemployment benefits; aid was provided to cities to improve housing and transportation; a water pollution control act was passed to protect rivers and streams; significant anti-poverty legislation was passed including increase in social security benefits and minimum wage; and the most comprehensive legislation to assist farmers was carried out since 1938 which included expansion in rural electrification, soil conservation, crop insurance and farm credit.
Over the next five decades, as the GOP built a three-legged stool of support from security hawks, social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, white working-class voters, especially men, gravitated toward the party...In order for the GOP to become the Party of Trump it first had to become the Party of Reagan. Many factors led to the rise of Reaganism, including the candidate’s optimistic outlook, celebrity status, and tough stance on national security. Economic and cultural factors played a major role as well: In 1976, with Ford in the White House, unemployment hit nine percent. The post-World War II economic boom had finally slowed, with blue-collar workers facing a disproportionate effect. Simultaneously, the feminist movement had gained momentum, and along with the civil rights movement of a decade earlier, political attention was increasingly focused on minorities and women. That left traditional white, working-class Democrats, whose economic struggles had begun a decades-long decline, feeling out of place in the party. Charles Murray, the controversial social scientist whose 2012 book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, chronicled the growing disenfranchisement of white working-class people, told NBC News that since the civil rights movement, white men in the 1970s had started to become “not only the forgotten voter but also the forgotten segment of the population. (Caldwell, Ch. 2; A Party Divided; July 7, 2016; Bear in mind though that for a segment of the population who felt unappreciated and disenfranchised, white men of any economic status had the most power in America then and now. 
      I read the Nancy Reagan biography Lady in Red by Sheila Tate over two decades ago wherein I learned that Nancy Reagan and her step-father, wealthy, conservative Dr. Loyal Davis were responsible for turning her husband "Dutch" from a questioning Democrat into a staunch Republican in 1962. She was far more of a political animal than he ever was and Ronnie always allowed Nancy to call the political shots. This is vaguely reminiscent of Trump and Melania. It was she who convinced Donald to run for president and who began the orchestrations behind the scenes that led him to the White House, allowing the nation to view her as eye candy and a brain dead cardboard cutout on her husband's arm. She is anything but and we underestimate her at our peril. Nancy adored Ronnie; Melania is only in it for the money and power. 
    Nancy came from wealth and was surrounded by exceedingly wealthy ultra-conservatives throughout her life. Close friends Betsy Bloomingdale and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Annenberg to name only two of the billionaire's who hobnobbed with Ronnie and Nancy (he called her Mommy, reminiscent of Mike Pence who calls his wife "Mother"), their wealthy friends and allies underwrote Reagan's political bid and their lavish lifestyle, buying Nancy and Ronnie a new mansion in which to live in when they helped him get elected as Governor of California. 
     I can grant Ronald some distance from culpability given that he had Alzheimer's, and was no doubt suffering from it for decades before it flourished in full form. If I am going to give Ronnie the benefit of the doubt, I have to then consider that Nancy and her wealthy, conservative circle of friends were complicit in manipulating Reagan to their own ends, just as those in power in the GOP have masterfully manipulated working class white voters to vote against their own interests, to the benefit of the wealthy.
     Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994. The mild to early phase of Alzheimer's generally takes two to four years, the moderate to middle stage anywhere from two to ten years, and severe or late stage about one to three years. Ronald Reagan was Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. Using the stage definitions above Reagan could have begun experiencing mild Alzheimer's in 1980. He was elected U.S. President in 1981 and re-elected to stay in office until 1989. I thought at the time it was apparent to anyone paying close attention that Reagan wasn't running the show; Dick Cheney had his hand up the back of Ronnie's coat, manipulating his strings while Nancy whispered in Cheney's ear. 
     The GOP's long range plan to take over the government and the country rolled out with gloves off after the election of Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1994. If the Republicans are good at anything, it is patience, long range tactics, and gross manipulation of voters by appealing to their emotions and beliefs.
     Gingrich began the wholesale cozying up to the Religious Right--specifically Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics. This is not a case of the left hand knows not what the right hand is doing; this is a case of the left and right hands rubbing each other gleefully while skipping out together to unfurl the new ultra-conservative 
Republican Religious Right agenda propping up the Republican Party, which has proven they will get in bed with anyone who will ensure their rise to the top of politics and power in this country while f***ing everyone else to reach their goals.
     I have been shocked at the manner in which Christians have consistently voted for anyone who will advance their ideological agendas while turning a blind eye to the sick and ugly behaviors, mentality, and lack of character their chosen candidates exhibit. Consider Newt Gingrich standing at the bedside of his then estranged wife Jackie, who had just come out of surgery for what turned out to be a benign lump (she has been diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1978, a fact Newt was happy to capitalize on when running for office), with a yellow legal pad covered with ultimatums and demands that he wanted her to sign off on immediately--while she was only hours out of surgery and still in recovery. He was the advance act for Trump with his p***y grabbing, sociopathic, lying, ego aggrandizing behavior; but hey! Bubba Trump--or should I say Brother Trump--was willing to appoint 200 ultra conservative circuit court judges across this country, and install the same demagogues in the highest court in the land in order to defeat Roe Vs. Wade and overturn legalized abortion. The Republican party mantra is "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue" (Barry Goldwater Campaign, 1962).
     For these Christians the end always justifies the means as long as it is their ideological ends being supported. And the sad thing about it is that overturning Roe V. Wade will not stop abortions. It will limit who has access to safe abortions because the wives, mistresses, sisters, and daughters of conservative politicians have always had this access and they always will. It is working class and poor women who will suffer and find themselves trapped in the tyranny of motherhood their lack of wealth and health cannot afford or support. These Christians would have been right at home with the Spanish Inquisition. I know these people because I am related to a whole passle of them. At one time in my early teen years I too attended their church and drank the Kool-Aid until I escaped and managed to find my brain which must be checked at the church door. I know how they think, how they pray, and how they justify their support of Trump. Interestingly though, these same folks are now so embarrassed by Trump they are finally silenced, their tongues sticking to the roof of their mouths, except to mumble, "Jesus said it, I believe it, and that is all I need to know" while crossing their fingers behind their backs in prayers of thanks for all the damage their presidential candidate has done to this country as long as their agenda is legitimized. These same majority white folks are so racially fragile that they fear their entire childhood is undermined with the knowledge that Aunt Jemima is a racist trope and not some nice negro woman well paid and happy to be the face of their breakfast syrup and pancakes, and surely was duly remunerated as a full and equal partner by the Quaker Oats corporation! My, my...
     According to a thought provoking article in the NY Times newspaper last week, "'Gingrich wrote the playbook for it all. The nastiness, the contempt for norms, the transformation of political opponents into enemies. This began forty years ago (1980, Reagan's last term in office as President), with the normalization of personal destruction. The contempt for custom. The media-baiting, the annihilation of bipartisan comity, the delegitimizing of institutions. Gingrich had planted; Trump had reaped,'” writes the Princeton historian Julian Zelizer in the prologue to his forthcoming book, Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of a New Republican Party (Senior, Trump's Napalm Politics? They Began With Newt; NY Times Op-Ed, June 28, 2020). 
     Follow the money...and it will lead you to the inescapable facts above and paint the ugliest of pictures about the underbelly of American culture and society: It isn't just the economy, stupid! That is the veil under which hides the real issue: it's institutionalized racism for economic benefit of some over others. Until we root it out, expose and acknowledge this publicly in all its many disguises, and America expiates for the sin of genocide and slavery in pursuit of the all mighty dollar, we cannot in my opinion, move forward again as a united nation. 


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Thanks, Jaq.

Cogently researched and written - with the barest hint of rage showing through :-)

It is, to put it mildly, a clusterfuck!

As you know David and I are deeply interested in US politics, and we watch, read, listen to a fair amount of coverage, plus we read books and watch documentaries on the subject. And frankly, I am terrified by it - when I am not looking at it and thinking 'If this was the plot of a movie or a TV series, we would be saying it wasn't a credible concept.'

And now with COVID-19 and the protests about the murders of unarmed black men and boys in particular by police and white supremacists, the stakes are even higher.

I too am anxious about what the outcome will be when (I sincerely hope it is when, not if) the dumpster** and the repugs** lose in November - I expect mayhem from the arms-bearing white supremacists.

However I am more anxious about the outcome if the repugs win again. The cost to the whole of the US will be incalculable: to all of its people, all of its social structures, all of its natural treasures and resources, all of its being in the world (I cannot say reputation or standing or power because all of my reading tells me that has been an exercise in exploitation for the benefit of the rich of the US, not for any altruistic motive).

It's easy for me to state that, Jaq, from a small set of islands a long way away; but I reckon it needs to be said.

Anyway, thank you again for a comprehensive history.

Biggs hugs, Mxx

** I am taking a leaf out of Jacinda Ardern's book - I am refusing to speak their name, as she refuses to speak the name of the terrorist who killed 51 in Christchurch in March 2019.

Carol said...

Well explained Jaq and most interesting.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jaq,

What happened to the "best" of America?

"America was founded on genocide and slavery"

The French, Spanish, Portuguese and English did the same in other parts of their empire but it hasn't fouled those countries.

"Church and State are complicit in keeping people of color down while lifting white folks up".

I can understand there would be a disparity if the access to the same level of education isn't universal. My understanding is there are poor whites and poor blacks. Also wealthy whites and blacks.

"If Trump is defeated in November. Things will get really ugly out there"

Quite possibly as the religious nuts and the disenfranchised whites see Trump as their only option for improving their lot.

"Trump supporters feel powerful now and if history has taught me anything, it is that those with power over others will not relinquish it voluntarily."

In a democracy they will have to..... unless those in power germander the presidential election

"The post-World War II economic boom had finally slowed, with blue-collar workers facing a disproportionate effect."

Yes, all empires go into gradual decline and America is no exception. However the process is more rapid in the USA because the national psychic is to be self-reliant and want small government letting the "market" do the adjusting.

Americans are very resilient and have the ability to rapidly change given the right leadership. I believe it was the failure of national leadership by both democrats and republicans to address the concerns of the disenfranchised whites which lead to the demand to drain the swamp and try something radically different.



SimonG said...

What a fascinating informative and insightful article, especially for a Brit with recent US connections and a lot to learn about your nation’s recent history. Thanks Jaq, may I share it?

Boatwif said...

Great blog, we all need to understand what lies behind the headlines and to explore the fundamental differences and similarities between our societies.
My great hope is exemplified by Churchill’s quote:
‘Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’ Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
Our democracy in the UK has evolved over centuries from none to partial to fundamental to almost complete.
Democracy is self-correcting – eventually. For now, the reaction to this virus epidemic will change all our societies, we can just hope that it will be for the better.
Keep safe, keep well,
(longer email on its way)

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for posting. I concur with everything you said my friend; you nailed it perfectly. Either way come November there will be war but if dumpster wins I don't see us liberals taking up arms. I can see that scenario all too well if he loses. This country is such a scary place to live these days. I look back and realize it has always been scary for some people--women, children, and people of color mainly.

In keeping with thou shall not speak their name, I have never once called 45 "the president of the United states, the president and certainly he never has been 'nor ever could be my president.

Sending you and Dave loads of love and hugs,

Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Carol,

Thank you. I hope it helps mainly because I am seeing posts on FB from Brits--mainly boaters because that is who I know--and some of them are completely dismissive of BLM, branding it a communist group of terrorists and one person said the BLM flag has the hammer and sickle on it! I also have family in Britain who are retired coppers and they have a certain perspective on the idea of defunding police and calling them out for their behavior.

Also there are some truly bigoted memes flying around from the same group of folks calling out trans people as not deserving equal rights and from what I've read in the news over in the UK, the trans folks are a lot more aggressive than trans folks over here in the U.S. I've yet to meet a single trans person who uses their transformation to harass or sexually attacked cisgendered women or children in restrooms, as is being said over in Britain. I do struggle with all the changes in personal pronouns but I am trying hard to be respectful because I know no less than 8 people trans people personally and they are all lovely, hard working, humble and kind individuals who have been through terrible trauma.

Also, I've spoken to many Brits who do not understand the religious tide in politics and culture in the USA--something quite different from the UK.

Sending you and George loads of love and hugs,

Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Tom,

As I said in my post, I will address "the best" when I can find it again. Right now living in America feels like trying to float through an ocean of sewage up to my lower eyelashes which makes it difficult to see the best, especially when liberals like myself find ourselves fighting for the soul of this country.

I beg to differ with you Tom. As a white man you cannot possibly grasp whether those cultures you mentioned have not been fouled by slavery and genocide. People of color experience a completely different reality from white people and not just in America. I think any nation with principles founded on slavery, genocide, and Christianity has social, cultural, and spiritual issues that require attention and change.

Education in America is not equal. Public education in this country is paid for by our property taxes supporting the school districts in which we live. Black communities do not raise the same amount of taxes--not because the people in those neighborhoods don't want to work but because they face severe discrimination in the employment process, making finding work more difficult than for a white person; if a person of color is hired, they will be paid significantly less than a white person with the same or less qualifications and if a company decides to lay people off, the people of color are the first to be riffed. Black unemployment is 50% higher than white unemployment, however if a Black employment candidate has a "white" sounding name, they are 37% more likely to be called for an interview than if they apply with a name that sounds ethnic or black.

This unequal education is tied to housing. All across America are subdivisions (housing estates) built from the very first one at Leavittown in New York State, with codices written into their covenants stating implicitly that the property and house can never be sold to a negro, Black, mulatto, or person of color. We live in segregated communities because of this and since people of color cannot buy into nice subdivisions though they can afford to do so, they are left with the whatever is available: undesirable brown sites polluted with chemical factories and dumps next door, ghettos with buildings owned by white slum lords who do not invest in their properties. When people of color have created nice neighborhoods and business, those places have been selected for demolition to put in freeways, or they have been firebombed by white supremacists and targeted by police. You can read about those covenants here.

Ooops! This post is too long for one posting so this is part I; Part II follows. xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Okay Tom, on we go with part II: Banks are less willing to loan a black person of decent means a housing or small business loan. If they do make the loan, the black person pays 33% more in interest on the very same loan a white person can easily get for substantially less interest. This is one more way institutionalized racism keeps black people down.

Women of color have been raped & sexually harassed from their first experience with white culture. Read Caroline Randall Williams' OP-Ed piece in the NY Times newspaper titled, "You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body is a Confederate Monument",

I agree with you that both political parties are to blame for our present situation. Republicans because this administration is their true face; Democrats because with President Obama elected for 2 terms, they became complacent, assuming America had evolved far more than it actually has & voting was not necessary. However the fact that white voters (primarily white men) felt disenfranchised, seeking to gain the upper hand again & take this country back to the 1950's when they still ruled everything without question, & that they felt entitled to do so, is in itself white privilege.

I have personally witnessed horribly humiliating incidents of racism in the company of my black & brown friends. One of my friends was the acting president of a university with a PhD. He was black & owned a new Mercedes Benz. Once when traveling to a meeting off campus with him, we were pulled over by Washington State Troopers. They did not ask him for his license & registration. They leaned in the window with hands on their guns & asked me, "Maam are you all right?" The implication being that I wouldn't be riding with a black man unless I was coerced or held against my will because I am a white skinned woman or that the car must be mine & my friend--wearing an $800 custom tailored suit, had hijacked me & my car. After the Trooper checked to ensure the car actually belonged to the black man driving it & we were on our way again, my friend explained that the State patrol knew exactly who he was, where he worked, & that the car belonged to him. They stopped him EVERY time he left Cheney, Washington where the university is located to drive to Spokane, 17 miles away.

I went shopping at Nordstroms with a black friend. She was a brilliant 25 year old with her Juris Doctorate degree, the Dean of Student Affairs at my university. She wanted to show me what happens when she--a very well educated Black woman who could well afford to shop in Nordstroms--entered their store. As a student, I could not afford to breathe the bloody air in the store & my clothes surely indicated to anyone paying attention that I was someone of extremely humble means, yet when we entered the store & split up, a white male store employee immediately began following my friend, making no attempt to hide the fact that he was the store detective--suspicious of her because she was Black. No one followed me. I could have stolen half the jewelry counter & a $1000 dollars worth of shoes had I wanted to, but no one was paying any attention to me; only her.

Wow! Still too long for one post!! Part III follows!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Okay Tom here is part III:

I went shopping at Nordstroms with a black friend. She was a brilliant 25 year old with her Juris Doctorate degree, the Dean of Student Affairs at my university. She wanted to show me what happens when she--a very well educated Black woman who could well afford to shop in Nordstroms--entered their store. As a student, I could not afford to breathe the bloody air in the store & my clothes surely indicated to anyone paying attention that I was someone of extremely humble means, yet when we entered the store & split up, a white male store employee immediately began following my friend, making no attempt to hide the fact that he was the store detective--suspicious of her because she was Black. No one followed me. I could have stolen half the jewelry counter & a $1000 dollars worth of shoes had I wanted to, but no one was paying any attention to me; only her.

A friend of mine who is Mexican-American, born & raised in Texas, was elected as the Student body president of our university. We were attending a Regional Women's Studies Conference at WSU in Pullman, Washington. We used the phone in her office to make our hotel reservations--her first, then me. Three months later we drove down together. I went in first while she parked the car. The young white woman behind the desk had no problems finding my reservation. My friend approached the desk & immediately the woman behind it developed an attitude. She casually sifted through her reservations saying, "I'm sorry I don't see a reservation for you. You probably made it at a different motel here in town. I can call around & find it for you if you like." I watched my friend--intelligent, capable, confident, hard working, bilingual, slump down & shrink in shame. I asked her with my eyes if she wanted me to have a word and she nodded her head and looked at the floor. I stepped back up to the desk & said, "This woman is the Student Body president of Eastern Washington University. She made her reservation from the same phone as I did, on the same day, about two minutes before I made mine. Now you find her reservation or I am going to start working my way up the ladder on which you are clearly the bottom rung, until I get to the top do you understand me?" She nodded mutely, & very quickly found my friend's reservation. That is white privilege...I was gutted and appalled all three times I witnessed these acts of racism. I cannot imagine how soul destroying it is to get up every day knowing that somewhere, sometime in my day ahead I will be discriminated against at the very least & very possibly threatened with violence because of the color of my skin; that no matter how hard I try, how educated I become, it will never be enough.

In this country there is something called the one-drop rule which is a social & legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States in the 20th century. It asserts that any person with even one ancestor of black ancestry ("one drop" of black blood) is considered black (Negro or colored in historical terms). Well that includes me despite my white skin color. My maternal grandfather was Puerto Rican. He was mixed race; part Taino Indian, part Afro-Caribbean slave, part white. I am one quarter Puerto Rican hence the one drop rule applies to me; I pass for white so the only discrimination, harassment and violence I have experienced is the result of being born female & that has been bloody tough enough.

Thank you for commenting Tom. Sending loads of love and hugs to you and Jan,

Jaq xxx

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hello Simon G,

Yes you may use my post if you like.

Kind regards,


Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Ken,

Thank you for posting and for your follow-on email. I am not saying democracy is dead or we've outlived it. Ours is tattered, broken, and in desperate need of an overhaul. I would like to see a socialist democracy like some of the Nordic countries have. I believe change is coming but such change does not occur without struggle, pain, and hard work.

I don't believe Democracy is "self-correcting". That implies it just somehow rights itself when it has tipped too far to the left or right. I know our governments are structured differently but I believe we get the government we elect--or turn our back on and allow others to steal by default. Being part of a democracy requires work--due diligence on everyone's part in order for it to work the best for the most. This is the sacred responsibility that comes with all those rights to which we feel entitled.

Those who founded this country have written a fairy tale history of its founding and its founders; educational bodies exist to socialize citizens to play the part the powers that be want them to play. This country was founded by wealthy, Christian, white racists (the founding fathers were not poor, minority blokes. They were wealthy, white slave owners who pulled the teeth of their slaves to make their dentures [Washington] and slept with their female slaves, getting unacknowledged offspring on them [Jefferson]), who used their wealth and their religion to create a democracy for themselves. They were smart enough to leave just enough latitude in the rules to allow poor white men the opportunity to rise in station to stave off another rebellion--against themselves.

Americans need to stop perpetuating the myths, be wiling to face the painful realities in our history and our present day situation, and do the work of making change happened for the best welfare of everyone. We cannot afford to keep our neighbors down, to treat them as less than, to brutalize them and turn our faces away while giving thanks to God for what we have--that it isn't happening to us.

When we write people of color and women back into our history with respect and accuracy we will have to face brutal realities that rend our hearts and new heroes to respect and emulate,and finally our national healing can begin in earnest.

The pandemic provides us with an opportunity to accomplish this work and the time to consider the best way forward, and it too will shape us and our societies anew and please let it be for the better. I have no desire for things to return to the way they were BC-19.

Biggs big love and hugs,

Jaq xxx

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jaq,

I can relate to the prejudice having been treated similar when working in countries that weren't predominately white. However I also acknowledge it hasn't happened to me in a country where my ethnicity is the majority. I recall reading one of James A Michener's books (might have been 'This Noble Land') where he describes how slavery held back the South.

Isn't it ironic the Pilgrim Fathers arrived on the Mayflower fleeing persecution. The War of Independence arose from the British attempt to tax without representation because they were desperate for money for their other wars. The perceived need for a citizen army resulted in the Second Amemdment and today the gun lobby selectively quote it.

Rapid advances in technology and automation in the 'developed world' has resulted in the disappearance of many low skilled manual jobs. Moreover globalization has resulted in labour intensive industries moving to less developed countries.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on what is good/positive about America.

Stay safe


Mike Griffin said...

Interesting post and comments, I see it's all about to change with the latest Presidential candidate - K West Esq........

Have fun, great country America with some brilliant people and magnificent natural sites.

Hope you are well.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Tom,

Yes irony is always a spice in this mix. I promise I will write a post on what is good about America when I can find those things. That post might have to wait until after November 3rd. I too experienced racism directed at me as a light skinned person, for the very first time in Britain. It shocked me, but it didn't stop me from living my life, taking care of my health, getting an education, or walking down the street without being shot at or arrested. It wasn't institutionalized.

At the grocery store yesterday I was in line with my mask on, paying attention to the six foot distancing when this woman saunters in with no mask and proceeds to brush right up next to me and then turn and get in line right-on-my-ass. I turned around and told her to back up--especially since she didn't wear a mask. She proceeded to make remarks all the while my groceries were being processed. "I forgot my mask in the car--big deal. My aunt had Covid-19 so I'm fine, I'm not contagious. I'm from New York. Different stokes for different folks." Me: I'm from Alaska and I'll tell you what--Covid-19 doesn't give a damn where someone is from, it kills without respect for geography." Her: "You're wearing a mask--you'll be fine; go home and wash your hands."

It is so stressful to go anywhere anymore. I am tired and stressed out and I am done being nice. It makes me want to take a shovel and deck them right across the face with it. I am immuno-compromised. I live with two immuno-compromised daughters. I take our lives in my hands every time I go out to the grocery store. Meanwhile we have discovered that there are men going into stores and wandering the aisles waiting to see if anyone will stop them and demand to know why they are not wearing a mask. Then they will kick off and become violent, screaming it is their right to go mask-free. This is actually happening all across the U.S. right now.

And in the midst of all of this we have Trump revving his engines and goosing his supporters, creating more divisiveness, and police in nearly every State shooting unarmed black children who dare to be children and play outside; they are arresting Black people for dancing in the street as they walk home from the store, and choke hold Black people to death simply because they can and it is not just "a few bad apples." White supremacy stalks people of color--some that I love--through the streets as they attempt to get on with their everyday lives. America is far more racist than Apartheid Africa was and for far longer. Meanwhile my daughter goes out into the world each day with a target on her back because she is a lesbian, married to another woman, and Trump's supporters keep a keen eye for GLBTQ folks. We all carry knives with us now and there is a baseball bat and folding baton by our front door.

Right now Tom, I feel as though the state of this country (which I can no longer call "my country" after living in Britain--my other country) has peeled my skin off and I am a very painful, bleeding wound. I cannot simply avert my eyes, shrug my shoulders and say, "Well it is awful but all of this is not happening to me, because it is happening to my friends and loved ones, and America is in a desperate state. Of course all of this might be moot because who knows if I or anyone else I love will survive this pandemic.

Love Jaq xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh God Jaq this post is brilliant but not in a good way. It is an absolute eye opener and I wonder if I can also share it with people I know?

I am privileged but like you I would come under the one drop. My sister is a throwback and is very dark skinned we do not look like sisters at all. I wander through life as if through a field of buttercups. I feel for you I really do and sincerely hope that the worst that can happen doesn't.


Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Kath! It is grand indeed to hear from you. I am glad you have found my post elucidating. Please do share it with whomever you like.

My daughters are 1/8th Puerto Rican and a fourth Native American from their father's side. My oldest daughter looks just like her dad: brown eyes and her skin is a light golden, cinnamon color, especially after sitting in the sun. My youngest daughter looks like a carbon copy of me. Fair skin, light hair, although her eyes are dark brown. Put my daughters side by side and no one would ever guess they are sisters. Genetics is a crap shoot!

Please, may you and yours stay safe, stay well.

Love Jaq xxx

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs