Power and Hatred: Two Drugs Fueling the Demise of Democracy
Johnny Johnson and the Erie Voice
What has brought us to this point in time, to the precipice of demise, to what many have proclaimed as the greatest nation on earth? What diseases have entered the bloodstream, the nervous system, and the powerful sinews of this bastion of equality and justice, the light for the whole world to see and behold?
Something has entered the heart and mind of Americans and has metastasized in all areas of the body. In the course of history, there have been two things that have triggered the demise of all great nations, the inhaling of the fumes of power and the injection of hate into mankind. When these two drugs become the source of peoples' addiction, a 12-step program will not help, constant trips to a psychologist or psychiatrist expressing feelings on a couch is not a remedy.
In order to understand the dilemma that we are currently faced with, and never in a hundred years thought this would happen to us – we must trace this addiction to its root cause. For many, this is the path they would rather not take because it requires an uncovering, an exposure, a nakedness revealed for all to see, the "real" self-revealed.
We must take a trip into the inner recess of our hearts, minds, behaviors, and thought patterns to uncover the real us. For many, this revealing will shake the very foundations of their beliefs. For many of us, our entire life from birth to now have been steeped in beliefs and traditions fostered by internal and external circumstances that influences us and influenced those who taught us. The question now arises: What are these beliefs? Are they accurate and true? These traditions, how did they come about? What soil were they planted in and what fruit did they yield?
If I may digress for a paragraph or two, we are what our history says that we are. Upon that thesis lies our current belief system and actionable traditions. The history of America is one of oppression, greed, and the current belief, by many, that America belongs to the white race, obviously forgetting that the original inhabitants were not white, therein lies the genesis of its addiction. Native Americans were heathens, less than human, and worshipped a God or gods that were of no significance in the realm of white theological thought. Hence, they had to be reprogrammed by changing their mode of dress, eradicating their language, transforming them not into beings that God made but rather the beings that others desired them to be, to be made in their own image. In essence, recognizing themselves as the creator.
As then so is it now, the leading reason for conquering a people is to gather and use their resources to the conqueror's benefit, thus pelts, furs, and gold were garnered to build up the storehouses of the conqueror. A nation decimated, forced onto reservations, into schools of disinformation and propaganda but never proselytized from their belief that "the earth was the Lord's and the fullness thereof" which is the essence of their beliefs today.
I do not want to go into a treatise on slavery, because many Christians today feel that it is a God-mandated policy and use God's words to fortify and reinforce their beliefs. In essence that being made in God's image was a white image. So, this belief or tradition is carried into the vault of time to be resurrected whenever white supremacy or superiority is challenged.
Power and greed resulting manifestations lie in our obtaining of inanimate objects, known as materialism, which is the fetus of capitalism, those things that cannot feel or think or act. So, we collect these inanimate objects, these idols if I may use a scriptural term to enhance and perpetuate the myth that possessions make people. New houses, new clothes, new cars, condos, exotic cruises, trips to foreign lands, expensive paintings are what fuels our addiction where we only see ourselves for what we have and others for what they do not have and what we think they are not.
Can we correct this ship that is currently anchorless, tossed about, and losing its mooring without any thought or whim as to what effects it may have on the crew as long as the welfare of the captain and officers are intact? Many times, when a ship is sinking the commonsense thing to do is to throw the cargo overboard. Those items that take the ship lower in the water and not allow it to rise above the waves that seek to destroy it. Often this cargo may be of the human variety.
What do real sea-faring men do in the time that they foresee their own destruction because of the wanton and foolish commands given by the captain. History tells us that they mutiny to save themselves and put the ship on the proper course.
We as a nation have the opportunity to shift the sails and change the course of the ship called The Constitution that now is heading straight towards the treacherous reefs called dictatorship, no regard for the rights of citizens, no regard for the rule of law, no regard for the sanctity of the human soul and the belief that God's creations needs to be classified, vilified and destroyed. Once we refuse to make course corrections that great ship will be broken into tattered pieces never to be recovered or reconstructed again.
The Erie Voice - Johnny Johnson is an author, teacher, and historian. He is one of the founding members of the Harry T. Burleigh Society, has participated in numerous historical programs, and is the author of Erie African Americans in the 1880s.