And we may not like what we learn.
For those of us who are white males, our whiteness gives us privilege. Yes, I know you were born poor (like me) and worked hard to achieve all you have achieved in your life (like me), but we still grew up privileged (like me). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a white male; after all, we can’t change our whiteness. We don’t have to apologize for being white, or male. No one is asking you to. White males are not under attack. Get over it. The very fact that white males feel they (we) are being somehow singled out for abuse is in itself a sign of that privilege.
Others might be shocked to discover that racism still exists in this country. Worse, it is a driving force for the Republican party in the last decade, along with bigotry and dishonesty. No, no, no, you cry. That’s not true. Um, sorry, it is true. And it’s blatantly obvious to anyone paying attention. The reason why the Republican party carps about “the wall” and “illegal immigration” isn’t because we have a meaningful solution, it’s because it riles up the white folks, most especially in the South. Oh no, now I’m accusing the South of being racist. Look around you. See the Confederate flags? They signified a group of states who committed treason, rebelling against the United States because there was growing distaste for slavery, the foundation of southern society. See the Confederate statues? They weren’t put up to honor Confederate “heroes” (who were fighting against the United States to protect slavery), they were put up by white supremacy organizations to warn “the blacks” that whites still reigned supreme over them even if “the government” outlawed slavery. See the Nazi symbols? Do you not remember we, i.e., the United States and the free world, fought an entire war to topple the Nazis? This isn’t hard, folks. White supremacy in all its forms has become the backbone of the Republican party. That conflicts with the notion that America is the home of the free (that means everyone, not just the people that look like you).
For women who voted for Trump and others in the Republican party, the past two years might have come as a shock. The Republican party has worked hard to take away the rights of women. Yes, even the rights of white women. The white male privilege extends to white women, but only to an extent. Sometimes being a woman is enough to be targeted by the Republican party. In fact, it’s been part of the Republican party’s platform for decades.
By the way, I’m not a “Democrat” or “Republican” or “Democratic Socialist” or “liberal” or “conservative” or any other lazy label that allows people to rubber stamp whatever position their tribe has been assigned. I’m a scientist, a historian, and someone who always tries to make decisions based on facts. So while I’m highly critical of the institutionalized dishonesty and corruption of the current Republican party, I would love to spend my time debating the issues and finding solutions rather than having to constantly correct the blatant lies of the Republican party. And don’t give me the dishonest “both parties are the same” garbage – this past two years has proven beyond any doubt that one party cares about all Americans while the other only cares about the rich. The fact that I don’t even have to specify which is which tells you how true that statement is.
Only by killing the current Republican party can the former “party of Lincoln” have any chance of ever be esteemed by Lincoln or anyone else. Today’s Republican party is a doomsday cult whose sole purpose as a party is to shift money from 95% of taxpayers to the 1% richest people. That’s why they intentionally created an additional $1.5 Trillion in new debt to give rich people a huge tax break neither the rich nor the country needed, then immediately blamed their own deficit on social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They did this intentionally. And if you look back at the last several decades, the Republican party had been fiscally dishonest the entire time. Republicans build up debt and crash the economy; Democrats fix the economy and lower the debt. Today’s economy is merely an extension of the Obama recovery from the Republican crash. Proven. Obvious. No honest person can deny it. That’s how dishonest the Republican party has become. After years of telling Americans how bad the economy is, the Republican party is now taking credit for the economy they were trashing, all while having done nothing to change its trajectory.
This election will tell us whether we are a nation of racists or a nation of freedom. This election will tell us whether we believe in honesty and integrity. This election will tell us if we are honest enough to admit that we made a huge mistake and are willing to make amends and start over.
Most importantly, the decision you make on this election day will tell us about YOU. It will tell us if you are American. Yes, I said it. This election will tell us whether you believe in “all men are created equal” or that some men – and women – are worth less than other men.
We all make mistakes. This is your chance to correct it.
If you voted for any Republican in the past, you can correct it by voting for every Democrat in this election. To save the Republican party you must first kill the dishonest cult it has become.
If you are a Democrat who voted for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012 but didn’t vote for Clinton in 2016, you can correct it by voting for the Democrat in every office up for election this year.
If you chose not to vote, you can correct it by voting. Only by voting can you make change. There is a reason that the Republican party puts so much effort into suppressing your right to vote – because voting would kill their party. So the Republican party passes Jim Crow-like laws, arbitrarily removes people from the registration roles, sends out false information, lies in political advertising, and as we’ve just seen, promotes racism and bigotry to rile its voters to the polls. YOU must vote. Only by overwhelming the polls with votes can we change the Republican culture of corruption and voter suppression.
Voting is how we change things. Voting is how we correct previous mistakes. There is no other way.
How you vote will tell all of us who you are.
David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.