This country has and will survive
We’ve been here before. Americans fighting other Americans.
The horrendous video of an angry mob storming the U.S. Capitol and fighting the authorities is not much different from the young kids who protested the Vietnam war against two sitting presidents and a handful of the kids were shot by the National Guard at Kent State University for doing just that. Not to mention the hundreds who went to jail for asserting their beliefs.
Or how about the video of the police using fire hoses to push back African American protesters in the deep South who were seeking to share in the same civil rights as everyone else?
Who can forget the pictures of Gov. George Corley Wallace standing in the doorway of an Alabama school daring a handful of Black students to come in to get an education like all the white kids? The battle cry was, “Segragation now. Segregation forever.”
Who can forget how the country was divided over the conduct of President Richard Nixon who, at one point in the Watergate mess, proclaimed to his fellow Americans that, “I am not a crook,” when it turns out he was?
Almost to the bitter end, Nixon’s silent majority stood by him until the Republicans — yes, the Republicans — in the U.S. Senate went to his office and gave him a choice: He could resign and get out of town, or the Senate would vote to do it for him.
That was then and now is now.
As former Vice President Joe Biden moves up one notch to the top job in this country, we’re divided over that, too — 49% are confident he’ll make the right decisions to move this battered nation forward, while 50% are not.
So things are ugly. Mix in a little COVID-19, and you have a brew nobody wants to drink.
But pause for a moment.
Maybe history has a lesson in there somewhere from which can draw resolve.
Looking back at the conflicts related in the previous paragraphs, dare we take a moment to reflect that the country somehow got through all of them? It was not overnight. It was not without heated rhetoric that pitted family members against each other and generations against each other.
But, in the end, when the dust settled, the country survived, and some resolution was realized.
The fire hoses and attack dogs and racist governors eventually gave way to the Voting Rights Act signed by a Democrat from Texas, a state were civil rights were not exactly a top priority. Sure, it didn’t solve the problem, but it was a step toward progress. Everyone admits more is needed, but the fever-pitched conflict of the time subsided.
Yes it is still being fought, as the police brutality issue continues to plague the country, but there is some hope that, too, can be addressed.
The soldiers of Vietnam, minus the 50,000 who would could not come home, returned to the country. They did not get a hero’s welcome, as happened following World War II, but, over time, the honor that they deserved then has be extended to them now.
For those who see a parallel between Mr. Nixon and Donald Trump, the latter will leave town, too, and there is some hope — not universal, to be sure — that the civil unrest surrounding his tenure will abide. That, too, will not happen in an instant.
As the Dobbie Brothers used to sing, “Takin’ It to the Streets” will always be part of this country’s repertoire for handling conflict.
The democracy has been severely tested before and survived.
With fingers crossed and with a hope and a prayer, it will emerge tarnished but stronger, again preparing us for the next challenging conflict down the road.