Published in the Martinsburg Journal, May 28, 2017

the Two Americas

Are there really “Two Americas,” the phrase we hear from all sides of

the political spectrum referring to the disparity between the have-nots

and the haves, the urban and the rural, the left and the right, the

intellectuals and the blue collars?


No; there are not two Americas. There are three.


There are the Native Americans, the hundreds of tribes who thrived for

thousands of years until they were forced at gunpoint onto quarantined

lands under treaties that are still being broken by both the US

government and private citizens. But they are Americans, with the right

to vote granted in 1924.


Secondly, there are the descendants of Africans who were kidnapped,

shipped, sold, and worked like animals until death. They were not even

considered people for the first 400 years. They are still living on

reservations in the rural south and segregated neighborhoods of the

inner cities. But they are Americans, with the right to vote since 1870.


Then, there are the European immigrants who settled this continent.

They guaranteed themselves, white men, the right to vote as their first

act of government in 1787. This third America has never been subject

to any legislative interference to its own pursuit of Life, Liberty and

Happiness. But now, after banishing one race, enslaving another, and

disenfranchising their own mothers, wives, daughters and sisters until

1920, they are angry because they realize that they have divided

themselves into a caste system not unlike the class structure they

imposed on Native Americans, African-Americans and women.


To trivialize our divided nation into what is essentially opposing White

Americas by calling it “Two Americas” is more of the same disrespectful

exclusion of the only true minorities we owe anything to in this country.

Everyone else came willingly, and most got a better deal here than they

did from the place they left. This latest excuse to elect a working-class

savior has no basis. All the ingredients for a Trump-like figure to rescue

the “Little (white) Guy” have existed for well over five decades, spanning

12 presidential elections that could have been opportunities for blue-collar 

middle-class voters to express their frustration with "elite Washington."


We've had the working poor since Biblical times, wages have

stagnated for over 30 years while the cost of living has gone up, and

manufacturing began to decline well before that. Distrust of government is

epidemic, starting with the Vietnam War and Watergate.


So, what was so different in this election cycle?


The only factors that have never before occurred were these two events:

our first Black President, and the looming specter of his potential

replacement, a woman. That was the spark that lit the fire that blazed the

inferno that became the arsonists’ destruction of the integrity of our

government that is now swirling towards a conical abyss.


Rebuilding will obviously be difficult. Who will accomplish the hard labor?

Minorities, new immigrants, and women. Many of these people have two

things in common: adapt to survive, and don’t put the responsibility of

failure on someone else. Those are the same values that made our

ancestors achieve, for better or worse, success in this country we call

home.


This government was founded specifically so that its citizens, and now

every citizen, would have an opportunity to shape their own fate, and also

shape the destiny of the nation. If we can’t continue to believe that, then

no cosmopolitan billionaire real estate developer is going to do it for us, no

matter what he promises.


If you want to Make America Great Again, you need to start with you.

Shadows dividing the icy river
Shadows dividing the icy river