by Joe Courter
Although people were not thrilled to hear it, in early 2020 experts were saying this pandemic could take a year and a half to wind down. And here we are. As we look around the globe, it is troubling to see the lag time, and kind of disgusting to see the US stockpiling (like we couldn’t make more) vaccines when other nations don’t have any. It has been nice to see faces and share hugs, but stay cautious and don’t throw out your masks.
Speaking of other nations, it was good to see the US not being represented by the former White House occupant on the recent international trip. And I must say, that trip, and watching the international football (soccer) competition of the Euro and Copa Cups, and the Olympics, remind me of the reality of the wider world. This nation is but one of many, all going about the business of building and maintaining their own version of a functioning society.
And speaking of a functioning society … does this country still fit that classification?
What we are seeing in Washington and around the States is an anti-democratic pro-authoritarian tendency that more and more to me feels like a slow motion coup by the rich and powerful. Limiting and suppressing voting is a huge warning sign, but only one of many. The power of right wing corporate media has been growing for decades, and has now reached new levels with social media silos purporting outright lies, anti-science quackery, all the way to the “stop the steal” Capital attack on January 6. Gerrymandered Republican state legislatures submit cookie cutter reactionary bills pre-written for them by mega-wealthy pro-corporate interest groups. And now the latest hysteria over “Critical Race Theory” invading the classroom and poisoning young minds with … what, actual history? Really?
I was pleasantly surprised when Juneteenth was made an official holiday, and with that declaration coinciding with the centenary of the burning of 1921 Tulsa’s thriving Black downtown, it added more significance. It brought to mind our own area’s town burning out west of Archer, in Rosewood. That was another thriving black community attacked by racist white folks. What was true for Rosewood and elsewhere was former enslaved people, once freed, were also free to use their knowledge to work their own land, and work together, and build successful towns. Resentment of this success, coupled with their racist beliefs, fueled the white mobs that burned these two, and many other Black communities following Reconstruction.
It’s telling that being “woke” is seen as bad by the Right. They would much prefer to keep us sleeping as they have their way with us. There is great fear of all the awareness that has blossomed in the past year; this next generation may be much more awake and aware than any in many decades. And well they should be, as their future is clouded by lack of opportunity, student debt, the climate crisis, intolerance toward their LGBTQ friends and allies, etc., etc. And we more seasoned people must be right there with them.
What seems to be happening is a blatant effort at ideological control with regard to teaching in schools and universities, to keep history that reflects poorly on this country (however truthful it is) from being spoken of. They want the retention of Myth America. For example: “Best health care system in the world” … right.
Look, if we care about “being better” we must face who we are as a nation, recognize the systemic racism here that has affected generations, and the catastrophic exploitation of other nations in this hemisphere, in order to understand why we have such inequity here, why there are migrants coming here from their home countries we directly helped destabilize. Otherwise it is just more of the same, and that same has been going on way too long. Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar said in 1829: “The US appears to be Destined by Providence to Plague the Americas with Misery in the Name of Freedom.” Yes, 1829.
Definitely uncertain times ahead but do what you can to make a better world. We hope that by September’s Iguana we will have a calendar of events again, as things seem to be opening up. Thanks for reading, support us if you can.