The Urgency of Vigilance

There are oftentimes when I will have one of those no-brainer, “Duh!,” thoughts. Yesterday on my way home from work, I had one of those times.

It hit me after a couple of headlines about transgendered youth and another abortion restriction law being passed in a couple of states. These were also reminders of how cruel and thoughtless white people, particular white male heterosexual men can be in their almost megalomaniac feeling of entitlement of power over anyone who is not like them, or who doesn’t think like them.

For so many of us living in the U.S., and I am aware I am being overly general in the following comment. We’ve lived our lives and saw certain pieces of legislation or court verdicts and felt finally, that is done, now we can move on and live our lives.

When the Civil Rights Act was passed, we began to feel racism was coming to an end. When the Voting Rights Act was passed, we began to feel Jim Crow was coming to an end. When Roe v Wade was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, we began to feel women finally had a full say over their bodies. When Barack Obama was elected president, we believed racism had truly ended. When the Supreme Court ruled Same Sex Marriage was constitutional, we began to feel true equality had arrived. When 155 million people cast their vote in 2020, we began to feel voter suppression had ended.

In living our lives and moving on after these milestones occurred, in doing so, we were and are being short-sighted. We forget those on the side of racism, sexism, and most of the other -isms, hold more of the power and the money, which they seem to gather more of every day. For those of us who agree with progress and condemn discrimination and subordination, usually we don’t have that same power or wealth to weld. We have to trust those in power to do the right thing.

Too often, those with the power and the wealth fail us in this trust.

Our power, which too often isn’t used, is the power of the voting booth, of peacefully protesting, of letter writing, of making calls, and of strategically using social media. However, we have to actively, and collectively, weld that power. Unfortunately too many of us are just trying to get by day-by-day to survive, which is how those in power and with the wealth want us.

I do understand and emphasize. We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed, roofs to keep over our heads, maintain a job or jobs. Plus, we are tired, so tired. The pandemic, the reign of Trump, the reign of McConnell, the Supreme Court throwing aside blind justice, powerful people not being held accountable by those entrusted to weld accountability, high prices, lack of caring by corporations and businesses, and the heart-wrenching news every single day. It’s tiring, it’s overwhelming, it’s frustrating!

And with all of those things happening and all those big feelings we are having, we must bring vigilance back. If we don’t, we will shortly be living in a country that acts like Russia, China, North Korea, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Tunisia, and so many other countries falling under authoritarian rule. Without vigilance, it can, and is, happening here.

What we must always remember is we have the numbers, and the power, to hold elected officials and those with wealth, in check. We must always remember there are more Democrats in the U.S. than Republicans. We must remember we of the working class are strong, tenacious, resourceful, persistent, and go-getters. We have to be to survive.

We must also remember, if nothing else, to register to vote, then get ourselves to the polls. We, as often is the case, must overwhelm the opposition because the odds are in their favor, but only because they are currently making the rules. If we want to make the rules, we must vote in leaders who hear us, who are us, and who remember their roots.

As an uncle, great-uncle, parent, and now grandparent, my main thought has been what kind of country, and world, do I want to leave for my nieces, my nephews, my sons, my daughter, my grandson? Do I want them to live under the thumb of a dictator, or them to continue to have the freedom of choice and voice, without fear of being hauled off to the gulag I have had?

What kind of country, and world, do you want to leave to your descendants? And, as importantly, what are you going to do to ensure that happens?

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