It’s a new dawn in America - Beaking Kenya News

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Sunday, 7 February 2021

It’s a new dawn in America


I can now breathe a sigh of relief. At long last Donald J Trump has been evicted from the White House. He’s been silenced – permanently – on Twitter, Facebook – and other mainstream social media platforms. The term “de-platformed” has never sounded sweeter.

I don’t usually suffer from irrational exuberance, but indulge me only this one time. As the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr exclaimed in his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” That sums up my feelings about the ejection of the bigot from the American seat of power. Gone, and gone forever.

Two key dates will live with us in history. The first is January 6, 2021, when white American terrorists stormed the US Capitol – the seat of American democracy – and attempted a coup against the will of the electorate. It’s still unbelievable that the terrorist mob was inspired, organised, and commanded by Mr Trump, who was at time the president.

Let that sink in – an American president ginning up a coup. It’s a unique act of sedition by an American president that has never happened before in its history, and likely will never happen again. Interviews with the terrorists reveal a motley mob sewn together by conspiracy theories, racist phobias, and Trump personality cultism.

Greatest triumphs 

It was a mob composed of lowlifes and professionals, including state lawmakers, police officers, private businesspeople, ex-military personnel, and even an Olympic gold medallist. From the hill-billies to the professionals, one thing stitched them together – they were all zombies of one sort, or another.

None could articulate a fact-based explanation for their claims of a stolen election. Not a single fact, or iota of evidence. The claims of fraud had been rejected wholly – and with utter contempt – in over 60 frivolous lawsuits across the country. Republican presidents appointed many of the judges who threw out the lawsuits with scathing condemnations. The attack on the Capitol was one last illegal and unconstitutional gasp by Mr Trump.

January 6, 2021 will live in infamy but January 20, 2021 will signify one of the greatest triumphs of the American state only second to the end of the Civil War of 1861-1865 in which Southern Whites fought the Union to retain the enslavement of African-Americans.

On January 20, 2021, the world witnessed the renewal of American democracy. A little history is in order. Let’s understand that a state can’t be a democracy if a significant demographic is excluded from citizenship, or the ability to vote. America didn’t become a formal democracy until African-Americans and women (of all colours) were allowed to actually vote. Being allowed to vote and actually being able to vote are two different things. 

Although African-Americans were granted US citizenship in 1868 after the Civil War through the Fourteenth Amendment, they still weren’t systematically allowed to vote until the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. Still, many states put up barriers meant to suppress African-Americans from voting until the passage of the landmark 1965 Civil Rights Act.

Democracy thrives

So, it’s correct to say that America didn’t become a democracy until 1965. It had been an apartheid state. Today, more subtle efforts to suppress African-American voter turnout continue. That’s what Mr Trump and his supporters tried to do by seeking to throw out the votes of African-Americans in the states he lost. He lost those states because of large voter turnouts among African-Americans.

It’s in this context that we must understand January 20, 2021. On that day, Joe Biden was inaugurated the 46th President of the United States largely because of the support of African-Americans. On that day, Mr Biden became president after an attempted coup by Mr Trump to nullify the votes of African-Americans.

January 20, 2021 will be iconic for another reason. On that day, Kamala Harris became the first African-American and the first woman to become vice president of the United States. She became the first person of South-Asian descent to occupy the office of Vice President of the United States. Her father (a Black Jamaican descendant of enslaved people) and her mother (an Indian) were both immigrants.

The significance of January 20, 2021 is about the hope America holds in the imagination of the democratic experiment. Barack Obama, an American born of a Black Kenyan father and a White American mother, showed the flexibility of American democracy. Vice President Harris affirms that flexibility.

It’s true the American democratic experiment has been imperfect. But never before has the experiment been tried in such a large, complex, and powerful society. America is the richest and the most powerful state in world history. That’s why it’s important – essential – that democracy thrives here. For if it dies in America, it will die everywhere. Let’s celebrate this new dawn in America. 

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