by: Marceline Donaldson
It gets harder to write these articles. Once upon a time we wrote about so many wonderful things which helped improve life; made everything brighter, easier, more elegant. Today, we are so enmeshed in the evil that has become part of the everyday life in these United States that nothing else comes up. The evil that is loose in the United States of America has wiped out everything else – unless you are a part of bringing the evil empire about.
You can go ahead with other things. They did so in Hitler’s Germany. While Jews and those who stood up for goodness, mercy, equality, love, caring, kindness were murdered in the most vicious ways and others were put into a horrendous form of slavery, there were those others out celebrating – living life as though everything was fine; paying attention to those everyday things that make for a life amidst denial. My question – how can you continue to move ahead taking advantage of what is available to you while ignoring what is happening in your own country, which seems to be steadily on the road to making Hitler’s Germany look like a walk in the park on a sunny day.
In other articles – a few years ago – we predicted Donald Trump’s march taking the United States into Hitler’s Germany and you all let it happen. Look around at the morass in which you are now living and sinking and doing normal everyday things. Maybe you need to read or re-read Hannah Arendt’s book – on the banality of evil, the middle classless that supported Hitler and his cohort’s evil which was spewn around the world. It is certainly proving true today in the United States.
After tear gassing immigrants, the “president” of the United States went to a rally in Mississippi where many were paid to attend and make like they were just loving Trump and others were there because they actually were loving and cheering on this evil and in that environment Mississippians went on to elect Hyde-Smith as its senator. This was not simply about a political loss or win – this was about evil winning or losing. In Mississippi, one more time, evil won. Evil brought into being the memories of public hangings – of people being dragged behind trucks until dead because they dared to vote. What is horrendous in all of this for me – the country was Democratic when that happened and the good guys trying to stop all of it were Republicans. Well, today – look at who is driving the evil. I left a long life of Republicanism as I experienced that Political Party turning into something that would destroy every good value we hold. That used to be what we thought of the Democrats when they were in league with the KKK, White Supremacist and every other “movement” where the votes could be had cheap and in bulk.
A man who is a murderer, who backs heads of government who murder their own in gruesome ways for getting out of line, a thief, adultery, sexual assaulter by his own admission and braggadocio, and so much more on that evil side of the ledger, this man arrived and called Mississippians to vote for one of his strong unequivocal followers – one who didn’t deviate one inch from his gospel. Watching Trump and Hyde-Smith walk down the steps of the airplane which delivered Trump to Mississippi to do his bit to get her into elected government was like watching satan and one of his anointed.
You think that is extreme? Unbalanced? Mentally off?
What was mentally off was our thinking that the United States was on its way to “becoming” – this “city on a hill” which has been shown to be nothing but Mississippi burning with the smell of sulphur all around.
History says there has been no change. I registered to vote as a Republican. I was precinct chair of my area in Wayzata, Minnesota. I was elected to that position by my friends and neighbors. Wow! That was special. Well, one day Ronald Regan declared he was running for president of the United States. Horror began to strike in me because while he articulated the United States as that city on a hill, he clearly had an extreme racist view and following and program to be elected president using racism, sexism, and as much bigotry as he could summon – albeit in a very elegant way. How did you know that was about to happen? How did you know he pre-saged the coming of Donald Trump, who is anything but elegant? Regan announced his candidacy for president of these United States in Mississippi. That was more than what we call a “dog whistle” – and the “dogs” came running.
What did I see in Minnesota? Into the precinct caucus meeting came a slew of Texans. Being from the south, I recognized that Texas accent all around. Who were they? How did they all turn up in my caucus at the same time? Where did they work? What brought them to Minnesota? And what did I experience? Talk in the caucus meeting was about how shocked they were to see this n—-r woman as precinct chair. And that was followed by all kinds of racist remarks. Who was in that caucus meeting listening – the very proper, top of society Minnesota citizens. They didn’t object; defend; become insulted by; insisted the people doing the name calling and ugly very racist rhetoric to stop – they quietly proposed that we elect someone else, “more appropriate”, as chair. For the rest of that meeting I was treated as a non-entity. I was neither seen nor heard. My personhood was totally denied. If I had anything to say someone else would start a conversation on another topic and direct it to another person who would respond. It was beyond dehumanizing. I should have been amazed to hear the very normal, mundane, quiet way they did that, but by that time I had been a part of so much of that – it seemed normal and it was normal. It is still normal today. Many people experience the same thing on a day by day basis without any intervention and it continues until they either leave or accept their non-human status in whichever group they are trying to function. Their “friends” in the group go along with that kind of treatment, but once outside the group they are “friends” again and acknowledged as fully human and fully a part of that friendship group. Sick! All of us!
That bothered me, but not as much as you would expect. I knew I had friends in the area – didn’t we eat together; talk together; enjoy life and shared our children back and forth? Not really! My even living in the area was a problem, but not one that came out so that I could see and hear it until the Texans showed up. I have a history of being that sort of African American woman who is always in the wrong place at the right time. Look at where I live today and the stories I have to tell about that!
When I bought a home in Wayzata and arrived to take ownership and live in the neighborhood, I found the pond with sculptures outside the house, which was one of its charms, all marked up with graffiti put there by the children of the neighborhood – the seven, eight, ten year old children – those who were the same age as my children and who would be their classmates in school. They heard horrible things about this incoming neighbor and felt free and angry enough to resent our appearance in “their” neighborhood and so set about doing whatever they could to destroy the house before we could take it over and live next door. One of the many deliberate handicaps you must overcome when out of your oppressed group. These were not “ghetto”, wild, untrained, no manners children. These were children of the upper classes in that neighborhood and in this country.
Their parents were all sweetness and light and very apologetic. They had many excuses for what their children had done – none accurate, the story was substantially cleaned up – but they had the children come and clean up their “mess.” That didn’t do the job – it cost me quite a bit to have professionals come in because the damage was deep – no one offered to pay the bill, they just pretended everything was fine and their children had cleaned up what they destroyed. I didn’t ever go out that door again nor look at that pond. I just let it go wild. I wanted to create great graffiti art all over the house and destroy as much of it as possible and then live quietly in the neighborhood, but that fantasy was always in my head, never intentionally acted out.
Life didn’t get better! I lived in two worlds, but it wasn’t anything any different from my life before moving into that house in Wayzata. I was born living in two worlds so I knew how to traverse the terrain – painful, horrendous, confusing terrain, but just by being born that was my lot.
What my neighbors didn’t realize was that all of their talk was brought right back to me, by their friends, so when I saw them in Church, had dinner in their homes, had many discussions on many levels with them, I also heard what was said when I was not around because being a part of those two worlds meant I was not “walled off” in a black community where what they were saying and doing was as though it happened in a foreign country where me and mine didn’t speak the language.
Why am I going into all of this? Because I think it is time to tell my story. It is time to get out of me and into you all of the horror through which I have lived because you wanted to maintain your claimed white supremacy and white privilege. I want you to know what that has cost me and mine. We have paid an especially high price because we didn’t stay in our “black neighborhood”, didn’t marry our black brothers and sisters, have lived in a very “diverse” community for a lifetime so I know the ins and outs that have been kept away from that black community – I know why they were kept 20 years into the past so economic parity would not be an issue, which is probably the major reason as to why it has been kept separate. You can’t take advantage of, oppress, and live such a life if the people you are destroying are aware on an intimate basis of who you are and what you are about. It has been roughly like going through a very painful operation without anesthesia with no recovery, just more operations.
And no, I don’t hate you, I have too many English, Irish, Scottish, and every other kind of ancestor lumped under the category of “white” to have hatred for you and my Christian upbringing has put this knowledge of sin and forgiveness into my life – but my journalist family background added to that the need to tell the truth, so that is what you will read in these pages of my journey through this very bigoted society. The kind of society that elected a racist woman to Congress because she is supported strongly by a man who is not only proven to be racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, thinks immigrants are to be reduced to the exploitation of near slavery and so much more. This election should be the celebration of a woman elected to Congress where no woman had been elected in the past, but this woman had to pass the extreme racist test to be so elected and the test that she was indeed not an independent woman, but beholden to and under the influence of men and she did. Mississippi’s victory over the #meToo movement. #meToo – we elected one woman to Congress – our picture of our incoming class will not be entirely white and male – breaking up the WASP image. She did her job and recalled that time of life when we had public hangings of African Americans who voted and so much more of that racism in her education, her choices for her family, her everyday life.
Want to know more – stay tuned, if you can take it. I’ve lost too much to care if you decide to continue retaliating against me and mine. My losses because of your white privilege have just gone over the top for the millionth time and clearly that will continue into the next generation. You have no idea how painful it is to know your children will experience some of the pain you did because of this group of white supremacist and their followers and supporters. To know that all you sacrificed so your children could live in a freer society will not happen because the white supremacist, the neo-Nazi’s and their friends have moved this society back to where those sacrifices have to be made again and by the next generation. That has been going on too long and you have excused and made room for such people for too long – the fact that you benefitted also makes this evil unforgivable and that was also taught to me in my Christian upbringing. You see, I paid attention in Sunday School and I know that forgiveness does not extend to everything and everyone!