Seventy-eight years ago, I entered this world and purportedly became a citizen of what was then and has since been labeled the greatest country on this planet. And I have, of course, always ascribed to such a self-serving description. As I reflect, however, on these past four years, including the events of the past several weeks — specifically the post-election scenario culminating with the outrageous assault upon our citadel of democracy, the Capitol — I now must conclude that this is America, and we are not better than this.
A review of our history brings into focus events past which taint our country as well as the spirit of our Founding Fathers as inscribed in our constitution. Our Civil War was supposed to put an end to the evil of slavery. Reconstruction was thought to implement that goal. “A house divided cannot stand” said Abraham Lincoln, but it does today stand, and the philosophy of the Black Lives Matter movement is a testament to its current existence. To be sure, “Jim Crow” not only exists, but appears to be thriving. The horrific events of Charlottesville, the recent failure to protect our Capitol against white supremacists, the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 and the blatant attempt to limit the voting rights of African Americans are only but a small sample of our flawed community.
In 1930 the period between election and inauguration was reduced from four to two and a half months. It is time that this period should be further reduced or perhaps eliminated completely. Only with this and other changes will our country be insulated from these barbaric assaults upon the fabric of our society. And only then can our country be called the greatest. Until then let us not fool ourselves by saying “this is not America.”
Martin J. Rosen