Some say – generally in the Alt Right media – that the Founding Fathers of the United States never foresaw a day like today coming. That the world we live in was not the future that they had envisioned for this nation when they stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
According to those who claim authoritatively to know, the Founding Fathers were talking about white men alone. They say that these white men of power and property never foresaw that, someday, their invocation of natural law might include white women and those they believed they owned and therefore called, slaves.
The early 1600s saw one half to two thirds of all Europeans who arrived in America do so as indentured servants. The earliest Africans held this status as well. It wasn’t until the mid-1600s that race-based slavery was established following multiple destructive and successful, class-based insurrections. Monied interests cunningly decided to cater to self-interest and instituted economic peonage as a method of diffusing and consolidating privilege and control. Former indentured servants were offered land and money in exchange for enforcing the racial hierarchy and a choice had to be made. Continue to fight the Powers That Be, demanding higher pay, land and equitable access to the fruits of their labor or comply with the wishes of Capital and enslave and suppress their darker brothers and sisters. As we all know, a devil’s deal was struck then, between early generations of lower-class European ethnicities and the landed Elite. This force would then become the vanguard of what the world would soon identify formally and for the first time as one cohesive whole, the white race.
The United States of America is where it all began, a century before we had even become a nation.
A bloody conflict ushered the nation into existence floating upon the billowing drafts of political and economic revolution in the late 1700s. The former colonies declaimed their elevation to nationhood above the ethnic nations of Europe and dedicated to the cause of Freedom. The justice-based ideology proclaimed by the Founding Fathers was bolstered by the adherence of key figures to the ideology of Deism, resulting in their generally broad-minded perspectives and rejection of the establishment of a single, national religion.
A century after the nation affirmed its birth it found itself in a foundational struggle to clarify this great incongruence. Slavery: this material contradiction of their soaring ideology of freedom and natural rights as enshrined by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and its Amendments. The change in status of those enslaved Africans and the enshrinement of their new state of being in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments – known collectively as the Civil War Amendments – exemplified this driving urge toward the highest heights of human expression.
And yet, their enactment embodied the very contradiction that had plagued the nation since its inception.
The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, except as punishment for a crime. The 14th amendment made all born or naturalized in the United States citizens, including black Americans. The 15th amendment gave the right to vote to all black men.
From this brief tour through American history it should be clear that the earliest conflagrations that ignited and enflamed the passions of the nation continue to burn today. Obama was elected in 2008, the same year the world crashed and the Occupy Movement, young, white and privileged, woke up to the fact that, hey, it was a class war all along and the 1% was the real enemy! It was then that the economic compact between the lower and upper classes in America – this command and control agreement to maintain the system and be included in its administration – was broken materially resulting in the economic disenfranchisement of a large part of the white middle class. This was a process that had been going on for decades, with outsourcing and mechanization, but the economic crash and the resultant recession were the final nails in the coffin of an agreement that had lasted for over 300 years.
But the emotional singularity of the white supremacy ideology remained embodied and in full effect. Eugenics began here and diffused to Germany, the Black Codes and Jim Crow reinforced cultural and racial separation. Desegregation attempted to remedy the ills of the past but the process continues as monied interests seek ways to divide and conquer, playing the role of the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind the curtains of nationalism and religion.
The prison-industrial complex continues to thrive, so – as per the 13th Amendment – slavery remains legal. Corporations use prison labor to proclaim, “Made in America!” while still cutting costs without having to offshore production to Myanmar or Taiwan. Companies are legally considered people based upon the 14th Amendment which was supposed to give blacks citizenship. Corporate lawsuits far outweigh civil rights lawsuits pertaining to legal personhood. Southern states are once again actively seeking to deny blacks and others the right to vote since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was struck down and they no longer have to report changes to election law to the Feds, essentially nullifying the 15th Amendment.
At heart, the issue is what it always is, beneath ethnic conflicts and culture wars. Power. Who wields it and upon whom it is wielded. In the bible, Ephesians 6:12 states: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The battle at hand is a battle of the mind and the spirit, the bicameral expression of soul. Ideologies live beyond bodies in that space of infinite potentiality where imagination and manifestation meld, percolating within a Crucible of Creation. This war transcends individual lives and personal goals. People step up or down into ideologies traversing stairways of light and dark, drawn to that which motivates them beyond conscious thought. Politicians represent the vagaries of human nature at the global and national levels as they do at the local as we each do every day of our lives. We make our way the best we can making decisions that most of us can hardly make sense of driven by internal desires barely acknowledged or even hidden in our deepest heart of hearts.
A final point: scientists have identified a new area of research known as epigenetics. They state that trauma is passed down through generations and this trauma is encoded in the genetic code. If that is truly the case then generations of trauma have been passed down through the collective, American genetic code as oppressing and oppressed populations clash and fuse into new constellations of change and evolution. It is thusly that generations evolve expressing the primeval human drive toward fullest expression and the irrepressible urge of spirit toward elevation of the mind and heart to the highest levels of consciousness.
We must each work to reconcile our family karma, to borrow a Hindu and Buddhist term, to affect our personal and collective life expression positively. We must work through our issues and thereby address those of the collective, making our lives and our society more accurate reflections of America’s high rhetorical ideals.
For those who choose universal justice as a life orientation, reconciling the genetic cellular database becomes an overriding imperative. Since existence requires polarity – often in the form of conflict – for change to occur, the oppositional position forces evolutionary choice at the macro as well as the micro scale. Perhaps the true difference between people is not ethnicity. Perhaps it is the natural polarity exemplified by the empath and the psychopath and the spectrum of psychological orientation that lies between these extremes.
Reconciling opposition is the work of eras and Ages and this Age is nearing its end. Apocalypse is a word whose etymology classifies it as deriving from Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from the Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal,’ from apo- ‘un-’ + kaluptein ‘to cover. This space in time is a process, not an end point or a singular event. A process we are currently well within, if these are indeed the times that many of the world’s religions and spiritual systems agree that they are.
This, is the work that we are born to do. To uncover the Truth. The work that some say the Founding Fathers never saw as encompassing equally all of the diverse populations who inhabited America even back then.
As for me and what I believe they believed? I’m not sure. But I sometimes think about men like Thomas Jefferson, who owned many slaves but who possessed one in particular, Sally Hemmings, whom he had children with and whom it is said that he loved. As he sat on his wide, plantation porch and looked out over the fullness of his life, perhaps bearing witness to children playing, perhaps even his own, perhaps he thought to himself that “Maybe, just maybe …”
Perfecting the Union is not a task that can be constrained through time or limited by space. Rather, it is time. It is space. Boundless. And there is no limit to human potential. I have born witness to amazing experiences of reality by a rainbow-hued cast of spirits encased in flesh, as I know each one of you has as well.
No one can know exactly what the future holds but we can know that we are living our lives in service to Truth and Justice. By choosing consciously. By being present. By loving. And with each choice that we make to be an ally to a friend in need, we are being a friend in deed.