Welcome, to the Age of Fortress America.
The question should be asked, at this point: what, pray tell, is the cost of greatness?
Who pays it?
The past is always with us. It doesn’t go away until it is reconciled. Those seeking to make America great “again” are ignoring the reality that it has never been greater than it is right now for a significant percentage of its population. Which makes the rallying call to “make America great again” evoke the opposite feeling in those people than it does those who support it.
Those of us within traditionally oppressed groups are not the ones who will make inroads with those who seek to “make America great again”. Our positions come from life experiences that are generally fraught with expressions of racism and marginalization. Even those of us who have through our own efforts – and the support of limited systemic initiatives, Ancestors and Allies near and far in space and time – sought to take advantage of available opportunities to live the American dream; have too often had our dreams dashed to the ground in disdain and felt the despair of dispossession.
We are not the ones to argue for moderation. We are the ones who are the canaries in the coal mine. The populations upon whom depredations are enacted. The ones whose presence materially creates the conditions of greatness for others to live, historically, the ones left out when the jobs and houses and opportunities are handed out for free to the preferred.
We are the ones who are listened to but not truly heard above the cacophony of mechanized daily life. The pall of kids needing attention, the news, the dramas of living that distract even the most attentive sometimes. The ones whose warnings are corroborated by kith and kin and disregarded by almost all others except the most aware, the most awake denizens of the majority society.
We have our own echo chamber and we rail against conditions endlessly to each other, confirming and declaiming, proclaiming our defiance and rage against the machine.
As the walls go up surrounding Fortress America, the Other is being deported, those legally within its walls put on notice that it is now America do or die, America right or wrong. Us against the world, you better get on board or go back to where you or your ancestors came from. As isolationism sets in, normalization of fascism proceeds. Rights continue to be whittled away behind the scenes as drama and whimsy overwhelm the front page of the national discourse.
Other European nations are following suit, drifting toward a denial of universalism in favor of the particular. Now, after the ages of exploration, imperialism, colonialism, post-colonialism and now globalism, the West wants nothing more to do with the world. At least within the borders of their own countries. A critical mass of the melanated has apparently been reached and no more, no more shall be allowed in without aggressive, fierce and total vetting.
While Fortress America continues to proclaim its global hegemony, simultaneously claiming its unfair and overwhelming share of the world’s natural resources, other nations take up the call of global environmentalism, human rights and the moral high ground. This nation’s commitment to freedom and diversity has been revealed to be rhetorical to a distinct minority who have captured the reins of power and are now enacting unpopular legislation “for the good of the nation” and their own material interests.
We, the canaries in the coal mine, will continue to call out. We will strive with our limited reach to affect the discourse of the day, to engage those open and willing to stand up to the forces of aggression and discord. Our position is not to make the shift ourselves, as our defensive posture is merely the courage of our convictions, our offensive armament, the whole truth and nothing but the Truth.
The present is the manifestation of the past. Today’s inequities are the result of yesterday’s excesses. And the reckoning has finally come due. The time has come to reconcile the American drama in order to move forward equitably.
But that is not happening. Instead, the fearful minority is doubling down on dysfunction like Pharaoh, when Moses came to him and demanded he let God’s people go. Deporting the Dreamers and telling the children of slaves to go back to where they came from. The sheer audacity of psychopathy prevails and “alternative facts” distort the narrative to the detriment of all. The exhortations of the fearful and entitled are shrill and desperate, the hatred in their eyes a visceral reminder that this nation was founded in genocide and slavery, its original sins now come back like an old friend, faithful till the end.
To truly seek conciliation and forgiveness is nowhere on the table. Sending the scions of stolen wealth – the descendants of destruction, children of the colonies – away, is not letting them go, as Moses declaimed. Unless, like the Hebrews of the Exodus, they go with the wealth of Egypt in their carts and upon their backs.
Fortress America is Mystery Babylon. The people of God are long-suffering, their arms raised up, eyes searching the heavens and pleading for surcease from endless oppression and suffering. Crying out against the terrors of the night, railing against the constrictions of utter debasement and servitude to an alien system.