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What is Happening to America?

July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020     Auburn Hills, Michigan USA 

This weekend is usually a joyful celebration in my country. The 4th of July is a national holiday, full of fireworks, flags and patriotism to commemorate the signing, 244 years ago, of America's Declaration of Independence from Britain. 

But I don't feel like celebrating. Instead, I feel a combination of shame, horror and fear. 

Shame, for my country's history of land theft and violence against the Native Americans who called it home for centuries before Christopher Columbus allegedly "discovered" it. 

Shame, for the way this country was built on the backs of slaves and the violence, terrorism and rampant discrimination against African Americans that continues to this day. The USA's moment of reckoning over racism, which has triggered weeks of Black Lives Matter public protests and confrontation with police, is long overdue, with 15-26 Million Americans taking to the streets. 

Horror, for the aggression and violence by police and white citizens toward unarmed black citizens. It's been going on for centuries  But now, incidents such as a Minneapolis police officer pressing the life out of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds are being caught on cell phones for all the world to see. It's horrifying. 

The images of black American men being violently beaten, shot in the back or suffocated are horrifying and heartbreaking to watch. But they are only symptoms of the disease that is eating away at America's soul. All you have to do is to consider three recent incidents, now witnessed by millions throughout the world, to know that there is something very wrong with America. 

First, Amy Cooper, a young white woman in New York's Central Park was asked to put her dog on a leash by a black man (who was bird watching). Instead of following the park rules and complying, she called the police and played the desperate damsel telling them, "I'm being threatened by an African American man."  She knew exactly how to play our culture's racial cards. Click here to watch. 

Second, unarmed Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching through a gated community to protest at the home of the mayor of St. Louis, Missouri were threatened with weapons by a husband and wife guarding their mansion.

The third incident occurred less than 10 minutes from my home in Oakland County Michigan. An irate white woman, irritated over a verbal dispute, jumped out of her car with a loaded revolver and pointed it at an unarmed African American woman and her teenage daughter. You have to watch it to believe it.  The woman and her husband have now been arrested and charged with felonious assault.  It could easily have been murder. Click here to watch. 

But most of all I feel FEAR. First, because the COVID-19 pandemic is out of control in the United States with no solution and no national leadership in sight. Partly, because too many Americans are refusing to wear masks, because their distorted idea of freedom is more important than any responsibility to other human beings. 

Finally, I'm fearful for the future of American democracy.

 Our problems didn't begin with our current president. The kindling has been piling up for decades. Our 45th president simply lit the match and continues to fan the flames of hatred and fear. 

I think of my country these days as that of an alcoholic on a self-destructive path. For those who love her, it is paintful to watch the USA stumbling toward rock bottom, as the world observes, in stunned disbelief. 

But here is what gives me hope. Throughout its turbulent history, the United States has re-invented itself several times.  Each re-invention was ignited by crisis. 

My country is in the grips of a health, economic, racial and leadership crisis. I believe there are better days ahead, because we are a resilient nation that has lost its way, not its heart. I guess that's worth a few fireworks. 

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