The Wrong Side of History
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you represent?
Most people think they are righteous. Most people believe that, if transported to a different time and place, they would have had the mettle, courage and personal fortitude to stand on the right side of history.
Sadly, there are a whole lot of Americans who, unbeknownst to themselves, are proving quite the opposite. And you might be one of them.
We all want to believe we would have marched on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. We all want to believe we would have been Oskar Schindler, rescuing Jews from being massacred by a criminal regime.
Now, we all have the rare opportunity to see who we really are. And, for a lot of you, the harsh reality isn’t pretty.
We live in a time of tremendous political and social upheaval. But everything we are seeing today, from a new Civil Rights movement to an individual who wants to install himself as an autocratic dictator, others have confronted in the past.
Have you had a problem with Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes peacefully kneeling during the national anthem? If so, it is a near certainty you would have stood firmly against boxing legend Muhammad Ali for his outspoken stances on racial equality during the 1960s and 1970s.
Ali, who died a national hero, was stripped of the heavyweight title and suspended from boxing for three years in 1967 for refusing to participate in the Vietnam War. He regularly went on television and spoke in explicit terms about racial injustices. A large percentage of white Americans at the time despised him for it. If you hate Kaepernick today, you would have loathed Ali back then too.
What about other Black national icons, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis? Well, guess what. If you take the side of our police departments, who have been tear-gassing and assaulting protesters for months, then you would have likely taken the side of Bull Connor’s cops attacking Lewis and other demonstrators as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama on March 7, 1965.
If you think the problem in this country is peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters, then you would not have supported the March on Washington. You would not have supported eliminating segregation and integrating schools. You would have been outraged by the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and incensed further when Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Fair Housing Act in 1968.
It goes beyond that.
If you are watching Donald Trump’s attempts to discredit our election and tear down our democracy, and you’re cheering him on, I have really bad news for you. You would have supported the worst European fascists when they usurped power in the 1920s and 1930s. Because everything Donald Trump is doing in 2020 is straight out of the Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini power-grabbing playbook.
In the beginning, those fascists also had support from a fairly decent segment of the population. We’ve all seen the footage of their rallies, in which throngs of adoring supporters listened to their long, rambling speeches. And those people in attendance didn’t have to risk their lives by braving a pandemic. From that perspective, Trump supporters have been going the extra mile.
We all want safe cities and law and order, and nobody supports violence, rioting and looting, but it is a constitutional right in this country to protest peacefully. A recent study showed that 93 percent of Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s murder were, in fact, peaceful.
If you think Breonna Taylor’s killing was justified, you don’t stand for Civil Rights. If you think resisting arrest merits a death sentence when a Black man is involved, you don’t stand for Civil Rights. If you think the police officers who have been gleefully roughing up protesters for months are justified, you don’t stand for Civil Rights.
If you don’t have a problem with protesters and journalists being attacked in Lafayette Square, so Donald Trump can pose for a photo with a Bible, you don’t stand for the First Amendment of our Constitution. If you support the president’s attack on mail-in ballots, you don’t stand for free-and-fair elections. If you are willing to compromise everything this country has stood for since 1776 in order for Donald Trump to be president for four more years, you don’t stand for democracy.
If all of this describes you, perhaps you aren’t the person you thought.