The Gift of a Brat

The unrelenting power of the "Southern Strategy" is arguably the single biggest impediment to America's survival as a democracy. The ability to push fear of "other" is easy to disseminate and even easier to absorb for an American populace looking for simple explanations to explain life's complications. In the meantime, our democracy suffers a slow painful death by a thousand hateful words from a power elite that, with few exceptions, thrives on the fear of "other" at our collective expense.

President-elect Donald Trump's assent to power is just the latest example of a strategy so inculcated in American discourse that many voted for a man who made misogyny, racism and xenophobia his central campaign platform. It's the tried and true method of electoral politics practically guaranteeing a win in certain regions of the country.

The pesticide of rational thought and common sense does little to repel this cultural pest, so deeply ingrained in the soil of Americana. Voters continually excuse such behavior for what they perceive as the greater good, only to awaken the next election cycle, and realize we're having the same debates over the same issues that putting the "other" in their place was supposed to solve. The flames of racial, ethnic, gender and religious intolerance are the gifts that keep on giving. At some point, an elected leader/s will indeed act on their rhetoric ruining our democratic institutions. You need look no further than North Carolina.

My knowledge of American history tells me I shouldn't be surprised, that so many accept, with little consequence, the pernicious nature of discriminatory electoral politics. Yet, no matter how hard I try to bury that pain, it rises. The American people continually get trapped in the tidal wave of racist politics passing as truth.

Seldom has the target of the hateful message benefited. American race-based politics has its roots back in the 17th century. It was the intentional creation of wealthy landowners, who imposed a social hierarchy, separating folks along racial lines with the end goal to deepen their own pockets, by false claims such as Black inferiority. This racial designation hurt what we call today, working class and poor Whites as well, which, highlights the devious nature of the original intent. Four hundred years later we continue to pay for that blunder and its unsustainability.

I feel blessed I see America through a more hopeful prism thanks to a gift presented to me at birth; my father's decision to join the United States Air Force. Dad's third duty assignment took us to Madrid, Spain when I was just five-years-old. I soaked up Spanish culture like a sponge.