As I sat there watching a bunch of right wing extremists breach the US Capitol I wasn’t certain what to think. I know how I felt. I felt a mixture of sadness, rage, and confusion. It is no mystery to me how this happened here and I am not of the naïve belief that we are better than this. The last four years have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that we are not better than this. This is who we are. This is America. The people streaming into the Capitol are not the disease. They are only a symptom of issues that have lingered and persisted since this nations very founding.
It has been said by great thinkers in our past, Martin Luther King Jr, among them that, “The arc of a moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” I believe that to be true, and that yesterday was an unfortunate detour along that path and that perhaps the Trump years are a plateau we needed to overcome. Perhaps we needed to see exactly what the dark side looks like so we can better understand, and stay on, the correct path.
A day later I still find it hard to collect my thoughts and I know one day my children will learn about this day in history class or through media and they will ask me about it. I do not know what to tell them. It is a long and difficult store, and it is hard to say where it began. Was it in 1619 when the first Africans arrived as slaves on these shores, was it when the Constitution was written to say a person of color was only 3/5’s a person, was it when half this nation took up arms to defend one man’s right to own another based on the color of his skin, was it when our nation ended Reconstruction and allowed the Jim Crow era to begin, was it when we decided that separate was equal, or was it later when we forced the first black President to produce his birth certificate, or was it more recent still when we didn’t do enough to condemn a man that called white supremacists very fine people and asked them to stand back and stand by?
I do not know if where it began is as important as where it ends. Making the world a better places sounds like an impossible task, but it is really quite simple. All we have to do is educate our children to be better than ourselves. If this generation and each subsequent generation can do that then as Dr. King prophesied we will begin to see the arc of a moral universe bend towards justice.
Along with that we will see scenes like what happened yesterday. We will see people fighting desperately to cling to a power they have not earned and do not deserve. They will thrash and fight like a fish out of water struggling for its next breathe. I promise you this. Like the lack of oxygen suffocates a fire. The lack of ignorance extinguishes hate. So, when my children ask me about 1/6/2021 and why a bunch of far right extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol I will tell them I do not fully know or understand everything that happened but I do know what will happen. We will learn, we will grow, and we will do better and be better because we must for this generation and the next.