On January 5th and 6th, our nation witnessed the best and worst of American democracy and values. On Tuesday, Georgia voters went to the polls, elected officials and Board of Election workers did their jobs with fairness and full transparency, all votes were counted; American democracy worked! With the help of Union leaders and members from across the country, Georgia voters were brave and courageous enough to break the Labor unfriendly, anti-working families, partisan political blockage which has hurt working people and harmed our country’s battle with and recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic and consequential economic depression. Looking forward into 2021, we joyously celebrate the upcoming President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ new administration, to work for and represent all Americans, in one common and united front.
On Wednesday, we watched the national disgrace and indignities as an armed, pro-Trump militia/mob attacked our Capital building, threatened the lives of our elected leaders and Capital Police, carried and waved Confederate flags in Capital building hallways, and ransacking the Ohio Senate floor and government office. As angry and upset as I and many others are at these seditious, traitorous and un-American terrorists, we must focus our attention on those elected officials who encouraged, incited and literally called-to-arms this terrorist militia/mob: President Donald Trump and his Senate/Congressional Republican leaders/followers.
We must hold these un-American, un-patriotic leaders fully accountable and responsible for their words, actions and misdeeds. Laws must be upheld and Justice should prevail: investigations should be made, charges issued and criminal trial proceedings held in our courts of law.
Sadly, the world watched the worst of American hypocrisy on Wednesday.
In 2020, we saw, countless, unarmed and innocent African-Americans being killed by police officers; peaceful protesters and Black Lives Matter advocates threatened, gassed and forcefully attacked by riot-geared police and angry, racist and armed white mobs, while exercising their First Amendment rights. Now, we watched hundreds of armed insurgents attack Capital police (over fifty injured, some with life threatening injuries); occupy, steal and destroy government property in our Capital building; and causing such chaos/unrest to lead to the deaths of at least four individuals. However, at this time, only 40-45 of these terrorists have been arrested for attacking/invading the Capital building. The racial and justice hypocrisy between these two police/law enforcement actions is both obvious and clear. So, we must ask ourselves: If the mostly white, armed and pro-Trump militia/mob who attack the Capital building and police had been African-Americans, how would the outcome have differed and why is that so?
Such questions hard to ask, even harder to contemplate and answer in the United States of America in 2021.
In the late hours of Wednesday and early hours of Thursday, American democracy and constitutional principles worked once again; certified election results from the fifty states were counted and affirmed, electing President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. On Thursday morning, the sun rose once again in the United States of America, and everyday people went to work, kids went to school (some online) and our lives continue on.
So, sisters and brothers, in the year 2021, let us now come together and be united, celebrating our strengths as a nation, recognizing our weakness and failures, reconciling our committed injustices and past grievances, and healing as one country and people, on a greater path of hope and justice. Thank you, and May God’s Blessing be with us all!
In Solidarity, U and I . . .
(Peter M. McLinden is Executive Secretary – Treasurer of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor COuncil)