America’s Jacobian moment

  • 2 min to read
John Floyd

The “Wall Street Journal’s” June 23, 2020, editorial page led with these words. “Anger at the killing of George Floyd has spurred useful reflection about race and perhaps some important police reform. But the political and cultural forces have transformed in recent weeks into something far less healthy—a ferocious campaign of political conformity sweeping across American artistic, educational, business and entertainment institutions.”

The death of George Floyd was tragic and despicable. It violated the morality of every American and most Americans called out for justice to be served, and justice is happening. What is also happening is destruction, mayhem, anarchy, and the end of free speech in the United States. At this juncture in American history, there is only one side to American dialogue because American political leaders, both Democrat and Republican, have abdicated that right to the bellowing mob.

From a historical standpoint, it reminds me of the Russian Revolution where provocative communist Vladimir Lenin took control of the country in 1922. While the situation in the U.S. has not reached the “Reds” Bolshevik or the “white” counter-revolutionaries juncture, the country is in the throes of taking the first step. The Wall Street Journal went on to say in their editorial, “We doubt most Americans agree with this unforgiving and punitive approach, (political conformity), to cultural change, but the revolutionaries are now in charge with a vengeance.”

Russian scholar, Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Russian literature at Northwestern University, said in the Opinion section of the Wall Street that America has not arrived at anything like what Lenin called a “revolutionary situation”, but we have arrived at a situation which well-intentioned liberal people often can’t bring themselves to say that lawless violence is wrong. Lawless violence is synonymous with terrorism and should be treated no differently.

The various African-American organizations across the country have missed an opportunity to give to their constituents a stronger platform for upward mobility. The reaction to the murders by policemen of black men and women are justified except for the violence. A universally horrified white population to the murders of black people by the police is ready to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The continuing violence by hijackers of the African-American cause is counter-productive. There is some evidence that young, white, well educated men and women are instigators of destructive measures.

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Morson said that many of today’s revolutionaries are wildly successful and privileged. Take Colin Mattis and Urooj Rahman, both New York lawyers in their thirties, who have been criminally charged for attempting to firebomb a police vehicle with a Molotov cocktail. R. Mattis was educated at Princeton and New York University, Ms. Rahman at Fordham. Many of the destructive scenes on national television show young, white individuals at the forefront screaming and cursing the police.

The “silent majority”, both black and white, don’t condone violence we see on national television. I am sure, and without a doubt, that African-Americans I have worked with, worked for and they worked for me, are horrified at what is transpiring across the nation. These are African-American men and women who I would go to war. They are exceptional men and women who worked their way to executive jobs through a myriad of obstacles.

The United States political system is being assailed, but with all its warts, the system has tried, and with some success, to right the wrongs of many years of mis-treatment of African-Americans. No country has done more to elevate an entire population. After the Second World War, the country, under the leadership of Harry Truman, began to realize the importance of treating every citizen alike, regardless of race, religion or nationality. The American Army was the first to recognize discrimination for what it was. Then the body politic passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law prohibits unequal application of voter registration, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodation.

Then in 1965, executive order No. 11246 was issued by President Lyndon Johnson called the Affirmative Action program. This executive order furthered the opportunities for African-Americans and other minorities advancement.

There is still much to do. It can be done when cooler heads prevail.