The United States today is beginning to look like the ‘Wild West’ if one looks closely. A madman in the Oval Office is only the beginning. Out on the streets, in our neighborhoods, things are happening that were unheard of just a few short years ago.
Take, for example, the case of African American attorney Rashad James in Maryland. As Mr. James entered the courthouse in Harford Country, Maryland earlier this month, he was detained by a deputy who did not believe he was a lawyer and demanded proof. Just one more in a string of cases where African-Americans have been detained or questioned by police as they went about their everyday lives, golfing, gardening, swimming, shopping, sitting in a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb, grilling out and napping at a college.
Or, the little boy’s birthday party that was crashed by Chicago’s ‘finest’. Didn’t hear about that one? No wonder, for if the name ‘Trump’ isn’t in a story these days, you’re not likely to see it on the front pages. Well, TJ Jackson was 4 years old on that cold day last month, and his parents were having a birthday party for him in their basement apartment on the South side of Chicago. Four children were having fun, playing games, and the birthday cake awaited on the table. Suddenly the door burst open and in strode 17 Chicago police officers, weapons drawn and pointed at the children!
According to the lawsuit that was filed this week by TJ’s family, the officers questioned the children, used vulgar language, damaged furniture as they searched the apartment, and made the adults sit lined up against a wall for 45 minutes while they searched the small apartment. Why? They were looking for a man who had lived in the apartment five years before. A simple bit of research would have shown them that he no longer lived there. They might have knocked and acted in a respectful manner. If the family had been white, perhaps they would have done so.
And what about the hundreds of children still separated from their parents at the southern border? Were you aware that even now, nine months after federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to stop separating immigrant children from their parents, it is still happening? And were you also aware that just this week the Department of Homeland Security requested Congress to pass legislation allowing the department to send all unaccompanied children who try to cross the border back to their home countries? Fortunately, Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea in short order, but it is still a sign of these turbulent times.
Oh, and let us not forget about the hundreds of people being held under a bridge in El Paso, Texas, surrounded by fencing and sleeping on dirt.
If you still have any doubts that ‘civilization’ in the U.S. is on a backward roll, consider that there is a push for people … any people … to be able to carry concealed weapons without any testing, permits, or even background checks. Fully one-third of the states have already passed such laws, or un-laws as I call them, and there is a push for this un-law at the federal level. Quite literally, in some states, a man convicted of murder could break out of prison, walk into a gun show, and purchase an AR-15, no questions asked.
Oh, and did you know that the United States has been ranked as the 10th most dangerous nation for women on the globe? From 1994 until 2017, we had a law called the Violence Against Women Act, that was allowed to lapse under the Trump administration and republican-controlled Congress. The current Congress is trying to re-authorize the Act, but … the National Rifle Association (NRA) is lobbying against it. Why? Because it calls for gun bans for those who have been convicted of domestic abuse or violence against a ‘romantic partner’. This is a nation where we apparently want to ensure that the men can keep their ‘womenfolk’ in line, one way or another – if fists aren’t enough, then grab the gun!
Oh yeah … and speaking of guns, I almost forgot that there is also an idea gaining momentum that teachers in schools should carry them … guns, that is.
Then, of course, there is the “leader”, who breaks every norm of a civilized society and who encourages violence among the people of the nation, divides rather than unifies, promotes hate rather than peace, and panders to those who engage in every form of bigotry imaginable. Is it any wonder, then, that some days it feels like we are moving backward in time? We have regressed in so many areas, including civil rights of every sort. The United States, once referred to as the “Leader of the Western World”, is now well on its way to becoming a third-world country, all just in two short years. Welcome to the Wild West – Part II.