On January 6th, 2021 a mob of mostly white Americans stormed the US Capitol attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. These individuals sought to prevent the certification of the results and the inauguration of President Biden. The desired outcome of these rebels was to usher in another 4 years of the Trump Presidency. Seeing the events unfold on TV that day totally derailed the rest of my day. I lost my focus and could no longer concentrate. As one who emigrated to this country in 2001 this event took me back 20 years to September 11th, 2001. It was that day almost 20 years ago that I really considered this as my country in my heart. After all the difficulties though, terrorism brought us together in 2001
A Brief Recall of My American Journey
Feeling American for me came before citizenship. When I realized that the enemies of this country will kill me just because I was here, I knew immediately where my allegiance lay. Getting a green card and citizenship was the process I endured to make it official. On September 11th, 2001 in the midst of a total communications breakdown I had a lot of anxiety. I had been in the country less than 2 months at that time. The attack on January 6 was different in many respects but still an attack on America.
So when I saw the mob attack the US Capitol, my mind took me back to that morning. September 11th, 2001 was very scary but the events of January 6th, 2021 are more concerning. On 9-11 most of us believed we could put a face on our aggressors. They were Islamic fundamentalist who hated the freedoms that our nation afforded us, or so we thought. The recent events on January 6th, is different. The aggressors on that day were people like me and you. They were Americans attacking their own citizens and police officers in an attempt to reinstate a president who lost at the ballot box. Spurred on by lies and hateful rhetoric, they resorted to violence against other Americans to achieve their political aspirations. I kept asking myself many times if this was the America I chose. I know it wasn’t but I cannot help but wonder.
What is Happening To America?
I answered the above question many years ago in one of my earlier blogs “A Struggle for A New America“. And that struggle continues to this day. I see progress but only know that means we need to work harder. The questions that I keep asking myself are this;
Were these “domestics terrorists” right in believing the election was stolen from Mr. Trump?
Did they have a “right” to protest the results?
Was destruction of public property and the violence that led to the death of 5 persons even necessary?
I would only answer “yes” to the second question; for all the other questions I would give a resounding “no”. Violence has never been the best way to resolve any issue. Definitely not in a country like ours where there are systems in place to remove a “bad” leader. As for protests, that is the right of any person in a free society. The cause that these “domestic terrorist” fought for was grounded in a foundation of lies and myths; but they still have a right to peaceful protest. That First Amendment guarantees them that right. The senseless violence and the uncontrolled school yard behavior in our state Capitol, the cathedral of our democracy, however is the closest to sacrilege that any citizen can commit.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I am most concerned that former Vice President Mike Pence has started parroting the lie that almost cost him his life. This is a turning point for me. I also believe it is a turning point for America. I can confidently say that, the path forward to an America that respects the views, votes and aspirations of everyone irrespective of color creed and religion is going to be rocky. The GOP is moving to re-enact the age-old American trick. This trick has kept a white minority in power in many parts of the American South. Voter suppression using the power of legislation, makes a mockery of the ideals that we live by and preach far and wide. It is also unconstitutional. If you are American and love this country please make your voice heard.
America, cannot continue to push that “beacon on the hill” story across the world when we allow our law makers to use the power we gave them to rob us of our right to choose. The right to vote does not belong to Black Americans or White Americans; it belongs to us all. We don’t get that right from the republican party or from the democratic party; it is our right. Please make sure you take this right very seriously because if you don’t, there are those out there who want to take it away from you. Their objective is to make you a slave to their wishes. Todays American slaves are not only black, they are white, brown, red and yellow.
Just remember this; “According to a recent Gallup poll 79% of Americans believe college educations is unaffordable. Can our congressmen and women come to a consensus on this issue? Just tell me if this is a free country !!
Dr. Leonard Sowah is an internal medicine physician in Baltimore, Maryland