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In the 1950s and 1960s westerns on television and in the movies, Texas was glorified as the “greatest state in the west.” Maybe it was then, but not now. Its state government is part of the deepest, and darkest of any red state in America. I’m not actually sure Texas is part of America. After the recent Republican state convention, when they suggested seceding from the Union, I think they might already have become a foreign nation. I’m thrilled about the idea. The government of Texas is opposed to everything my America stands for.
The primary reason America has never been a great country is that we are the most racist of all developed nations. Slavery continued after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863. In some states, including Texas, “indentured servants” existed for years. These men and women were required to “pay their debt” to those who purchased them from other slave owners. Today, tens of millions of American citizens openly profess their beliefs that whites are superior to people of color or national origin other than in western Europe.
America’s history is, for the most part, dark and shameful. We remain a young country, and that’s not surprising. However, if we learn from our mistakes our future is bright. If we try to hide our mistakes, they can become darker than the reality of the past.
The state government of Texas wants to misdirect the truth from its children: always a huge mistake. A plan to teach its second graders that slavery was nothing more than “involuntary relocation” was planned by Texas state educators but was rejected by the State Board of Education. Apparently, someone in Texas is opposed to lying to our future generations. Fox News loses again.
Republicans are arrogant and live in the past. They believe that the American people are willing to accept their image for America’s future, which is located in our past. Most Americans live in more diverse communities and their neighbors and friends are no longer pure white. This is the real America right-wing politicians choose not to see.
When most Americans think of others who live in their neighborhoods today, they are aware that they share something new, different, and very natural. America has not been a pure white nation for centuries. This was the expectation of our founding fathers. The United States is by design a nation of immigrants.
Sadly, millions of our nation’s immigrants did not come to America by choice. In 1619 the first slaves stepped onto the soil of the New World shackled in chains. Theoretically many Black men and women remain shackled today. Their ability to receive higher education, advancement in employment, and their rights to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are under attack by regressive politicians. The ultimate truth about America’s future is that “none of us are free until all of us are free.”
When a government intentionally divides its citizens with the goal of winning elections, it no longer exists. This is why the label “the United States of America” has no validity in the 21st century.
Voter suppression focused on the poor, mostly Black men and women, has become standard operating procedure in the 21st century. I am old enough to remember real Republicans who, like their Democratic brothers and sisters, encouraged a large voter turnout. Today, most Americans lean towards a more progressive agenda from their government. Today’s “Republicans” are clearly regressive, and for a young nation, this is unacceptable. Therefore, a lower voter turnout is the only way right-wing politicians can win elections.
Our nation’s children can only become our next generation of great leaders when they are honestly and completely informed. We learn from our past to create a better future for all.
Diversity will never go away, it will only grow. The LGBTQ+ community won’t magically disappear. They are a part of what makes our nation interesting and even exciting. And finally, studies show that white Americans are having fewer children. White Americans are less likely to work in many fields needed to provide the necessities of life. People of color and immigrants must be praised and thanked for many reasons, and for their many contributions to their country. We all look more beautiful when we stand together. America is a nation for all, and all of us contribute to the successful future of what could become a great nation.
The truth does set us all free. We need each other. Diversity is our strength.
Op-ed by James Turnage, Novelist
Edited by Marrissa Kay
YouTube: Damning Jan. 6 Hearings Reveal Trump Coup Plotters Had Criminal Intent: A Closer Look; by Late Night with Seth Meyers
The Hill: Texas board of education strikes down proposal to call slavery ‘involuntary relocation’; by Cheyanne M. Daniels