How much can a nation take? We are not like “the Greatest Generation,” a strong group who fought the Germans, freed the Jews and secured America’s freedom. They built communities and factories, had a strong work ethic, and valued family and civic responsibility. I was born during that war. Although “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair,” I have seen better days where the government is concerned.
Remember, when Michelle Obama said, after her husband won the presidential election, “For the first time in my lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” I was in my sixties then, yet I had never felt that America was my country, my home. I never felt like I belonged here until Barack Obama became President. As I was shivering in the enormous crowd on that cold, cold January Tuesday, in Washington, D. C. listening to the newly elected President speaking about the founding fathers as though he was a direct descendant, I got it. I felt the connection and started to think that I do belong here. America is my country.
Today, any day since the coronavirus appeared in America, I am unsure as to who and what America is. This country was shaken to its foundation in 2016 when the Electoral College put an unfit and unqualified person into the Oval office. This administration is steadily redefining America. It no longer wants to be the dominant power in the world. Its economy before Covid-19 was still number one, but its leadership has faltered, slipped, bowed, bent, and kowtowed to China. And for reasons unknown to Russia/Putin.
I watched daily briefings for a while. The experts say one thing, and the President says another. There has been much incorrect information from the beginning. I do not look to the government to save me from the coronavirus; however, I do expect sane, sober, and informed leadership.
I watched the President appropriate airtime, allotted to the coronavirus updates, to offer pipe dreams, settle scores, take swipes at perceived enemies, and rally his base. I tuned in to stay informed, but most of what I heard was gibberish; I tuned out. I trust my instincts to stay safe. I donned the mask and gloves before the government told me to. I pray that I will see real leadership in America again soon. These four years of foolishness and ineptness have taken a toll.
I cannot say that I long for the “America of old” because I am a black woman; America of old did not treat black people well. Yet, I pray for a time when the government respected the rule of law to some degree. I remember a time when scholarship, knowledge, experience, and excellence were valued and sought after. I pray for a time when the government operates on some measure of truth.
This Nation founded by immigrants, is now turning its back on them. This Nation, built mainly by enslaved Africans, has never paid their descendants the debt owed. This Nation that once ran the world now runs from it like a timid little puppy. This mighty Nation that set the standard for world leadership in times of crisis now shrinks into the background chanting “America First” as China steps in to fill the void.
I know that the President cannot do anything to bring Kobe back. Perhaps he cannot do anything about the impact of the coronavirus either. The President decided to believe much too late to take adequate measures in combatting the virus. He agreed that it was a hoax when he heard about it in January, or before. America needs leadership that is conscious, competent, capable, and caring. Is that too much to ask?