The holiday season is here! It’s usually a time of fun moments and festive cheer. But as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, there’re shifts and changes we’ve had to make when compared to past years. This is also a time that the ‘Year-in-Review’ news programs get rolled out. Some of us will do our best to handle the mental/emotional stressors while trying to make sense of the 2020 blur.
In the workplace some might use this time for a job performance recap, while with students it might call for a school-wide virtual conversation. But in the interest of civic ‘team spirit’ for the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign/platform, we’ll use this moment as an ‘After We Vote’ review and reality check. Whether win, lose or flaws in the system, we can move on from the elections and bring change based on lessons of the past in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and ‘Hometown Strong’ comebacks.
It’s been a few weeks since the presidential elections and what’s been happening can be summed-up from our history by actions of winners and losers. For example, the winners of the American Revolution spent time crafting an organizing document that begins with the words “We the people in order to form a more perfect union.” But history shows that with past losers in America’s unfolding story, they spent time doing three things: (1) Attacking democracy (2) Suppressing citizens’ rights and (3) Gaslighting social ills and the culture wars.
As a quick flashback following the Revolution, women and some blacks in New Jersey were allowed the right to vote. That was reversed in 1807 because one party felt it was losing the support of those groups and decided to disenfranchise them. They came up with a new push and then laws under the guise of “Fighting Fraud.” Another example is how after the Civil War the KKK was formed by six confederate war veterans who were college educated. They were supporters of the losing side who would intimidate, harass and then attack democracy which led to the Jim Crow era of culture wars. Sound familiar?
A better view of civic/social issues that is “powered by SAIC” might help to explain the following ideal: Celebrate a civic spirit in culture and community like a winning spirit in sports & biz. Think about the end of a football game when the coaches or the players meet in the middle of the field to shake hands. It’s not something they do as an executive order, but as a goodwill gesture after the game. Whether win, lose or draw, they move on and/or regroup for the next game or season. Moreover, when a player graduates from school or retires as a pro, they don’t try to hold their former teammates or the game hostage. So, taking a page from sports, we can do better as elected officials, public figures, media personalities, biz leaders and regular folks in ways that serve the country well by how we affect:
Between first and eight grades, students learn in science the difference between water as H2O and hydrogen peroxide as H2O2. Imagine during that time if little by little they’re led to believe that H2O2 is the same as H2O but is better for you because it has more oxygen? That would soon become a disaster in their health. Well, what we sometimes find in our public space can be similarly bad for issues beyond race. When people get fed a ‘drip drip drip’ of disinformation, over time they’re led to believe the wrong things. This might cause an addiction to disinformation, and as with most addictions, someone gets hurt. Plus, by the time they get to college and the real world, they’re likely to suffer with bouts of grievance, confusion and pain because they “lack information and are constantly liable to being misled.”
From middle school through college, students can participate in the organized sport of their choosing. As they advance from the early stages maybe even through to the Olympics or pro ranks, practice sessions become harder and the goals steeper. As they grow in abilities and personal strengths the rewards are also greater. Well, that’s the mindset of SAICs Essay Contest and Friday Night Flights programs, in an effort to reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit. By the time we become voters or serve in other ways with a deeper sense of duty, we’ll all be working with a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship.
Some of what we see today as ‘culture wars’ might be tied to a back-and-forth between White America and Black Culture. There’s even a spillover to other areas but it’s often experienced as ‘social humidity.’ It’s like those days when humidity in the air is heavy. The higher the humidity, the greater amount of water vapor is in the atmosphere. Things feel sticky, uncomfortable, maybe even unbearable as people try to find a ‘cool zone.’ Well when it comes to civic/social issues in America, we’ve always had to deal with social humidity due to ‘white supremacy vapors’ in the air making things uncomfortable. Plus, part of the culture wars might also be about whose ‘cool zone’ attracts more followers.
Some might remember the TV show from the 60s/70s called the ‘Mod Squad’ (Mod for modern). The theme was based around a group of young people who wanted to make a difference in the community. Their backgrounds could have caused them to be overlooked, but they came together to affect the social issues of their time. Maybe today across America we need a kind of ‘Pod Squad’ to help ‘protect our democracy’ or a ‘Civics Brigade’ to ‘put out disinformation’ hotspots that spread like wildfire. We kinda need parents, teachers, students and community members locked-in on a stronger, more secure future.
If we want to “Make Team America an Awesome 10” we can look to sports as a guide. The players in the game learn to think ‘team’ before their own highlight ream. When you write the word aWEsoME, you gotta spell WE before ME. In the same way this might serve us well as we consider country, community and duty before political party, celebrity or cash money. It takes patriotic realism over selfish ambitions to achieve a greater good, higher purpose and bigger love that will have us all feeling good in the neighborhood throughout the holiday season and beyond. Then no one can top or stop us as a nation!
You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.
Tracks: Surfaces – Sunday Best – https://youtu.be/_83KqwEEGw4
John Legend – Bigger Love – https://youtu.be/rAxdO1j6oQI