There is much turmoil within our country these days, and it seems lately the solution for those on top, as well as those who fear uncertainty, is to shhhhh!!!! us.
On this weekend where we honor the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader of one of the largest protest movements in US history, I think it’s important we remember that we’re not ones to sit back and quietly accept results.
I’ve seen several social media posts that implore us to “give him a chance” to prove himself unworthy of our respect. I mean, really? After all we’ve already seen out of this guy, and you STILL need him to do more before you’re convinced? Or is it because you’re white and his actions haven’t directly affected you yet that you don’t think it’s going to be all that bad. Yeah. Right. Whatever.
Some even go so far as to say the protests are “unpresidented.” I say you need to brush up on your American history.
In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden ran against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Tilden won the popular vote and had 184 of the 185 electoral votes to win even before all the states had submitted their results. Republicans accused Democrats of failing to count African-American votes. The shenanigans that followed were incredible, the citizens were angry, and President Grant secretly geared up the troops in case there were riots. In the end, the Democrats conceded to Hayes with the provision that Hayes remove federal troops from the south. When the troops left, Reconstruction ended, Jim Crow moved in, and suddenly it was legal to discriminate against African-American citizens. Black men were murdered by lynch mobs for something as small as smiling at a white woman, and often times the perceived infraction never really happened.
Elections have far-reaching consequences. And while it may not affect you, it does affect many. The consequences of 1876 have been felt by African-Americans for over 100 years, and are still felt today.
This election will impact African Americans, Muslim-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, Native American Water Protectors and women. Will black men continue to be shot and killed by police? Will we continue to imprison black Americans for using marijuana despite the fact scientific studies have proven it is harmless (unlike alcohol, which is legal). Will women have no say in what happens to their own bodies? Will white middle class rapists continue to get off with a slap on the wrist? Will Muslims and Hispanics, though here legally, be forced to leave? Will Native Americans see their sacred lands greedily stripped away from them yet again?
If anything good has come from this election, it’s that we’re demanding to be heard. From the Civil Rights march in D.C. this weekend to the Women’s March on Washington January 21st, we’re shouting to the rooftops our frustration with the way this country seems to be heading.
So quit telling us to shut up! We have just as much right to speak out as you do. We love our country and its people too, and we don’t want history to repeat itself.