IMPEACHMENT REFLECTION: James Baldwin Warned America of Her Own Destruction, She Didn’t Listen.
James Baldwin, for all of his complaints about White Supremacy, for every single astute critique about the United States of America and her many needs for improvement, he, at the root of it all, expressed a deep and suffering love of this country. This love, was not predicated on the idealistic portrayal of the lie that America allows herself to believe, but based on the principle that you should love that which you have been intimately and painstakingly involved in building, though you were never given the choice to choose your participation in its construction. Much like a child born of invasion that still deserves the depth of their mothers love. He also believed that though America was a product of his ancestors Black hands, that he was a son of America’s shores and shaped by the streets and culture of Harlem, he quipped, “ I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”. Baldwin had an acute understanding of America’s demons, he knew the precise trajectory of America’s racism, facade of false equity, complete refusal to address its race problem.
He sat in parlors, stood in halls, and lounged in living rooms spreading the gospel of America’s peril to audiences both Black and White. The core of his message, was that America’s greed, arrogance, and refusal to address the fundamental darkness of it’s development, acknowledge the destruction this refusal has caused, and heal, She, like the Greek and Roman Empires before her, would meet her demise. He argued that this nation that bought and sold humans, forced them to participate in building this nation, then denied them the right to benefit from the fruits of the labor to which they were the largest contributors, and the inability to even make this confession would be the straw that would break the camel’s back. A desperate citizen, friends with both Malcolm and Martin, a man who dined with Hansberry and Angelou, Baldwin acquired the acuity of vision to clearly see, the state that his reluctant but beloved mother Nation was in. This vision allowed him to paint portraits with words to convey that though the veil of purity and Christian values that America wore to match her white dress of liberty and professed freedom, would compel her to grant these humans entry into the world they built, but she would fail to reconcile with the tragic truth of the injustice she willfully committed to become the picture of beauty that she is. She is after all, America the beautiful. Right? No one can see the stains. James knew that even if the oppressed human despite all these odds managed to make their way in this world, the unreconciled truth would reveal that though America wears her white dress of Freedom under the bright light of her liberty flame, that her dress is stained with blood that no one bothered to clean up.
Sure enough, in 2016, America, in response to the election of the first Black President, Barack Obama, the red stains on this anecdotal dress became red hats that sent America a clear message, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”. Great like those times when those humans who helped build this nation would never be in this close proximity to power. The people who wore these hats, fueled by racism, xenophobia, and feeling displaced by the participation of Black people and immigrants, elected Donald J. Trump. Trump like Baldwin, also saw America for the vulnerable state she was in. He, like any good predator, identified her greatest weakness, race, and exploited it to his benefit.
What tragic, but karmically appropriate justice, that the greed of one Rich White Capitalist, elected and empowered by Racism, would be the blow that would bring America to her knees. Trump, a failed business man, but skillful showman orchestrated the greatest dog and pony show the world had ever seen. He would prove to the entire world that he was indeed the deal maker he had always advertised himself to be. This would be his best deal, the greatest deal. Unlike, the President’s many failed real estate and land deals before, this time he had prime Real Estate, with a value that could know no limit, precious land, the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE. He would sell it to the highest bidder, and America’s blindness to her own vulnerabilities would allow him to do just that. He would show all of those people who mocked and ridiculed his numerous failures, that he would have the final “te-he-he”.
In the Nation’s Capitol this week, there have been stunning yet not so surprising revelations about the nature of this “drug deal” as it has been coined in political media. Trump and his colleagues proceeded to spread international mischief that would rival the work of the greatest mobs and crime families in history. The President and his team played with the lives and security of nations, including our own for the sole purpose of making his client happy, so that he could secure his deal. His client? Vladimir Putin, and his bitter Mother Russia. Mother Russia hates America standing there in her beautiful but blood stained dress, for she is a symbol of ALL that she used to be, back when she was called by her preferred name, The Soviet Union. In Putin and Russia, Trump found a client who he was willing to please more than anything, because NOTHING would get in the way of this deal. Not even America, and all of her institutions. With the successful annexation of Crimea, the other thing that stands in the way of Russia becoming The Soviet Union again is that pesky Ukraine. The 45th President and his cronies intended to get a second term to bask in the victory of his deal making from the sanctity of the White House, by securing dirt on his perceived greatest political threat, Joe Biden, but most importantly, meet the final condition of the deal with Russia, which was to destabilize the Ukraine long enough to weaken it. By withholding promised aid from the vulnerable young nation, Trump succeeded in creating the window for Russia to regain footing in the region. Part tragedy and part comedy, Trump himself doesn’t actually get anything out the deal. Eager to final get a deal to go through, he forgot to even name his price. He sold the nation out for bragging rights.
What is becoming abundantly clear through this Impeachment Hearing, is that proverbial shit has hit the fan. As the full egregiousness of the actions of this president come to light, America stands humiliated on the international stage and now her dress has been stripped, she stands there bare ass for the entire world to gawk at her many imperfections which the dress concealed so well. America’s reputation is the entire source of her power. The country has massive debt to many nations who have yet to collect simplify based on the glory of America’s name.
However, as these powerful and disciplined diplomats, like Marie Yovanovitch, responsible for maintaining the good name of the most powerful country in the world, who even in their best efforts and genuine belief that America is good, were circumvented by Trump and his criminal enterprise. No matter the outcome of these proceedings, whether or not this criminal President pays for his crimes, the damage is done. The deal is done.
America will never be the same again. The Trump Administration as a whole has abandoned all of the true business of the Nation. The economy for the first time in a decade is headed toward decline, and many, in light of the United States’ compromised position in the world, and the shame that it bears as nearly 60,000 humans have been housed in cages in conditions unfit for animals by Lady Liberty in false claims of “protecting her borders”. Meanwhile, the President of the United States enacted a slow terrorist attack on the country that elected him.
The nation is burning. It is on fire and there will be destruction. However, that is not where the story has to end. With the imminent threat of national collapse, we have an opportunity as a nation to once again, like the many moments we’ve been given before to reckon with our truths, heal divides, and unify to build together. The idea of America at it’s core is indeed a splendid beauty. Alas, to build from the inevitable wreckage that this breach of national confidence will surely cause, it is paramount that we reckon with our truth. Black, White, Native born, Immigrant, Cis, Trans, Gay, Straight, Rich, Poor, and all of the intersections that make up all that America is, our destiny is intertwined with each other. The fate of this nation is tied to the fate of all of its people.
We must chart and reimagine a NEW nation, one that reflects the ideas that America has claimed to represent all along. Collective strength and collective power is the only way forward. We must truly become the Shining City on a Hill we have always purported ourselves to be, a country where anyone, from anywhere participate in the American experiment of Freedom and Liberty. America must reconcile her transgressions that she might truly reflect authentic beauty, dressed in a dress made from the quilted fabric that makes up her great nation, finally —One nation, Under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL.
James Baldwin, in his own words: