Sunday Blog 17: May 31 2020: America’s Faultline

Everything seemed  well in Trump land. There were political arguments about impeachment, Russian interference and Chinese trade. There was also the wall on the border with Mexico. But the economy boomed, stocks soared, employment was at record levels. Foreign policy was all over the place, but mainly Americans bought into America First and were not fussed about snubs to foreign leaders they had barely heard of and cared less about. Risks were run with the trade war, but Trump was certain he was winning. Then came the pandemic. That was and remains bad enough.

But now we have the riots. Once again. The whole world is stunned to watch a video of four policeman apprehending a man alleged to have passed counterfeit dollars into the till of a nearby store in exchange for a few goods. He is on the ground. He pleads for air. He pleads for life. Before our eyes he dies, murdered by the police. The now deceased man is black. The police are white.

From the beginnings of the founding of America, first as a collection of colonies and later as an independent union of sovereign states, there has been a thread of acceptance of legitimacy for the notion of white supremacy. Indeed the original signatories of the hallowed U S Constitution included a number of slave owners. In spite of all the upheavals, protests and violence including the Civil War, this cancer remains. America led the world in the establishment of true and complete democracy, but the prospectus it offers remains one diminished by the existence of this faultline in its structure, which even after 400 years has proved impossible ever fully to repair.

One of the many tragedies of Trump is that he has made it worse.

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