The aNvkai Tree season 2 premiered last night with an episode entitled “Integrity- Do you know what the hell it is?” The episode delves into the concept of integrity in communities of color and how we bring that into our politics, art, commerce. We talk about the ideas of selling out vs. buying in and what that means in the context of celebrity. We also touch lack of diversity in children’s book and what that means for the future of literature. Listen below or look up on apple podcast and spotify.
I think I’ve tried to write this piece about ten or fifteen times in the past two weeks. There are many layers and nuances to the conversation, thousands of variables and millions of lives in the balance. Each time I’ve sat down to write it’s just become a clusterfuck of thoughts and emotions. Finally this morning I just though to myself “fuck it!” . It needs to be said and whether I’m right or wrong, I want at the very least to be honest. The United States is falling apart.
Firstly this is not piece where I intent to blame all the countries woes and short comings on the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. If we are to have this conversation in earnest we can not look at the United States a-historically. That is to say, like every story America has a beginning, middle and ultimately an ending. I’d like to focus on the beginning for moment, because that is what makes America so different than the eastern part of the world and the histories therein.
So in the 1400’s Christopher Columbus and a rag tag band of European convicts and hustlers, where shipped off by the king and queen of Spain to find a new route to Indian by sea. This of course was death mission in disguise. Columbus was a known con-man all over Europe and had pretty much become a public nuisance. In my mind Ferdinand and Isabella were like fuck it! Let’s get him and these other derelicts out of our hair. At if actually finds a new route great, if he dies even better. Anyway somehow these fools end up in the eastern hemisphere and it’s the beginning of the end for everyone who isn’t white. There began a centuries long apologue of bloody genocide, slavery, war, and over consumption of recourses.
The foundations of America are important and relevant to its current state for many reasons. Chiefly that it has always been a nation that proclaimed “All men are created equal and free.” But the stark contradiction of America’s reality is, that the only men who were equal and free FOR CENTURIES!!!!!!! Where white men. And you can except to build a lasting sovereign nation of slavery and lies. Let’s be real America had two centuries of chattel slavery, followed by Jim crow laws, segregation, and the disproportionate mass incarceration of peoples of African decent. All of which took place without a national point of healing or momentary reparations. That was bad nation building strike 1. Strike 2, the United States had never prioritized women or children. In health care, education or pay for work. Strike 3, we haven’t stopped warring since WWII. American ended it’s long period of isolationism by entering into WWII and since then we’ve always been engaged in some type of conflict aboard. which lives little money and resources for infrastructure and social investment. I say all this to say, when a foundation is shitty (at best) what’s built upon it will never actually be stable.
In the present American has basically become oligarchy, corporations are people; who matter more than people who aren’t corporations. The corporate capitalist machine and it’s interest control America. The middle class has basically become walking piggy banks for bail outs when the real citizen can’t pay their bills. As we speak Michael Cohen is singing like the Harlem Boys choirs to congress about how horrible of person is sitting in the oval office. But I digress, Donald Trump is a symptom of American’s sickness not the disease. Although I have a theory that the Russians gave him the money to bribe the electoral college, win the election and destabilize the country. But that’s just a shot in the dark.
In order for America not to unravel I feel it must atone for its past sin and heal to move forward but American hasn’t even been to church.