The Widening Racial Chasm in America
Racism is a metastasizing social cancer that is eating deep into our very core as human beings—silently annihilating the health of the body politic in our nation. This article addresses how we see racism and how we can curb it.
The topic of racism is a dicey one in many circles here in the United States of America (USA) that many people would rather not touch because of the heat that effuses out of it. It is the proverbial elephant in the room that many people choose not to see; however, it is unavoidable and colossally present. Racism is a metastasizing social cancer that is eating deep into our very core as human beings—silently annihilating the health of the body politic in our nation. This article is an editorial-chemotherapy-piece, an opinion piece, an attempt to diagnose and proffer healing to the disease that is destroying the very nature of our union. Racism is the chasm that is speedily dividing our communities as acrimonious seeds are sown in our society’s various facets. In the current times, we have seen racism spike in America. So far, we have seen an uptick in racial infused remarks coming from the highest echelons of power in the country; race motivated marches, riots, violence, killings, shootings, heated debates on television, hate speeches, anger, bitterness, the opening of old wounds from the Civil Right Movement era, to mention but a few.
The issue of racism is eroding the earth, binding our culture as a nation. The problem of racism is weakening the foundation of the nation—America—and we need to commence the healing process to ameliorate the damage that has already been caused down the roads of our history to the avenues of our present times. As dark as it may seem, it is a conversation that we all need to have from the green grassroots of our everyday people to the highest echelons of power that lead us as a nation. We do ourselves great injustice by sweeping it under the rug and pretending that it is not there—that it does not exist. Racism is alive and well in America, and it is rearing up its ugly head daily, and we need to get rid of it before it annihilates our union as a democracy. Racism is as toxic as the two deadly sisters of Black Mold—Stachybotrys chartarum and Stachybotrys chlorohalonata. It destroys the air of our harmonious existence and sanity, making our nation sick with its deadly spores. We need to end the rancorous hate-mongering destroying our society before the chasm becomes too vast to handle or too enormous to fix—if it has not gotten to that extent already. This editorial piece is our attempt to join the discussion—just our opinion on the matter.
There is a general perception that racial discrimination has declined in the United States of America. The fact that both Blacks and Caucasians can now access employment and professional opportunities without any visibly perceived discrimination has created the opinion that the United States is no longer biased racially. It is a measure in the right direction; however, gaps need to be addressed without any hesitation. Since the days of the Civil Rights Movement, whites have extensively overcome their discriminatory attitude towards blacks, and an aspect of inclusiveness has taken some shape and form. It is an organic process, an ongoing change that needs to stay positive and progressive. Although the present state of America is much more humane when compared to the past that was associated with slavery, experts believe that the 21st Century has its own fair share of challenges, specifically with the growing societal angst concerning present-day systemic racism and the fast coming to light and the spread of chalky supremacy and proto-fascism.
“There is more that unites us than divides us.” — Mauricio Macri
History has a way of repeating itself. However, America should exercise some severe caution not to slip back to the days of the Civil Rights Movement again. Are we at the precipice of psycho-social and cultural collapse? Are we already too late to salvage the status quo? Hopefully not. We must never allow ourselves to slide back to those years of brutality against the people of color. Black Lives Matter. Asian Lives Matter. Hispanic Lives Matter. Native American Lives Matter. American Lives Matter. All lives matter—all lives are important. We may be different, but we have a lot more in common. A stitch in time will save nine. Before we allow the rip of racism to split our country apart, we need to become deliberate in fighting this deadly issue before it becomes one that cannot be remedied. In recent times, we have started experiencing a sharp resurgence of race talks in America. Why? Because in the past couple of years, we have seen acts of racism see the light of day. Because of this, the dialogue is on and is fast gathering a lot of societal momentum. After all, a problem discussed is a problem half solved. In this editorial and opinion piece, we will look at the widening racial chasm in the United States of America through six different lenses. After this, we will look at six possible ways to bridge the racial gap in the United States of America.
6 Lenses of Racial Chasm
There a widening racial chasm or divide in the United States of America. There are various lenses through which we can look at racism in America. Looking through the lenses that we will address will give us more understanding of race in America. It will help us understand how far this racial divide has gone. By seeing how systemic racism is being perpetrated, we arm ourselves with the facts that can help us discuss ways to bridge the racial gap in the United States of America. People of Color reading this should use the facts presented via these lenses to re-educate themselves. It should be a motivational éclair to stand up and dig ourselves from the depths of the odds that are not to our favor.
First, the issue of racial chasm can be envisaged through the lens of wealth creation. There is a tremendous gap between Caucasians and the People of Color, especially blacks, in wealth matters. The wealth possessed by people of color has been declining since 1989 to the present time.2 On the converse, wealthy Caucasians have increased their wealth significantly. Apparently, based on past projections, there is a suggestion that the wealth in possession by People of Color will reduce drastically by 14% by 2020. Reading the facts from the Government dossier titled “The Economic State of Black America in 2020” presented by Congressman Don Beyer, the Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, will draw tears to your eyes. Here are some facts posited under the “Wealth” section of this report. First, “the median wealth of Black families is only one-tenth of White families.” Do you know that “Black households have never held more than 5% of the nation’s total wealth, while White households held 85% in 2019, despite Blacks making up around 13% of the population?” According to the dossier, “the median household wealth will reach zero by 2053 for Black households and 2073 for Hispanic households.” Second, a college degree via statistics will not help close this gap. Third, historical disparities perpetuate the Black-White wealth gap. Fourth, wealth accumulation is hard for Blacks due to the difficulty of paying off student loan debt. Fifth, Black Americans approaching retirement have far fewer savings.1 I establish that you read the document for yourself. The facts presented are gut-wrenching.
It is projected that Caucasians will continue to become wealthier in the future. Could we say it’s because of some privileges that they enjoy? That could be a possibility, all things being equal. This could be their competitive advantage. In an ideal state, all racial classes need to have the same fighting chance to build wealth. If this must happen, there needs to be an equitable balance in shared societal privileges to create a square playing field for all racial classes to play ball. If this does not happen, then the possibility of changing this directory will never see the light of day. If an even playing field exists or is created and the people of color refuse to play ball, no one needs to be blamed for that ensuing mediocrity and non-performance. It would be best if you got it while you can—opportunities never linger around for that long. Furthermore, via presented facts, the perception is that People of Color, especially Blacks and Latinos, will suffer a reduction in their wealth due to challenging situations facing wealth generation.
Second, the issue of racial chasm can be visualized through the lens of property ownership. For People of Color that have the means to own real estate property, there exists some salient discrimination that may not be too obvious. For instance, people of color who rent or purchase real estate properties often face an assortment of barriers, such as being looked down upon when in the market to lease or acquire residential homes, facing greater difficulty in obtaining residential loans from lending facilities, etc.5 Relating to rent and purchasing real estate, I have had some experience concerning the statement above. A couple of years back, my job had taken me to Midland, Texas. The realtor lady that my then company had assigned to me first took my wife and myself to a run-down part of the city. We had told her that we wanted something reasonable, in a decent and quiet neighborhood. Her first perception of reasonable pricing immediately gravitated towards something that was run-down. Her first idea was to take us to a property that the company she was representing had for rent in Midland’s run-down area. As soon as we drove into the neighborhood, we were immediately turned off. We walked the house for a couple of minutes—it was not a good place—dirty, broken doors, filthy restroom, the whole nine. At this juncture, we asked her to show us a better property in a more decent neighborhood.
She told us that she thought we would like it to be more economical—mark the word “thought” —so she just assumed. Economic or reasonable should not immediately translate to a poverty state of reasoning—at least, that was our perception. Could we being People of Color be what made her immediately think that we could not afford to live in a more decent neighborhood? I wonder—just saying. However, we never told her that we wanted to live in a run-down part of the town, but this was her first assumption. She then took us to another part of town that had nice townhomes and all. She kept on making an emphasis on the higher rent of the three-bedroom townhome in comparison to the first place she took us. To cut a long story short, we ended up getting the home in a nice neighborhood. So, I asked myself, “Is this my experience, or is this the experience of all People of Color? Or, was this just a fluke.” However, the entrenched racial prejudice creates the impression that people of color are not expected to own prime property or live in pleasant neighborhoods. This could be why the constant assumptions and the prevalent seclusion from some sections of town for those that are not People of Color. Consequently, one comes to acknowledge the inability of People of Color to access home equities to build their retirement homes.3 A change in mindset is a solution to curb racial bias.
Facts presented in the “The Economic State of Black America in 2020,” cited above as it relates to homeownership by People of Color, are mind-boggling as well. First, “less than half of Black families own their homes (42%), compared to nearly three-quarters of White families (73%).” Second, “the homes in majority-Black neighborhoods are valued lower.” Third, “Black Americans overall pay higher mortgage interest rates.” Fourth, “Black homeownership rates are trending downward.”1 The odds are not in favor of People of Color, especially Blacks, when it comes to Homeownership.
Third, racial chasm can be reflected via the lens of the current federal taxation regimes. There is evidence suggesting that the existing tax subsidies are structured to favor Caucasian households, which gives them access to benefits that can make them easily become more affluent. It is noteworthy that many of the taxation subsidies target people with higher earning capabilities, which makes Whites benefit more. Many people of color usually have lower earning capacities (i.e., wage range) and, as a result, are not privy to benefit from the federal taxation regimes. According to the “The Economic State of Black America in 2020,” “Black households earn a fraction of what White households earn. For instance, the median annual household income for Black households in 2018 was $41,692—$21,000 to $29,000 less than white households, which had a median income of $70,642.”
To Caucasian households that benefit more from government tax subsidies, it is their privilege to avail them of such opportunities, and nothing wrong with it. However, this article’s tilt leans towards the equitable distribution of that privilege to level the playing field when it comes to earning capabilities of all races. Leveling the playing field will also entail not intentionally putting up barriers that will bar People of Color from having access to the same taxation subsidies available to Caucasians. Hence, People of Color need not wallow and grovel in the quagmire of despondency with an unprogressive mindset. People of Color must find honest and positive avenues to multiply their earning capacities. Be it getting a college education in other to become an expert in a highly sought-after profession or turning an honest, creative, and unique business idea into a lucrative resource-generating-machinery. The path which each person chooses to take is subjective. The bottom line is finding positive avenues to create wealth to start benefitting from the federal taxation regimes. Also, corporations must ensure that their wage range for all racial groups is equitable—as an avenue of leveling the playing field.
Fourth, racial chasm can be revealed via the college education gap in the United States between Caucasians and People of Color. We can say that this is a contributing factor to the widening racial chasm in the United States. Although education has been construed as the greatest equalizer in society, the United States’ perspective paints a whole different picture. Research shows that college education is often dependent or directly correlated to the excellence of the K-12 learning that a student receives.2 However, there still exist segregations within neighborhoods, whereby low-income students of color are isolated and are provided with schools that sometimes offer them little to no growth compared to their counterparts. Here is the twist, sometimes, People of Color who have a lower income capacity can afford to live in shoddier neighborhoods. These neighborhoods, in turn, may not be privy to having the best schools around. Thus, many of the kids of color have no option but to go to these schools in these neighborhoods. Hence, when students of color are not provided with facilities that can make them compete well with their Caucasian counterparts or other better-served races, they are left less prepared to enter college. Education, believe it or not, is a compelling competitive advantage for all those that acquire it. The fact remains that knowledge is power.
When it comes to education, there are some facts that we can learn about Black young adults when compared to their White counterparts. According to the “The Economic State of Black America in 2020,” in 27 years (i.e., 1990-2017), the number of Blacks and White adults finishing high school have converged to the same levels. Statistics state that Black rates went from 66% to 88%, and white rates went from 79% to 90%. The same also goes for the number of Blacks and Whites dropping out of school, also in this span of 27 years. Furthermore, despite the share of Black college graduates doubling, statistics still hold that they lag behind their White counterparts. Why? The difference in Blacks’ college completion outcomes compared to Whites hinges on two major things—first, the difference of institution types. Second, the access to resources like parental wealth for financial support during enrollment that White students have as a competitive advantage over their Black counterparts and other People of Color.1
Additionally, the cost of university education has risen by more than 60% in the last twenty years, and this has isolated many of the students of color from attaining professional training.5 In fact, many of the students of color are forced to work part-time to raise their college fees, which places them at a disadvantage with their Caucasian counterparts, who spend most of their time on campus, giving them more time to focus on their studies. Working while going to college may seem very noble; however, there is a stark difference when you can focus on one thing at a time. Yes, some might say that multitasking is a marvelous idea; however, the truth is that while you are multi-tasking, you are not giving 100% to any of the tasks that you have on your plate. The person who devotes attention to one thing at a time will become a master at it—case in point, those who stay on campus. In fact, many of the students of color seldom finish their university education since they are forced to leave studies and earn a salary to fend for their families. Hence, the great divide manifests itself in that white students are much likely to graduate in time and access employment and begin their wealth creation journey earlier in their lives.
Fifth, the United States’ racial chasm can also be attributed to socio-cultural factors and differences between Caucasians and People of Color. Essentially, Caucasians are more likely to get married to other Caucasians in the same socio-cultural strata. This factor has the potential of influencing and increasing their wealth status to some degree. Hence, if a white person gets married to a fellow white, and both are from well-off homes, there is more possibility for family support coming from both couples’ parents. This support allows the couple to solidify their life-foundation with a strong capacity to learn, earn, and accrue wealth, giving them a chance of a stabilized future—an umbrella of financial security that gives them a competitive edge over the sundry affairs of life.
On the contrary, marriage between blacks on many occasions, are characterized, comparable, and associated with low socio-economic status.2 Don’t get me wrong, some people of color who are affluent, with high wealth capacities, are also able to support and empower their progeny with great wealth like their white counterparts. Likewise, some whites are characterized by low socioeconomic status. However, the point of difference is the statistics; the number of those affected may be significantly lower than people of color who fall into that low socioeconomic status. Hence, the level of wealth acquisitions between blacks and whites can be affected by socio-cultural factors. On a considerable scale, marriage becomes an opportunity for the whites to access wealth, with statistically more people of color experience more financial challenges in the long run. These differences is another lens that we can use to perceive the widening racial gap in a nation.
Sixth, the current and increasing racial chasm in the United States can also be attributed and seen through Leadership’s lens from the highest echelons of power. The Office of the President of the United States of America holds a lot of dignity and respect. The United States is currently the world super-power and whoever sits on that seat wears the cap of the Top Leader of the Free World. This cap must be worn with grace, and where possible, with some spunk and charismatic flair. However, we must be cognizant of the saying drawn from Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Part II, 1597, that “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” To wear the President of the Free World’s crown or hat is a Herculean task, to say the very least. Don’t get me wrong, to be fair and objective, the President of the United States of America may not be 100% perfect in every sense, nor are all their policies always overly laudable. However, each President must aim to do their very best in exercising that leadership role, to put some dignity to the presidency’s seat. Whether it is a four-year term or an eight-year run, every President of the United States must seek to serve honestly, stay transparent and forthright, and unscathed by no scandal. Talk about Presidential speeches; they should all be a knowledge-infused work of word-art. For me, when I listen to an eloquent and intellectual President, Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31, 1950,” always comes to mind—a cautious but free weaving of choice words to deliver the mastery of knowledge and seasoned sapience to the hungry ears of the sagacious sage. People pay attention to the President of the United States’ words—from a broad perspective, people pay attention to the words of Presidents in general. The words of their leadership influence citizens. The Office of the President of the United States is a beacon of light that every American citizen looks up to and, therefore, must be a positive shining example to the country’s citizenry. Anything contrary to all the positives that have been highlighted above becomes a problem that needs to be addressed.
America has undergone a long evolution in embracing our ethnic differences. For instance, the Presidency of Barack Obama showed the world that America had come a long way in its societal and cultural evolution—a black man, a minority—the President of the Union—the President of the Free World. He may not have had an easy Presidency—he walked a tight-rope—often facing very offensive racial remarks, but he walked the rope, nonetheless. His Presidency showed the world what America can be and could eventually become. It showed the world that diversity and inclusion is a powerful tool that can unite a nation and usher it into the avenue of golden possibilities—it is a potent force that can bring about change at an extraordinary scale that could amaze the world. If we can accept a black man as President, then the country can potentially embrace other minorities (e.g., a woman, a Hispanic, an American of Asiatic origin, etc.) and afford them a chance of rising to the most prominent seat in the land. That is the power of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. This was a progressive stance that showed the world that all things are possible for bridging the racial chasm in the nation. It was symbolic of progress. In no way should America retrogress from this stance. This Editorial column and opinion piece is a clarion call for America to move forward in the inclusivity and diversity march. The United States of America is a nation of immigrants, a conglomeration of peoples from diverse ethnicities and races, representing inclusion.
America is the most diverse nation on the planet. It is the job of the sitting President to ensure that unity is maintained. Make no mistake; this is by no means an easy job—it is not a job for the faint-hearted, to say the very least—so kudos to the man or woman who wears that hat of responsibility. However, it’s sad to say that in the current times that America is witnessing an increasing state of racial prejudice, social instability, and the widening gap concerning race-related issues. It’s a retrogressive stance that we must endeavor to stop at all costs. To curb this rising trend, the highest echelons of power—the Presidency, the Senate, the House of Congress, the Judiciary, and all influential powers that be, etc.—must rise to the occasion and quell this fire. They must quell this inferno before it razes down the efforts of our forefathers who led, fought, bled, and brought the nation together—as one republic, under God, indivisible, a realm of liberty and justice for all. The Office of the President of the United States must never be divisive. It must never be a bully pulpit to divide our union. The President of the United States must never be racially biased. The President of the United States must never be one that embraces bigotry or one that turns a blind eye to those who are wreaking havoc under the flags of racism. The tenure of any President who sits in the Oval should never be stipulated by favoritism or an opportunity to entrench their racial dominance or lean towards a particular group. Any political administration occupancy should never be a time when any ethnic group should ever feel oppressed, inferior, or unheard. In recent times, however, people of color, especially blacks, have been facing a backlash, a notion of which insinuations are made that they hold an inferior position in American society’s body politic. The highest tiers of power’s role are to create a halcyon national ambiance that embraces tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. Anything short of this is absolute poppycock, void of any good reputation, respect, or admiration.
The progeny of the backlash that the People of Color have been facing is the enhanced galvanization of the social activist movement sweeping across the country—Black Lives Matter. The campaign has been sensitizing the public about the deliberate killings of African Americans under the guise of crime. The movement is an ember that adds heat to the boiling pot of racial tensions in the nation. Is the act helping to change notions, or is it adding fuel to the already raging flame of racial tensions in the country? Time and chance will tell. However, evidence suggests that the movement has enhanced racial prejudice against blacks. For instance, the question of ‘colorblindness’ that has ordinarily been propagated by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has only entrenched racial prejudice further.2 Can we salvage the current situation? I wonder a lot of water has gone under the bridge in recent times. It is intrinsically impossible to say we need to be oblivious of our differences—it is what makes us novel and beautiful in our own right. In an ideal state of the word ‘humanity,’ we radiate differences that make us who we are—color, gender, religion, etc. These are protected statuses that we need to love and respect each other. It should not be the pedestal for hatemongering, to say the very least. However, the galvanization of this movement and more (e.g., the Colin Kaepernick Taking A Knee Movement, MeToo Movement, The Anti-Islamophobia Movement, White Nationalist Movements, etc.) is a negative sign to a united and unbiased body politic that embraces diversity, tolerance, and inclusion; vastly increasing the girth of the racial chasm in the United States.
We should always respect the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. However, the Office of the United States’ Presidency should never be a persecutor pulpit for incendiary, hateful, mocking, and unprocessed remarks that are racially infused. At no time should racially-charged words come out of the highest office of the land—the Oval should be a platform that portrays tolerance and unity so that the citizenry can follow suit. The reason is that people look up to the power of the Office of the Presidency. The Commander-In-Chief should never be a Divider-In-Chief. He or she should always be striving hard to unite the nation at all costs. The Office of the Presidency of the United States should be preaching diversity, equality, justice, respect, liberty, and tolerance! If the Office becomes divisive, then the nation will become divided. It happened already—remember Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017—the Nationalist March, where a car plowed into a group described as “anti-racist” demonstrators, killing one person and injuring 19 others, authorities and witnesses said. Supremacist rallies are now becoming the norm around the country. Black Lives Matter rallies are now springing up everywhere. There is also an uptick in MeToo rallies. A nation of equity and concern for the rights of all should be devoid of all these rallies revolving around negative biases.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The People of Color, especially Blacks, have been dealt a fatal racial blow of recent and in the recent past. The careless killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, etc. have become a clarion call for a new Civil Rights Movement. Is it a crime to be Black? Any thinking sage would ask. “All Lives Matter,” whether Black, White, Latino, Latinx, Asian—everyone matters. That should always be the message coming from the Oval. The Free World leader must be the propagator of the word(s) of peace that unites the nation. Enough water has gone under the bridge in the United States of America. We are not the Divided States of America—we are the United States of America. The more we embrace racial division as a nation, the weaker we become as a body politic. United we stand, divided we fall. If we don’t get our act together as a nation, it will only be a matter of time before we fall as a nation. Another nation could also take advantage of our position of weakness to circumvent our position to become the world’s greatest superpower.
The hornet’s nest of hatred seems to have been stirred up, and we, as a nation, must begin to heal before it really spins out of hand. All lives matter—Whites are not more important than Blacks. The black man is not more important than the Latino or Latinx. The Latino or Latinx is not more important than the Asian—or any other ethnic comparison you can conjure. We are the human element, and we need to embrace ourselves, our differences as such. We all breathe the same air, see and share the same sun, and walk on the same earth. America is a conglomeration of differences that should make us unique. In a sane state, the ideal would be to celebrate our differences. Our differences should not be what divides us; it should be what unites us. The quicker we come to this realization, the better for us all as a nation. We need to start a dialogue and work towards cultivating a solution to this public variation that is eating into our body politic fabric. We need to heal and see our divide. We need to stop all bigotry. We need to embrace ourselves as humans. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
6 Ways to Bridging the Racial Chasm
So far, to this point, we have seen various lenses through which we can look at the widening racial gap in the United States of America. It has been a convivium of sundry thoughts and ideas that give us some insight into noticing racism in America. First, we surveyed the racial divide in America via the lens of wealth creation. Second, we saw the racial divide through the lens of inequities of property ownership. Third, the current federal tax regimes. Fourth, the college education gap. Fifth, socio-cultural factors. Sixth, through the lens of leadership. These six points are the symptoms that give us some insight into the causes of the widening racial gap in America. These points are in no way exhaustive—other sagacious minds reading through this piece can come up with more lenses via facts and reason on other factors that may contribute to the racial divide in the United States of America. We will look at various ways to deploy to help us bridge the gap of the racial divide. Without further ado, let us delve into the exploration of ways and means of bridging this gap.
First, increasing the income levels of the People of Color can help to reduce the racial chasm. If income levels can be improved, it will become possible for the People of Color to build their wealth in the same capacity as their White counterparts. Tools that can be implemented at the local, state and national levels to enhance racial equality include equal pay between workers and improving retirement plans.4 In an ideal state, an equitable balance in remuneration will also ensure an even playing field for all despite their racial background or ethnic makeup.
Second, there is a need to ensure high-quality, affordable, and funded education for People of Color. In this regard, mandatory college and graduate education can be enhanced by assisting students from low-income families to finish their studies and graduate with their degrees. The government could step in by ensuring that educational policies are promulgated that provide scholarships to low income earning People of Color that encourage them to finish their programs; hence, improving their graduation rates with less distraction. Some of these policies must also be geared towards ensuring that debts do not imprison students of color upon finishing their university education. Further, post-graduation grants can be given to them and sundry opportunities for debt-forgiveness. Many such students fail to acquire wealth because they spend much of their resources, paying financial aid debts instead of beginning their wealth creation and accumulation journey upon graduation.
Third, statistics show that many Caucasian students often inherit property from their parents, which places them in an advantageous position. However, if the racial chasm can be overcome, then the above advantage would become an advantage that all could share in. Once again, you could relate this to the effect of earning power. If People of Color earn more, they will find themselves also able to build legacy wealth. This will give the chance to leave a befitting inheritance to their progeny. Considering the existing situation, white children access unearned wealth, which gives them a competitive advantage over the People of Color, who seldom have anything to inherit from their parents. There is a need for policy measures to ensure a more equitable society for earning power that does not depend on an economically unattainable trajectory. In similar situations, wealthy Caucasians often pass their dominance to their children.4 If such policies are enacted, it will become a much more even playing ground for all races across the board.
Fourth, a change of attitude and mindset will help fix the current variations and widen the racial chasm. History has shown that People of Color are as much qualified as their Caucasian counterparts. However, economic bias has made the former remain inferior—a change of attitude will help remove this bias of looking down at people of color despite their advanced education and professional qualifications. The equitable distribution of opportunities and privileges, well emphasized in the constitution of organizations and the nation as a whole, would create a form of balance.3 The society needs to start making a concerted effort towards changing its mindset that always looks down on People of Color, especially in the workforce.
Fifth, a fair and just legal system can help reduce the widening racial gap in the United States. The country can bridge the widening racial chasm by ensuring that the legal system is well structured to prosecute individuals and entities that propagate social inequality, bigotry, violence against People of Color, etc., which all contribute to the ever-widening racial chasm. The law should be resolute in addressing racial profiling issues by the law’s arm—the police. There has been a rising case of police brutality, with many police folks killing People of Color and walking scot-free without being prosecuted. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in a piece titled, “Breonna Taylor: Timeline of black deaths caused by police,” state cases where the people or police that shot several of these folks—walked away without prosecution. For instance, the officer that shot Eric Garner was fired but never prosecuted. The same thing happened to the killer of Trayvon Martin. The officers that killed Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, etc., all walked away scot-free.
From the above cases, one can almost say that there is a stint of bias against People of Color from the law’s side. This article does not justify any wrong-doing—if any—of those who lost their lives. However, is having someone under custody not good enough? Must People of Color always have to take a bullet to become a number in the statistics of those who have lost their lives in police brutality cases? Sometimes, from the lens of the law, People of Color will ask the question, “Is it a crime to be a Person of Color in America? Why do People of Color lose their lives, and nothing happens to the assailants?” Has this become the new reality for People of Color in America? Once again, to bridge the racial divide gap in America, the legal system must become more just and fair to addressing the issues of People of Color being killed indiscriminately without the repercussion of the assailants of the crime. People of Color in the United States of America are human beings too that have rights. All lives matter.
“Is it a crime to be a Person of Color in America? Why do People of Color lose their lives, and nothing happens to the assailants?” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze
Another suggestion where the courts could play a role is to enact anti-discriminatory laws that will prosecute those who deny children of color an opportunity to study in K1-12 learning institutions dominated by Caucasians. Such should not be going on, especially in this day and time. The goal is an equal playing field at all levels of society.
Sixth, people of color need to help themselves. People of Color should not always point accusing fingers at their Caucasian counterparts. People of Color must also ensure that they are helping themselves in society. People of color must satisfy themselves by striving diligently, never to accept the status quo of mediocrity and inferiority. People of Color must exhaust all angles of becoming better—go to school, acquire an education in a lucrative professional track, become an honest entrepreneur, stay out of trouble, stay clear of violent and irrational behaviors, be responsible members of society, etc. Despite the hate that comes because of skin color—the lesson is for People of Color not to adopt a tit-for-tat approach to the treatment. Remember—all lives matter. However, no matter how much People of Color get beat down, never accept to stay down. Always rise—see who you can be, believe that you can be what you see, and you will become what you see and believe.
People of Color—help yourselves, support yourselves, empower yourselves. People of Color who have made it to the high echelons of political, religious, economic, entertainment, and sports power should help their brothers and sisters to arise. They should become mentors for their kinfolk and beyond. Together, they should rise and shine and become more outstanding. Help those you see in your kinfolk with the promise to rise. Help all humanity to arise. Stand together in respectful solidarity and be full of love, charm, and grace. Do not hate, despite the hate that you receive. Win them over with love. People of Color should assist themselves in becoming the best they can ever become. For instance, Lebron James should go into the Chronicles of Blackdom for starting the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. More People of Color with the resources should tow his path and support one another to become more. If you see your brothers and sisters who are budding and aspiring—support them—help them stand—help them achieve their most significant possible potential(s). Such self-love will become a seed that triggers more love that begins to spread and expand.
People, this article is not here to take sides. This article is here to unite us despite our differences. Let us stop the hate binge—white to black or vice versa. This long-form article is equally against People of Color speaking down on White people. Yes, there may be much resentment from some segments of the White folk against People of Color. However, it does not justify the People of Color meting out the same hatred for all the White populace. There are a lot of good White folks who genuinely embrace People of Color. However, we should not lump them into the same category as those prejudiced against the People of Color. For instance, a Caucasian friend of mine, while living in one of the Southern states, said he was walking somewhere, and a black kid went up to him and called him a very incendiary name that some People of Color refer the white folks by in jest. He looked at the kid with pity. However, as we discussed this issue, we said that there is a lot of resentment in the air between the different racial sides—whites vs. the people of color. We need to start the mending, the healing, the coming together as one nation with inalienable rights in the bonds of unity under God.
The racial gap continues to increase in the United States of America despite how much the Civil Rights Movement era’s atrocities have tapered down from then till now. We have looked at the widening racial gap in America through different lenses. We viewed racial chasm through the lens of wealth creation. First, there is still a vast gap between People of Color and their Caucasian counterparts who have greater access to wealth in affluence matters. Second, we looked at it through the real estate ownership and renting lens. People of Color face greater discrimination when it comes to renting or owning real estate. Third, we saw that it is reflected via the current federal taxation regimes. Our Caucasian brothers and sisters tend to benefit more than the People of Color via the federal tax subsidies. Fourth, through the education gap lens, we saw that many People of Color attend K1-12 schools in cheaper schools that are not in prime neighborhoods than those of their white counterparts. Fifth, we saw that racial chasm could also be attributed to socio-cultural factors between Caucasians and People of Color. They have greater parent support when it comes to assistance and the living of an inheritance. Finally, sixth, the widening of the racial chasm in the United States comes from the highest echelons of power. The Presidency, the Senate, the Congress, the Judiciary, and more need to be at the forefront of spearheading tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. In no way should divisiveness be springing from any arm of national leadership. The Office of the Presidency of the United States of America is not a bully pulpit but a pedestal for bringing the country together under the umbrella of unity. United we stand, divided we fall.
To curb racism, first, we saw that we could do increase the earning potentials of People of Color to give them a more even playing ground when compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Second, there is a need to ensure the existence of high quality and affordable funded education for all to benefit from it. Third, revolves around the government, establishing a more equitable society to allow all races an even playing ground and a fighting chance to succeed. Fourth is the need for a widespread attitude change against racism. Those at the highest echelons of power need to become people that unite instead of divide. Fifth, a just and fair legal system that does not profile the People of Color. Violence against People of Color must be brought to light before a fair justice system free of any form of bias. Sixth, People of color that have made it and moved on up should help their kinfolk still at the bottom of the pyramid of life. Support your fellow kin, help one another rise from the ashes of oppression like the Phoenix. We can curb racism. We need to decide as a body politic to renounce the expanding elements of bigotry. We are humans. America, consider the saying by Aesop that “United we stand, divided we fall.”
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are all different—that is what makes us unique as human beings. At Oaekpost, we believe that, as human beings, we are wearing earth suits in the form of our skins. You are of a lighter shade of brown; hence, you are referred to as “White” or “Caucasian”—that is amazing. We celebrate you because you are beautiful—you are human. You are of a darker shade of brown; hence, you are racially classed as “Black” or just a Person of Color. We celebrate you because you are beautiful—you are also human. We celebrate Latinos! We celebrate Latinx! We celebrate the Asians! We celebrate all humans for the differences that we share. We are all human! Think about this, it might be a dark instance, but it is one that is true. One certain thing is that when we all go six feet under, the grubs don’t say, “Wow, today we are about to have white gourmet flesh, so it’s going to taste amazing.” Nor are the maggots going to say, “Umm, guys, I don’t think we should eat this one—this one is a Person of Color.” Or that this one is Latino, Latinx, or Asian—there is no distinction there. Six feet under, it does not matter; you are maggot caviar. Only bones will be left after they are done.
As Mauricio Macri once said, “There is more that unites us than divides us.” We really need to stand united as our name signifies. We are the United States of America (USA)—we are not the Divided States of America (DSA). Those that are spreading hate—whether Whites or People of Color—what do you really gain? Nothing will come out of spreading hate but more division, more rancor, more violence, etc. There is no superior race; we are the human race. We need to spread love and not hate. The official motto of the United States of America is “In God We Trust.” Right? So, if we really trust God as a body politic, then we need to heed what the Good Book says that “We need to love God first with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.” The second golden rule of life is that we must learn to adhere to one nation under God is that “You must love others as much as yourself.” No other commandments are more distinguished than these.6 All men should be our neighbors—despite the natural differences that distinguish us as human beings. So, if we are one nation under God, then we need to live by these principles. Or, has America turned away from God that these tenets no longer apply? It is left for the conscience of all who read this editorial and opinion piece to scrutinize where they stand. Racism is the progeny of ignorance. Enough of hate-mongering. Enough of the acrimony. Enough of divisive race-baiting. Let us join hands and rebuild the foundations of love upon which America stands. Let the healing begin in earnest. This is America—In God We Trust.
- Beyer, D. (2020). The economic state of black America in 2020. Retrieved from https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/ccf4dbe2-810a-44f8-b3e7-14f7e5143ba6/economic-state-of-black-america-2020.pdf
- Bouie, J. (2017, Sept 17). The wealth gap between whites and blacks is widening. Retrieved from slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/09/the_wealth_gap_between_whites_and_blacks_is_widening.html
- Miller, M. (2017, October 12). How to close the race-based chasm in U.S. retirement wealth. Retrieved from Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-miller-retirement/how-to-close-the-race-based-chasm-in-us-retirement-wealth-idUSKBN1CH1B5
- Shapiro, H., Meschede, A., & Osoro, S. (2013). The roots of the widening racial wealth gap: Explaining the black-white economic divide. Retrieved from Brandeis: https://iasp.brandeis.edu/pdfs/Author/shapiro-Thomas-m/racialwealthgapbrief.pdf
- Thompson, B. (2018, February 18). The Racial Wealth Gap: Addressing America’s Most Pressing Epidemic. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianthompson1/2018/02/18/the-racial-wealth-gap-addressing-americas-most-pressing-epidemic/#800fd437a48a
- Mark 12:30-31 – The Living Bible (TLB).
5 Reasons Why Young Africans Don’t Run for Presidency
Africa is a young continent ruled by old leaders. How? Almost 60% of Africa’s population in 2019 is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. Ever wonder why many African countries barely have young people as Presidential leaders? Please read all about it here.
Africa is one of the youngest continents on the planet, and yet it’s ruled by the oldest men who keep saying the youths are the leaders of tomorrow but never make room for these youths to take the reins of leadership. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, “Almost 60% of Africa’s population in 2019 is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent.” According to Statista, in the year 2020, the median age in Africa was 19.7 years. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation citing the UN’s demographic study also states that “By 2100, Africa’s youth population could be equivalent to twice Europe’s entire population.” Now you see why I factually say that Africa is the youngest continent in the world!
“The youths are the leaders of tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes in the youths to lead in Africa.” — Unknown.
So, if Africa is the youngest continent globally, we should already start seeing that young generation climb the ladders of the highest echelons of power across the continent. Decades after decades, young people have protested, directly and indirectly, to have a chance to lead and take up high positions in government. Still, all seem futile—the “old guard” stifle their efforts, decade after decade. What is happening in Africa is a clear indication of the quote by John Dalberg-Acton, the English Catholic historian, politician, and writer, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The older generation across Africa is holding tight to the reins of power and not letting go. So why are they so resilient about not giving up the throne to the predominant younger generation?
5 Reasons Why Young Africans Don’t Run for Presidency
Young people keep having dreams and aspirations to climb up the ladder to lead a country. The time is now for them to start taking the various echelons of power in the different nations that make up the continent. The time is ripe for the change of guard, where we see Africa’s young people contesting for the Presidency. However, this dream keeps meeting a roadblock from one generation to another, and why is that? Let me share some insights you may agree on at the end of the day.
#1. Going Up Against the Old and Experienced Politicians is Tough
No matter how tough you think you are, going up against many old leaders is tougher. It’s challenging to play their political chess games, froth with tacit knowledge maneuverings that will make less experienced minds quiver. Also, their greed to keep being on the high throne is a massive one that makes it difficult for young people to rise to such statuses. African history has many old rulers in their late 50’s and 70’s who wouldn’t want to retire. According to CNN, “The average age of the ten oldest African leaders is 78.5, compared to 52 for the world’s ten most-developed economies. Arguably, compared to other continents, Africa has a tiny proportion of younger leaders between 35 and 55.” That is unsettling.
“The old leaders have all it takes to remain leaders until they die—money and power—making it impossible for young people to get a window of opportunity.”
The generational gap of the current African leaders is graying when you compare them with those, they are leading. There is a vast generational gap that shows a disconnect between the leadership and the led. Over the years, these older leaders have gathered much political experience and are unwilling to toss the ball of expertise to a younger generation. They would go as far as running for a second term, and if there were a third, fourth and tenth term, they wouldn’t mind. Many of these clenches their unrelenting fists to the thrones of power. They don’t mind becoming fossils on these seats of power. The old leaders have all it takes to remain leaders until they die—money and power—making it impossible for young people to get a window of opportunity.
#2. Their Names are Not Recognized or Established
If you’re not from one of the wealthiest, well-known, or elite class families in an African country, then your opportunity to rise to such a level of power and leadership is toast. Wealth and class play a significant role in gaining access to the ruling class. If you have not written your name in the sands of riches and rulership, it makes it very difficult to run for the Office of the Presidency. An established name means you can get the connections needed to run for political campaigns from appointments and then work your way up the leadership ladder. The first factor, competing against the old and experienced politicians, can still be a huge hindrance, but having solid connections can get a young person’s foot by the door. Albeit, quite unsettling that is the African way. Sad to say the least.
#3. The Political Parties aren’t Favorable to Young People
Africa has countries with a lot of broad political parties that do not favor the youths. These parties can be so nefarious because the political system itself is widespread entanglement of corruption. Many young people have tried to come up with youth political parties to have their voices heard and have a candidate change the rules of the game and become the next president who will make a difference. Sadly, these parties have been either clamped down or not given the necessary supports needed to thrive. The activities of ineffective and corrupt political parties kill the vibes, and the motivation young people need to become leaders. If the old political leaders still want to remain seated in leadership, the youths won’t always get the encouragement to take over the reins of power in the present or the near future. The old leaders are supposed to encourage, teach, and make way for young people to lead effectively.
#4. Expensive Campaigns
Young people can’t afford to put in a lot of money into running presidential campaigns. Funding is always a significant challenge for the youths who genuinely want to lead. Politics is usually a costly venture, especially in Africa, and young people do not have the adequate resources to carry out all that’s needed to get the votes and support they need. Most young people are bootstrapping, and all the savings they’ve got from long hours of working can’t pull off a successful campaign. The earnings most times would not even cover payment for interviews, digital campaigns, rural sensitizations, heavy logistics, and a lot more.
“Money answers to a lot of things.” — Unknown.
Self-funding a campaign could be a Herculean task but could be very expensive. If that young man or woman has a lot of liquid cash from personal business ventures or inheritance, he could have a chance to compete at high levels. Some resort to crowdfunding as a strategy. Crowdfunding alone can’t cover most campaign expenses, and young people fear bad debts. Competing with the old politicians who have all the resources (e.g., financial, security, human capital, etc.) at the palm of their hands is a significant discouragement. That is why some young people would rather stick to a lower political position they can afford and not aspire to the Presidency.
#5. Lack of Mental Support
The stress of pursuing a political office comes with a lot of mental crackups. It is a high-stress activity. Most politicians take medications to remain active throughout a political campaign. Having to compete with the old players can be trying to one’s clear mindedness. Many things can affect one’s mental health. For instance, first, when you have many brainstorming sessions to develop winning strategies, especially when you need to buy over millions of citizens in the country. Second, putting in all your resources only to realize that they put one over on you could be psychologically devastating. Third, or the young election participant becomes a victim of election jockeying. As a result of such tinkering of votes, they lose. Such negative and non-transparent actions could be very de-motivating to youths who aspire to venture into politics. When the system doesn’t support the youths, it creates room for discouragement and angry youths who can weep but can’t change the status quo.
We all wonder why the youths have never been close to being presidents in African countries. As it stands at the time of this writing, Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed, who at 45 years old, is the youngest president in Africa. Next to him is Madagascar’s Andry Rajoelina, who is 47 years old. The King of Swaziland, Mswati III, comes in at 53 years of age. It’s been a game of chess, and the old always win time and time again. We’ve seen this play out, and the system has created angry youths that want to change the game.
So far, we’ve seen that young people in African countries face an uphill challenge in contesting for the Presidency in their various nations. The reasons are that it is very tough going up against the “old guard” and experienced politicians. Second, most young people do not have popular names or come from a rich heritage to get them closer to being the president of their independent nations. Third, political parties often enact rules and regulations that are not in favor of the younger contestants. Fourth, campaigns are pretty expensive for the young. Finally, fifth, there’s no form of mental support, especially in the face of extenuating circumstances.
We hope that someday the youths’ voices will eventually be heard. We must remain optimistic about this very fact. The late Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” What may seem impossible today may become the possibility of tomorrow. Hopefully, when this happens, the leaders will take intelligent actions that will allow the youths to become the leaders of tomorrow.
“Young African Leaders Initiative is a long-term investment in all of you and in Africa and the future that we can build together.” — President Barack Obama, The 44th President of the United States.
Let this piece become the inception of a conversation. What do you think African youths should do to start gaining a foothold in the political sphere of Africa? What can Africans do to instruct their graying leadership on the benefits of allowing the younger generation to run for the Presidency in their nations? Let us hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance at Life!
Fetuses have Rights, too; let us give them the chance to live. Let us provide them with a chance at life. They are potential. Let us allow them to become.
Reading through the article by Antonia Mortensen and Reuters on CNN establishes that Poland’s new restrictions on abortion have delivered a significant blow to pro-choice advocates in the nation. The ruling by the country’s constitutional court confirmed that “the permissions for abortions may only happen in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.”
“The “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” begins with “life,” and “life” begins at conception.” ― A.E. Samaan.
The Law and Justice party or PiS (Polish: Prawppo i Sprawiedliwość) lawmaker Marek Suski suggests “the exclusion of most extreme fetal deformities should be from the ruling.” He indicates that abortions should be allowed for such cases. The announcement triggered off weeks of mass protests by pro-choice activists. Many protesters in Poland are daubing this ruling as idiotic, as pro-choice advocates protest lividly.
When you bring up abortion, it spawns a significant amount of tension in the United States. It is a very controversial topic in many circles—one which many people will choose to avoid. This article inclines to delve into this discussion, despite being difficult and complicated, to establish the right of those who do not have the right to speak or defend themselves from a judgment placed on them before they can decide what happens to them.
In a televised presidential campaign debate in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 21, 1980, the late President Ronald Reagan stipulated that “I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.” Those that seek abortion had the chance of life at their conception and eventual birth. The opportunity to live is a golden privilege. Those that advocate abortion and those that don’t all have an argument that backs their decisions. The article you are reading is an argument for life.
Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life
Pro-Lifers are opposed to abortion. Pro-Choicers favor the legalization of abortion. For a more robust definition, according to Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice or Pro-Reproductive Rights advocates “believe that everyone has the basic human right to decide when and whether to have children. When you say you’re pro-choice, you’re telling people that you believe it’s OK for them to have the ability to choose abortion as an option for an unplanned pregnancy—even if you wouldn’t choose abortion for yourself.”
“I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.” — George W. Bush.
Furthermore, according to Planned Parenthood, those that are Pro-Life or Anti-Abortionists oppose abortion. Planned Parenthood establishes that the concern of those who are Pro-Life “is the life of the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus. They are much less concerned about the life of women who have unintended pregnancies or the welfare of children after they’re born.” These are two broad descriptions by the Planned Parenthood Organization.
Kristie Piper provides a robust definition of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice in her October 20, 2020 article titled “Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: What Does It Mean?” Her definitions are verbatim as follows:
- Pro-life (adj): The belief that all human life is created equal regardless of size, level of development, education, and degree of dependency. Therefore, taking the life of a preborn baby is a violation of the fundamental right to life.
- Pro-choice (adj): The belief that every woman should be endowed with the right to her own life and body. Therefore, denying a woman an abortion is denying her the right to bodily autonomy.
When it comes to Pro-Choice or Pro-Life, Planned Parenthood had some conclusive remarks. The remarks are that “A pregnant person should make decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or continue a pregnancy with the counsel of their family, their faith, and their health care provider. Politicians should not be involved in anyone’s personal medical decisions about their reproductive health or pregnancy.”
Some of their conclusions hold some validity, and others don’t, in my opinion. My reservation hangs on the voice of the unheard, the “terminated fetus or life,” that never got a say in the matter. However, it is essential to consider womanhood’s dignity in pregnancy and how it connects to fetuses’ rights to live.
The Dignity of Womanhood and Pregnancy
Fetuses have rights, too—let’s give them a fighting chance to live. That I hold this position does not make me insensitive to women’s roles and their pregnancy. There is a dignity of womanhood, especially during pregnancy. The work of carrying a pregnancy to term is not easy, and I give kudos to every woman who chooses to bear a child. I have seen the toll pregnancy can take on the woman physically and psychologically. It is an arduous journey of pain. However, when that birth is successful, the tears of the month’s past are wiped away as the new life takes its first whiff of air and lets out a cry as she welcomes the baby into this world.
“Yet, this can never really be true that an abortion is a right. Our rights come from God, and amongst them is the inherent right to life—not the right to destroy it.” —Sam Brownback.
Pregnancy is the portal of life and must never trifle with at any cost. Pregnancy should be a choice of a woman and a man who have mutual consent to consummate their union within the legal bounds of a mutualistic relationship and understanding. If their union’s consummation results in a child’s birth, the fact remains that it was a mutual agreement. The duo should be responsible for their due diligence in ensuring that that child receives the nurture and care required for its growth and survival in the world they have come into, and not of their own making. Hence, bringing a child into a relationship equation must be a duo’s mutual choice and responsibility.
Two people who do not have the mutual choice and responsibility of bearing the burdens of bringing a child into this world and raising the child should abstain from the unprotected consummation of a union. It is reckless to do so in such an uncommitted context. It is better to relate and refrain from situations that will lead to consummation. If two people are not ready to take care of a child, why punish themselves and the child by consummation that could lead to the woman getting pregnant? People who indulge in behaviors that lead to the woman/lady/girl getting pregnant should stop and rethink. Why plunge yourself in decision-ditch and demand an abortion for being careless and reckless? Such behavior is wrong in every way. Seeking an abortion because of carelessness and youthful exuberance is unjustifiable.
Another situation the is unjustifiable is getting a woman pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Putting a woman in the family way via rape or incest is a crime against womanhood and humanity and must be taken as such. Those that put women through such physical and psychological stress of seeking an abortion as an exit should receive the highest penalty of the law for committing such heinous crime and inhumanity to womanhood. Maybe, imposing the most increased penalties will deter such crimes against womanhood. Such criminals cannot put women through such confusion, hurt, and horrors and go scot-free. The sentences must be severe enough to encourage a careful rethink by these criminals and deter such crimes. Now, this is the point where the reader will say, “Abortion is justified in the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest!” Not so and not so fast. Hear me out first.
We need to protect the dignity of womanhood. I see the woman as a vase of life and the grace of it. Her worth trumps the value of even the most expensive vase in the world—think the Chinese Qianlong vase, “the most expensive porcelain item ever sold in an auction, when it sold for an astounding $53 million.” Its worth is a drop in the bucket when compared to the worth of a woman. She is a priceless vase—worth treating with dignity and honor. Hence, we must say no to all attempts to desecrate the woman vase. We must never take the worth of a woman lightly. In the advent, a woman faces an unfortunate fate of rape or incest that gets her pregnant, then what must she do?
“Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that respecting women is one of the most important things to uphold in life.” — Anonymous.
Let us address womanhood with dignity, especially in the context of pregnancy. Pregnancy is the portal of life. We should never trifle with it at any cost. Consummation that leads to pregnancy that ushers a new life into the world must be under the umbrella of mutualistic consent, preferably under the banners of a legalized nuptial union. All those that defile womanhood’s dignity through the crimes of sexual harassment, rape, and incest must bear the highest weight of the law to punish the act and deterrence to future heinous acts. So, back to the question posited in the preceding paragraphs, “Is abortion acceptable in the cases of rape or incest? Or in other circumstances of pregnancy?” To do so, let us understand what life is.
What Is Life?
What is life? In the most basic definition, life is “the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms. Life is manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.” In the context of this definition, a keyword that defines life is the word “growth.” It is not stillborn or stagnant. Life grows from stage to stage. We are conceived, given birth to, grow, achieve, live, and then die. The characteristic traits of growth in organic life are metabolism, reproduction or procreation, and the ability to adapt to the environment. Development starts at conception. If we make it past the stages of prenatal development, we grow and come into the world after thirty-eight or so weeks. We grow, we achieve, we die—that is what life is—from the womb’s cradle to the grave of dust.
“Human life is like grass; we grow like a flower in the field. After the wind blows, the flower is gone, and there is no sign of where it was.” — Rex David Jesse.
In the context of humans, life starts at conception. Life begins at the union of the woman’s egg and the man’s spermatozoon at the consummation point. The human fetus is a life, and we must treat it as such. From the moment of the “union” of life’s organic factors (i.e., the egg and the spermatozoon), life begins. Growth begins. No need to delve into all the “Stages of Prenatal Development,” Kendra Cherry does an excellent job of that on the verywellmind.com website. However, the core of her work, which Carly Snyder, MD, medically reviewed, is that growth starts immediately. Life begins at conception, and there is no debate about it medically.
We hope that bringing “life” into the world via the pregnancy portals happens under the auspices of mutual consent. We embrace optimism that it should be so. However, life throws curve balls at times, and sadly it does not always play out that way. I will crease to belabor the point on the depravity of sexual harassment, rape, and incest. I will not cease to decry these crimes. Society must insist that need to leverage the law’s total weight on the fulcrum of justice and reason to punish such acts severely to deter this indignity to womanhood. However, if life’s conception happens due to such crimes, should we right a wrong by doing another wrong? The rhetorical sage would concur that we should not pay forward a wrong with a wrong.
In the words of Stephen Wagner, the Executive Director of Justice for All, in the write-up, “Is Abortion Acceptable in Cases of Rape,” establishes that “an unborn child is a living, whole organism of the human species. Even from a purely logical viewpoint, anyone who is currently a human organism was such since the moment of fertilization. The unborn aren’t potential humans. Rather, they are humans with great potential.” The depth of reason in this statement is profound. It gives life to this portion of this Op-Ed’s position on what life is to humankind’s facts.
Some legal minds may say that if you go by constitutional adjudication, a fetus has no rights. However, if you go by moral and religious perspectives, then that argument can be complex. Legal minds can also argue that all organic hosts that live off humans have the right to life. Extending this view legalistically, when a host’s entire existence depends on what it gets from its host, it is in context an affiliate of that host. It then becomes the host’s decision to classify it and decide on what it should do. Legal minds could continue to argue that the same way organic and cancerous tumors exist in the human body is how a fetus feeds off a mother. So, insofar as its existence is dependent on the mother, she makes the final call. However, the law’s essence is not about imposing orders or conditions; it weighs options and allows that balance between equity and the law. Moral judgment becomes the obligation of the individual as well as the choice.
“The fetus has a right to become the life that it is. The fetus is human life.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
In refuting the above legal argument from a life’s perspective, we can establish a difference between an organic body and a human fetus. The difference is that an organic and cancerous tumor is living—but it is not a human fetus. The cancerous tumor or organic form is in the host to feed off the host parasitically to terminate the host in its growth process. Cancer grows with no gestation period in view because it is not human life. It keeps growing to destroy the host in time. The purpose of a cancerous tumor is death. Its potential is death. However, the human fetus is alive and at the end of the gestation period is a fully developed human being. The purpose of the fetus is life. Its potential is life. I would not concur with the comparison of a fetus with an organic life form or tumor. It is not comparing apples to apples. The fetus expects to be out of the host to become potential when the gestational period reaches full term. The fetus has a right to become the life that it is. The fetus is human life.
Fetuses Have Rights Too
Life is life. The fetus is life, and we cannot say it’s not, irrespective of how the life conception happens. This statement does not justify indignity to womanhood, as mentioned above in the preceding paragraphs. It decries all wrongs to womanhood. I can’t say it enough that such heinous crimes should meet the law’s total weight as a severe corrective deterrent. We must deploy all measures to curb unwanted pregnancies. As we front on sexual harassment, rape, and incest, we must also frown at the lack of virtue that drowns our planet via casual sex. The art of casual sex is also to blame for unplanned pregnancies. Chastity on the part of womanhood is critical. Human virtue should be a core pursuit by all—especially our youth. Preferably, abstinence from sexual intimacy outside the bounds of the marital union should be the ideal.
“Chastity on the part of womanhood is critical. Human virtue should be a core pursuit by all—especially our youth.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
Do the complex situation of rape and incest, and pregnancy that ensues justify abortion? My opinion is that ‘we do not right a wrong by doing a wrong.’ Fetuses have rights too, and we need to give them a chance to live also. In the write-up, Stephen Wagner, the Executive Director of Justice for All, “Is Abortion Acceptable in Cases of Rape,” paints a scenario worth sharing. He asked, “Should a two-year-old conceived by rape be killed by its mother? Few would subject an adult born into those circumstances to the death penalty either. The unborn, then, are deserving of the same moral and legal protection offered to the toddler and adult—assuming, of course, that the former is rightly accepted as being fully human from conception.” A fetus has rights, too; we must give them a chance to live.
Fetuses cannot speak as we do, but yet they speak volumes, though seemingly voiceless in the various stages of Prenatal Development (i.e., germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages). Yet, they speak volumes when we shed their innocent blood via abortions. Fetuses may not have the potential to stand behind the witness podium to debate their right to be given a chance to live and contest Roe v. Wade, yet their voice screams volumes when we snuff them out through abortions. Fetuses are alive, they speak latently through their innocent blood, and we cannot rob them of their right and a chance to become their best potential.
Rights to Airing Our Opinions—So let’s Have a Dialogue.
I am well aware that this article is bound to engender a lot of hate and admiration. However, I am not here to force the position of this Op-Ed down anyone’s throat. It is an opportunity for us to dialogue and expresses our first amendment rights to free speech (i.e., The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.) concerning unborn babies’ rights.
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
In the preceding paragraphs, we saw reasons why the fetus should have the right to live. First, the article decries flippant abuse of the act of consummation with no plans of taking care of babies that may ensue from such unions. Second, the law’s weight must be on the side of womanhood to punish all those who engage in rape and incest that lead to non-consented pregnancies. Third, the celebration of the dignity of womanhood is vital.
Human life is sacred, and we must treat it as such. We saw that the defining quality of life is “growth.” From the point of conception, the human fetus begins the journey of growth immediately. In the thirty-eighth week, a baby is born after passing through the germinal, embryonic, and fetal stages. The human fetus has a right to life. The same way we give a toddler a chance and the right to life, we should provide fetuses with the same right to live and become their best potential. Cutting short their life before and during prenatal development stages robs them of the chance of life. Let’s give them a chance to live. That is their God-given right.
Let us reason together and have a decent dialogue where opinions are shared amicably—discussing this with some people who are Pro-Choice or Pro-Reproductive rights made for a touchy discussion. Some establish that women have the right to decide whether they want to retain a pregnancy. They cite that for health and possible risk to their life should they carry the pregnancy to term could mean losing their life (e.g., ectopic pregnancy), they would not carry the baby to term. They also cite that they would not carry the child to term due to psychological or emotional reasons and get an abortion. For instance, if they got pregnant without mutual consent (i.e., the case of rape or incest). These are some Pro-Choice perspectives on having an abortion.
On the flip side of the coin, Pro-Life advocates have a voice in the matter too. For instance, meet Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine, MSN/MBA-c, RN (e-NLC). She is a Registered Nurse (RN) Practitioner and a business mind. She had a lot to say on this note. Oaekpost had a conversation with her on the subject of this Op-Ed—“Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.” We will present the initial parts of this discussion here, and shortly, we will deliver the entire Op-Ed dialogue with her on Oaekpost. Now, let’s delve into the discussion.
“Love the Woman, the Child, and Those Who Differ. Equally. Every Moment. Every Conversation.” — Justice for All (JFA).
Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze (OAE): I am working on an Op-Ed article for Oaekpost titled “Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.” I am motivated to explore and write this article in the wake of Pro-Choice protests in Poland, as Antonia Mortensen and Reuters reported on CNN. I believe that the fetus has a right to life too. I am sampling opinions from women to hear their thoughts on abortion to allow me to have some factual points as I build my article. Would you be okay with sharing your position on this note?
Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine (ONP-A): There is something to be noted about those who rally around the “pro-choice” debate on life—they have already been born. They’re able to express their opinions because they possess the gift of life. Being alive and calling for the lives of other humans to be extinguished is where the injustice lies.
Why defend the right to deny another life? We deem a bacterium discovered on a remote planet as a sign of life. Yet, the human fetus is considered an inconvenience to its mother, and society hails this female as a hero for not bringing a child into the world for whatever reason the “mother” cites. The pro-choice debate is deeply rooted in moral decay. Yes, there are cases where even the most ethically cultivated individual would stumble on what the clear option should be, but those cases are exceptions, not the norm.
“Why defend the right to deny another life? We deem a bacterium discovered on a remote planet as a sign of life. Yet, the human fetus is considered an inconvenience to its mother, and society hails this female as a hero for not bringing a child into the world for whatever reason the “mother” cites.” — Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine.
For instance, I have held a lifeless 23 weeks old fetus in my hands. The little girl was every bit a human. Her mother, weeping in her labor room, was proof that the child’s life mattered to her. The medical professionals taking care of her case attempted CPR on the child. We prayed for any sign of the will to fight in the child. It was not to be in the end—she painfully lost her child. But that was not a decision made by anyone in the room. It is a high disregard to take something one cannot give.
Life is sacred. The only capacity to which I support pro-choice is that the woman chooses not to become pregnant.
OAE: So, are you leaning towards a motion that “Fetuses have rights too…”
ONP-A: Yes, I am. Let me say this; doctors swear an oath to do good, or at the very least, not to do harm. Abortions cause harm. Some women have died attempting it. Some use it as a rag to wipe away the evidence of a decision poorly made. It is selfish. Researchers often exclude pregnant women, young children, and the mentally incapacitated during clinical trials, deeming them special populations. Should we not exclude the unborn from a potentially deadly experiment because the fetus cannot grant consent? Hence, the unborn should also be allowed the opportunity to choose whether to live or die.
“Life is sacred. The only capacity to which I support pro-choice is that the woman chooses not to become pregnant.” — Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine.
The whole Op-Ed dialogue with Onyinye N. Pierre-Antoine, MSN, MBA-c, RN will come as stipulated earlier. However, the discussion has started on this topic, so let us continue this dialogue in the article’s comment section. Please, do well to be respectful of the opinion of others. Let’s shun the use of derogatory terms as the Conversation continues on the essence of this topic— “Fetuses Have Rights Too – Give them a Chance of Life.”
The Divided States of America
The division in the United States runs deep, and the partisan temperatures are scathing hot. The earlier we start working out our differences, the better it will be for our country.
Three bulls were grazing in a meadow and were watched by a lion, who longed to capture and devour them, but who felt that he was no match for the three so long as they kept together. So, he began by false whispers and malicious hints to foment jealousies and distrust among them. This stratagem succeeded so well that ere long the Bulls grew cold and unfriendly, and finally avoided each other and fed each one by himself apart. No sooner did the lion see this than he fell upon them one by one and killed them in turn.1
“Here is a Unity Quote that we have all known since school: United we stand; divided we fall.” — Aesop
To some, this story is quite familiar. Yes, it’s an Aesop’s Fable titled “The Lion and the Three Bulls.” The moral of this story means that “the quarrels of friends are the opportunities of foes.” When schisms are allowed to enter relationships, it mars the deepest of bonds and relationships. Divisions are borne out of distrusts and discord, as we see in the fable above. When the bulls were in an alliance as a unit, they exuded strength. They stood taller than the lonesome power of the predator. The strength of the bulls was in their unity. As soon as they lost their agreement, they lost their strength. The aftermath of it all was their eventual doom in the solar plexus of their enemy—one after the other.
The United States of America is deeply polarized. To many, this is a certainty, to some a probability—this is an ongoing debate. The last election of 2020 shows how America is split right in the middle. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, in the article by James M. Lindsay titled, “The 2020 Election by the Numbers,” President Biden took home the popular vote prize with 81,283,098 votes or 51.3 percent of all the votes cast in the election.” On the split end, former President Trump took home 74,222,958 votes, or 46.8 percent of the total votes cast, which was 159,633,396 to be exact. President Biden also had a massive landslide victory in the Electoral College votes, garnering 306 votes than Trump’s 232 votes. However, the political polarization that we saw in the election results is not the only thing dividing our Union.
According to the Pew Research Center, the disagreement between Democrats and Republicans hinges on the economy, racial justice, climate change, law enforcement, international engagement, and other issues. The Pew Research Center referencing Ezra Klein (i.e., the author of Why We’re Polarized) and other authors on the reason for divisions. The authors establish that party schism intensification over time rests on people stacking various identities (e.g., race, religion, and ideology) on top of people’s partisan identities. The country has come to a point where it is either you are for this particular ideology, or you are not. There is no prevalent cause that embraces a unity axis and a common collective in national identity.
In Aesop’s Fable of “The Lion and the Three Bulls,” the lion used “false whispers and malicious hints” to foment jealousies among the three bulls. Over a while, the unity the bulls shared dissolved. The partisan politics in the United States between the Democrats and the Republicans have become more polarized than ever through the years. We don’t have a common ground on which the nation can stand on. Wise Presidents, irrespective of party affiliation, do their best to bridge the divide. However, no President in our Union’s history has sown more whispers, tweets, and barraging malicious hints than the 45th POTUS. After 30,573 mistruths, the chasm that separates both parties is more expansive than ever.
The 46th POTUS, Joseph R. Biden, has a lot cut out to expunge the torrents of false whispers and malicious hints that divides our body politic. Yes, the Democrats have an edge in both the House of Representatives and Congress to do as they please in pushing the Democratic agenda. After all, the 45th POTUS set a precedent in doing whatever he wanted with the Republican-led Congress’s full backing. So, what prevents the 46th POTUS and the Democrats in the House and Congress from doing whatever they want? As a matter of fact, nothing actually can stop them. However, doing so, turning a deaf ear to anything that the 74,222,958 citizens that voted for the former President Trump have to say will be the wrong thing to do for the good of the country in general. It would be a slippery road that will further increase the divide.
The 46th POTUS must take the high road by focusing on addressing the needs of all Americans. To do so, he might even disappoint his base in the quest of achieving some balance. Leaning too far to the left will fracture the country. Bending too far to the right will still snap the balance of the nation. The Inaugural address of President Biden is rich with what America needs to heal. In this inaugural address, he notes quite rightly that there is “Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build. And much to gain.” He understands that there is a gap that needs filling. He established that his whole soul is in the business of unifying the nation and righting the past’s wrongs.
“One of the things I think the next President has to do is to stop fanning people’s fears. If we spend all our time feeding the American people fear and conflict and division, then they become fearful and conflicted and divided. And if we feed them hope and we feed them reason and tolerance, then they will become tolerant and reasonable and hopeful.” — Barack Obama.
In his words during the inaugural address, the 46th POTUS establishes that “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the common foes we face: Anger, resentment, hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence. Disease, joblessness, hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things.” We cannot stay divided as a body politic, or we might as well kiss America goodbye. We cannot allow the virulent whispers and malicious hints of years gone by tear our nation apart. United we stand, divided we fall. If we push reason aside and refuse to heal, we will cease to exist as the United States of America.
Jesus said in Mark 3:24-25 that “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, the house will not be able to stand.” If America is divided against itself—the Red States versus the Blue States, the Republican Party versus the Democratic Party, the United States cannot stand. If we refuse to heal this house and find common ground and become a nation of values and unity, then America will not be able to stand. Like the bulls, the United States of America will be picked apart by the lion of disunity and the roar and death it brings in its wake. Failure to unite can cause our Union to implode. Inability to find common ground will leave us vulnerable to the destabilization forces of foreign nations. We would lose our hand as the world’s most decisive leader in the community of nations.
Unity is imperative if we must stand as a nation. As President Joe Biden stipulated in his inaugural address, “…speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy.” This assertion holds the weight of truth. If we desire to bury our heads in the sand and shun unity, we will reap our foolishness’s penalties by staying disunited. President Biden establishes that“History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness, and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.” To remain one nation under God, indivisible, a land of liberty and justice for all, then we must listen to our better angels and embrace unity. By the way, we cannot achieve the unity we seek in the absence of God. If we choose the contrary, in no time, we will cease to be a United nation.
Can we listen to the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln in his “House Divided” speech during the Lincoln-Douglas debate of June 16, 1858, in Springfield, Illinois? He said that ““A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.” If we fail to unite, then it will only be a matter of time, and our Union will dissolve. We don’t want to become like the Balkan nations that Balkanized. The sooner we tone down the fiery rhetoric of the past four years and further years gone by, the sooner we will begin to heal. The longer we court hatred and disunity, the faster the disunion acids will eat through the bonds of our very Union.
Let us listen to the words of wisdom in President Biden’s Inaugural Speech. His message is a tonic that the United States needs. He said that “Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And, we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.” It is time for us to listen to the views of all. We must be careful to make the right choices so as not to implode our nation via chaos. There is much more that unites us than divides. In our consensus, to live in unity serves as strength. Anything short of this will be our undoing as a nation.
Disunion will lead to the dissolution of our Union. As a body politic, we cannot allow false whispers and malicious hints to foment division in our Union. United we stand, divided we fall. A lot of water has already gone under the bridge for the past four years. Many negative things have been said. Many seeds of dissension have been sown. The ties in our Union are already severed, and we need to seek ways to mend them. A two-fold-cord will not easily be broken. If we separate ourselves, we will definitely be broken—like the three bulls, one bull at a time—picked off by the lion. Failure to mend it will rend our Union into many bits and pieces. According to Jim Wallis, an American theologian, writer, teacher, and political activist, he established that “We can find common ground only by moving to higher ground.” Together, we must move to a higher ground of reason, to forge a genuinely united Union.
“Unity is strength; division is weakness.” — Unknown Author.
We must cling unto hope that we can salvage our Union. That we can bridge the gap of our differences. We must do so or risk becoming a fable, a tale, a story, of a great country that once was. We are the United States of America—United we stand, divided we fall. Once more, resonating the words of the 46th POTUS in his inaugural address, “And together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. An American story of decency and dignity. Of love and of healing. Of greatness and of goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. The story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history.” We must find common ground to move forward. The earlier we do so, the better for the future of our nation.
- Aesop. (2013). Aesop’s fables (V.S.V. Jones, Trans.). San Diego, CA: Canterbury Classics.
The January 6, 2021 Insurrection of the U.S. Capitol
On January 6, 2021, a mob of thousands stormed the United States Capitol. It was a strange occurrence, but it has happened.
On January 6, 2021, a mob of thousands—numbers challenging to estimate stormed the United States Capitol. Incited by the words of the 45th POTUS, President Donald J. Trump, via tweets sent out weeks before this day, via his rally speech near the White House on the very day of the insurrection. The frenzied mob took to rioting, vandalism, looting, shootings, arson, sundry tactics of terrorisms, intimidation, a brazen attempt to take hostages, a will to kidnap and execute. These activities marked the actions of this fateful day.
“We can now add January 6, 2021, to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy…The final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States—undoubtedly our worst.” — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
The 45th POTUS went the extra mile during his administration to bolster the far-right extremism’s power in the United States. He, and his cronies, kept alluding to the false claims of fraud in the 2020 election. When presented in courts by his team of lawyers, no proof of fraud was found. His general aversion and failure to concede his loss of the 2020 election and the reasons mentioned above all served as tinder as he ignited the flames of insurrection on that fateful day. In the words of Wendell Phillips, “Insurrection of thought always precedes insurrection of arms.” Via the barrage of conspiracy-infused thoughts, he successfully moved this mob to arms.
The mob marched on the United States Capitol to hinder, stall, and attempt to overturn the Electoral College vote count to favor former President Trump. Their goal was to seize and destroy the certificate of ascertainment (i.e., an official docket that points out the appointed electors and final vote count for each candidate that received popular votes in an election). Finally, their goal marked to pressure Congress and the former Vice-President, Mike Pence, to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.
A state of lawlessness was unleashed on that day as the crowds, like a swarm of locusts, descended on the United States Capitol building. The Capitol insurrection, spurred by the former President Trump, brought a rain of anarchy with a torrent of destructions in its wake. There were injuries amongst the rioters, the Capitol Police officers, and the Metro Police officers. There were also a few deaths recorded in the aftermath of the insurrection. A flurry of resignations followed among Trump’s administration officials’ rank and file, the Capitol Security Officials, to mention but a few.
Who would have thought that this would happen in the present-day United States of America? An insurrection incited by a seating President. The 18 U.S. Code § 2383 – Rebellion or insurrection states that “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” Should they not all be brought to justice? Should the 45th POTUS walk away free from the role he played to incite the acts of January 6, 2021, against the United States of America?
“I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber. This is not a protest. This is an attack on America.” — Representative Dan Kildee, (D-Mich).
The 45th POTUS, Donald Trump, becomes the first president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives, with 10 Republicans throwing in their weight in this motion, making it the most bipartisan impeachment move in the history of American politics. He has set a dangerous precedent in the chronicle of American politics and government. Suppose he is not held accountable beyond this second impeachment; who knows what another president might do in American politics. Accountability starts with us!
There have been insurrections in the United States. Evan Andrews of history.com wrote about “6 Violent Uprisings in the United States.” First, the 1898 Wilmington Insurrection, a White Supremacist uprising in the Southern port town of Wilmington, North Carolina, against blacks and their businesses in the city. Second, the 1863 New York City Draft Riots, a protest against the federal draft lottery that allowed wealthy men to buy their way out of serving in the military for $300 that excluded blacks. Third, the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, a labor dispute in southwest West Virginia. Fourth, the 1863 Richmond, Virginia Bread Riots, a confederate hunger riot. Fifth, the 1946 Battle of Athens, Tennessee, a politically incited bedlam. Sixth, the Shay’s Rebellion of 1786, spawned by a severe economic crisis.
The Insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, will make the history books like the insurrections listed above. With the constant prodding of the 45th POTUS, the scars of this insurrection will go into the history books of infamy. The sad thing about this U.S. Capitol Insurrection is that its fires were stoked by a sitting President who vehemently refused to succumb to a free and fair election. But instead chose to use the most excellent metaphorical megaphone in history—the Oval—emboldened by his Twitter account to incite an insurrection that bolstered the division of the United States of America.
What has happened, has happened. If we could turn back the hands of time, maybe we could have done things differently—just maybe. We must move past this horrible history and pursue peace, harmony, healing, and balance as a body politic. America is not a blue country. We are not a red nation. We are a blue and red country, and all the fifty stars must find a way to come to a mutual consensus to move forward. We are currently divided in our ideological standings as a nation. The leadership of the past four years did not help to strengthen our union. We must move past the failures of the years gone by if we must continue as the United States of America.
“But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans. The Bible tells us that to everything; there is a season—a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.” — President. Joseph R. Biden, 46th President of the United States.
We must become all things well and good. We must become a nation of truth, ethics, standards, innovation, creativity, diversity, inclusivity, and the fear of God. Yes, “the fear of God.” The official motto of our great country is, In Deo Fidemus, “In God, we trust,” adopted by the United States Congress in 1956. We must heal as a nation. To do so, we must renew our trust in God. To recover as a nation and get past the bitter gall of insurrection that we have experienced, we must come together as one nation, under God. We must become a nation of standards. We must heal by dialogue. We must recover by reason. We must heal in season and out of season. We must truly become the United States of America or fall hard as the Divided State of America. Nam Verbum sapienti sat est A—A word is enough for the wise.
Let’s Make America Truthful Again
Lies is an intentional untruth and should never receive any justification for any reason. We must call a spade a spade and never a spoon.
The 45th President of the United States (POTUS), President Donald J. Trump, ran under the slogan, “Let’s Make America Great Again.” I can’t say how great we ended up becoming after the past four years. However, every day in the 1,461 days of Donald Trump’s tenure as President riddled America with the bullets of lies and half-truths. I do not see any honor in this legacy, especially being full of many lies told.
“Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — George Orwell.
The 45th POTUS’ tenure was a four-year roller coaster ride with many up and down moments. However, my greatest worry was seeing America sullied by a steady barrage of lies or mistruths—30,573 of them coming from the Oval, the most outstanding microphone on earth. Many nations of the world look to America’s body politic as the beacon of democratic leadership. It raises many concerns to all and sundry about the many lies of this administration.
No one is perfect—even the 45th President of the United States. We are all flawed in one way or the other. We make mistakes, we fall, and we rise. However, our broken nature as humans does not absolve anyone. When we fail or commit a blunder, there should be some sense of remorse. There should be a sign of penitence from the flaw that pulls one down. We saw little or no remorse during this past administration. One lie or mistruth led to another lie—no restitution made as a price in seeking forgiveness. No one is above the law. No one should be above the law.
This article’s essence is not to dissect or analyze which lies or mistruths are coming from former President Donald Trump’s past administration. The heart of this Op-Ed is to establish that lying or encouraging mistruths must never receive encouragement at any level. As Americans, we have entertained it for four years via every form of media you can think of—television, radio, Social Media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), to name but a few. We have felt the birth pangs of what lies can do in destroying the values of a nation.
The American image’s sullying by lies coming from the highest echelon of power in the United States of America runs deep. It matters because whoever holds the highest office of the land must be responsible and accountable for such authority before God and man. The highest office in our land lost the credibility that comes from telling the truth. The peddling of lies from the Oval during the administration of the 45th President ruptured our credibility. Sometimes, I felt like we had a Pinocchio as a POTUS in the Oval. But that is the effect of lies—it replicates, it multiplies once you indulge it. Our seriousness as a country in the community of nations brings our stance as the free world leader to question.
The shocking part of the last four years is that the Republican party did not call President Donald J. Trump to order. Tolerating the excesses of lies and erratic conduct gives the green light to this conduct. Such admittance is a sham and shady heightened hypocrisy at best, no pun intended. Suppose the perpetually lying behavior were the principal characteristics of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barrack Obama. Would turning a blind eye to the conduct be the response of the Republican party? Or even the Democratic party? Of course not. Would calls not have been made to see his impeachment through the House of Representatives and Congress? We must call a spade a spade and not a spoon.
The peddling of lies from the Oval has divided our union as the United States of America. There is now a distrust of facts and truth from the news media that is now repeatedly called Fake News. The rain of the metaphorical sulphuric acid of lies and vindictiveness is now an everyday challenge of America. Our First Amendment right is like a shishkabob that is under fire from all angles. Lies led to the negligence of taking an active stance from day one to fight the pandemic—the result, over 430 deaths and counting in the United States. Lies fueled more racism in America. Due to lies, the bitter gall of hatred has been sipped by many. Lies have numbed reason, dividing our nation right through the center.
There is a sullying of the cloak of our national image. As a society, we are almost losing sensitivity to the truth due to the past four years’ lies. The lies told are weathering and eroding the terra firma of the strength of our union. While we are busy allowing the lies to sow division in our union, we have lost some clout as a world leader in the community of nations. Lies have sown disunity in our union—united we stand, divided we fall. Our country is quickly becoming a joke because of the deluge of lies drowning our collective consciousness and reason. America needs to wake up. We need to come to our senses and not allow lies to divide our union. We are not the Divided States of America—We are the United States of America.
America, understand that we must have nothing to do with lies and misleading words. We must realize that a lie has a short life, but the testament of truth lives forever. C.S. Lewis couldn’t have said it any better by stipulating that “A little lie is like a little pregnancy—it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.” I do not advocate abortion—every fetus is a life and deserves to live. Consciously or unconsciously, there is insemination of Americas’ minds with the Herculean loads of mistruths for the past four years. The fetus of the adverse effects of such words is already growing. However, I advocate that we collectively abort the conceived twin fetus of division and hate. We cannot allow these negative offsprings to live—they must die to make way for the twin progeny of unity and love to grow in our union.
There is nothing godly in lies or embracing the art and mastery of lying. Lies negates the ethics of what is right. Lies are products of the Father of Lies—Lucifer. Nothing you establish can make it correct or acceptable. If you unrelentingly indulge or bask in lies, it only comes naturally to you because you express your father’s genes. I like what Victor Hugo, the French poet, novelist, and dramatist said that “Lying is the acme of evil. White lies are non-existent, for lie is wholly a lie; falsehood is the personification of evil; Satan has two names: he is called Satan, and he is called the Father of Lies.” With every fiber of our being, we must never allow lies to be our union’s forging characteristics.
Lying has a replicative power. It is a growing metastasizing cancer needing cutting off. Once started, it is a chain reaction that eventually stirs itself out of control like a runaway radioactive chemical reaction. I believe this is what happened during the administration of the 45th POTUS. From one lie to a half-truth, channeling to mistruths, it snowballed 30,573 times over. According to Martin Luther, “A lie is a snowball: the further you roll it, the bigger it becomes.” We must begin to dial back the lies that have brought us to the juncture of a divided status quo. A lot of healing must happen as we expunge the toxins released by the lies of days, weeks, months, and years past.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” — William Faulkner.
If we are wise as a nation, we must come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, a land of liberty, that metes out justice for all. We must collectively unite to Make America Truthful Again (MATA). We must not be afraid, to tell the truth. The truth may be bitter, but we must embrace what is right at all costs. We cannot align ourselves with any form of mistruths as a nation. The First Amendment must stand. We must never abridge the freedom of speech or the press. The Government must never squelch the truth. The First Amendment protects the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government. Let us expunge lies from the system. America needs to get it right or stand a chance to lose its right as a world leader in the community of nations.
It starts with the now 46th President of the Republic, Joseph R. Biden, who now has the loudest mic, the Oval, to rebuild the years and reknit the tapestry of truth cankerworms of lies and mistruths have destroyed. A stitch in time will save nine. The 46th POTUS has a lot cut out for him to do in re-establishing the Oval’s integrity, and we wish him well as he does his job. However, the 46th POTUS will have to ensure all Americans that our First Amendment rights still stand upon the rock of all things truthful and right. We have the right to the freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government. The Good Book says, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We must embrace truth. We must repel all lies. Let us Make America Truthful Again (MATA).
A Princess Story: Meghan & Harry Tie The Knot
On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they tied the nuptial bond—a moment to remember.
Love can be an unpredictable thing. Love finds its way into the most unsuspecting of hearts. Love has broken century-old traditions, as seen in the case of the royal family. Love melted their aristocratic hearts to accept a mixed-race African American actress and divorcee, Meghan Markle, to become the first Duchess of Sussex. We waited for the unfolding of history, for a day that would unfold the unlikeliest of events. Saturday, May 19, 2018, will forever be remembered as the day a modern princess story unfolded before our eyes—Meghan & Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, Tie the Knot at the St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
“Do we kiss?” — Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex
“Yeah.” — Prince Harry’s reply to his new wife’s question.
Absolutely nothing we imagined could have prepared us for the glamour and star-studded attendance that heralded the day. It was as lavish as it was innocent, the couple staring and smiling at each other with the enthusiasm of five-year-old(s) melted even the most cynical of hearts. However, we could see the sincerity in their hearts as they tied the nuptial bond and became husband and wife. Millions of people—29 million in the United States alone—tuned in all over the world to see the royal wedding happen. This was an epic day that will forever be branded on the hearts of across the globe—the two lovebirds, who seemed oblivious to those avidly mopping up their every move.
Who Was There?
Hollywood blocked out its calendar for this one! Rarely do you find it’s A-listers attending the matrimony of one of their own in this number; even if you did see such, never would it have been at a Royal wedding until the day of this wedding at the St. George Chapel at Windsor Castle. However, they made out the time in droves to grace the royal occasion on this day. This display of love from Merkel’s family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers showed that even Hollywood signed off on this love, so much that even the industry veterans and lead actors and actresses had to take supporting roles on this one. This article won’t be complete if I don’t mention a few celebrity guests in attendance.
Oprah Winfrey—my Oprah, your Oprah, the world’s Oprah—came slaying in a pink suit, and we probably won’t have forgiven anyone else for rocking the same outfit. She elegantly graced the occasion with her presence. George Clooney and his wife, Amal, like Oprah, also arrived early for the event, with Amal’s dress setting social media on fire, dazzling and amazing, I must say. The other celebrity whose arrival caused a stir on social media because of their smart looks was David Beckham, who came in the company of his fashion mogul wife, Victoria Beckham. The chronicle of media and the global leadership elite stunners present was remarkable. Meghan and Prince Harry’s Guest Book must be one in a million.
I don’t think that the wedding guest list would have been complete if Elton John was not there. Elton, who is a much-loved friend of the Royal family, was also in attendance and performing “Candle in the Wind” at the wedding reception at the request of Prince Harry. Serena Williams, a new mum at the time, wowed everyone in her elegant pink ensemble that was artfully draped around her athletic figure as she joined other A-list guests in the arms of her dashing husband, Alexis Ohanian.
Then came the cast of Suits! It was like the first season of Suits all over again. Trust me; it takes quite many restraints for me not to call them by their character names. Patrick J. Adams—Meghan’s on-screen partner in the series—came in the company of his wife, Torian Bellisario. Gabriel Macht, Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman, and Sarah Rafferty all came with their partners. It was like a reunion, or let’s say, a homecoming, considering that a bunch of these celebrities already left the series.
Elsewhere, Priyanka Chopra dropped detective mode and was all smiles at the wedding, as well as James Corden, who even wore a bigger smile on his arrival with his partner, Julia Carey. The list could go on and on. However, the biggest takeaway was that the pomp and pageantry of the wedding could only be classified as grand, to say the very least. To get a full scoop of the whole royal nuptials, you can watch the full recorded Live Stream by The Royal Family media team below. Care to watch the full event, click here.
“There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize. There is power, power in love. Love can help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.” — The Most Rev Michael Curry, primate of the American Episcopal Church.
Despite being quite a long YouTube video (i.e., 2:35:22), it is unquestionably a spectacle and a marvel to behold. As of this post’s date, the video has been streamed on YouTube over 35,003,868 and counting. It is a piece of history that is worth relishing, to say the very least.
Who Missed Out?
Sadly, some celebrities couldn’t make it to the royal wedding and missed out on all the pomp. We wouldn’t need to talk about Rihanna, who already jokingly asked in an interview if she was invited to the wedding. There are no surprises there. However, we were surprised that former President Barack Obama, and his wife, Michelle, couldn’t make it to the wedding. One would be forgiven for thinking they would lead the delegation of guests even, considering their relationship with the couple, especially Meghan.
In preparation for the grand Royal Wedding, there were rumors as to the possibility of Ed Sheeran performing at the event. Sadly enough, we did not see Ed at the occasion, wearing a tuxedo or carrying a guitar. Another slight surprise. Also, Donald Trump could not make it to the Royal Wedding because of pressing presidential duties, likewise many other politicians. However, I don’t think if President Donald Trump wanted to be there that it would have been possible―I presume that he was not invited.
The highlight for me was the Cello solo performance by the 19-year-old musician, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and The Kingdom Choir performance of “Stand by Me” with Karen Gibson at the West End of the St. George Chapel! Wow! The singing was out of this world! This wedding and all its entrails are the stuff of fairytales. This wedding is one of the Royal Weddings that would remain in the memories of those who attended and those who didn’t. It was perfect like that.
The Kingdom Choir performance of “Stand by Me” with Karen Gibson at the West End of the St. George Chapel
“This marriage will change the world.” — An unnamed young woman as she watched the service in Los Angeles.
What are my takeaways from the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry? The major take away from this wedding is that I am really marveled at the beauty of the royal family accepting a mixed-race African American actress and divorcee, Meghan Markle, to become the first Duchess of Sussex. The merit of this acceptance should be what the world should emulate. Diversity is a beautiful thing. Tolerance is a heavenly thing. We need to accept each other in love―despite color, regardless of creed, and notwithstanding gender—enough of the hate-mongering and race-baiting. Let us stand by each other in love. As we saw this historic union, let us emulate their value-adding example and begin to live in unity accepting each other in love.
Furthermore, the colossal mountain of hatred, intolerance, and race-baiting needs to crumble into the sea of communal healing on the spirit of tolerance and unity. We breathe the same oxygen. We all draw the same breath that keeps us all alive. Do you see the oxygen that you breathe? No. Yet all races breathe the same life-giving source. Oxygen is a gift to all, and we share it to stay alive. Our life is a gift. Let us share ourselves in harmony despite our differences. We may all be different, but we need to be blind to the factors that differentiate us and be cognizant of the similarities that define us as humans. Let us walk in unity freely. Let us shun hate. Let us embrace love and diversity and spread its message everywhere.
Finally, my earnest hope and wish are to see the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry change our perspective on how we perceive and accept each other as human beings. Hating ourselves is an investment in nothing; accepting ourselves, despite our differences, is an investment in hope. The hope that to transform the community of nations for the greater good of all. Long live the Duke and Duchess of Sussex―wishing them every success, happiness, health, wealth, and fruitfulness in the marriage journey.
- British Broadcasting Corporation [BBC]. (2018, May 19). ‘Stand by Me’ performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir – The Royal Wedding – BBC [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyFlLjdNqk8
- The Royal Family. (2018, May 19). The Royal Wedding 2018: Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N42MQJX4KoY
Guns or No Guns? The Pros and Cons
Gun control is arguably one of the most popular and controversial issues in the United States of America. Should we own guns or not? Let’s find out.
Gun control is arguably one of the most popular and controversial issues in the United States of America. So far, there seems to be an even split between the number of people who believe that every citizen should have the right always to carry a personal firearm and those who don’t. Every so often, a mass shooting incident occurs that re-ignites this debate, which is not followed up by any significant legislative changes to the existing gun laws to make a tangible difference to the status quo. The main area of dispute, in this case, is the level of violent and needless shootings that are likely to take place if people can easily purchase guns without any in-depth background checks and other procedures that could help curb or eliminate the variations.5 What should America do to reduce the indiscriminate gun violence and killings that currently plagues the nation? Should guns be tolerated, eliminated, or drastically controlled?
“Respecting the Second Amendment does not mean abandoning common sense. The right to own guns in this country must remain, while we also must strengthen our laws to prevent mass shootings.” — Claire McCaskill
Based on various organizations’ research, the increase in these weapons’ supply and availability is directly proportional to the spike in gun-related violence that we are experiencing in the nation. The gun availability statistics of the United States of America is mind-blowing. We may not have an exact tally of how many guns there are in circulation in America. However, from data out there, we have over “393 million firearms spread across America—meaning that there are approximately 120.5 guns for every 100 people in the country.”1 When placed side-by-side with the nation’s total population, which sits at around 328 million people, we can see that there are more guns than people in America. From these numbers, all we can say is that America is locked-and-loaded. There is an earnest need to consider where we stand as a nation concerning gun availability, circulation, and controls.
Although the guns are distributed and sold with the sole purpose of enabling the users to protect themselves from harm, for some, it ends up becoming a solution to every dispute they have with people around them, leading to gun-violence crimes.4 Let us look at some numbers:
Everyday Gun Deaths
Statistics show that 100 Americans lose their lives to gunshots, and hundreds more are injured via this method of violence. Gun violence in the United States of America sends shockwaves of trepidation to millions of its populace’s minds. The organization, Everytown, has done a great job in gathering a Herculean amount of comprehensive data to inform readers about the alarming rate of gun violence in America.
Gun Deaths by Intent
According to Everytown, the average number of deaths per year stem from Gun Deaths by Intent in the United States is approximately 37603 (N). The leading causes of gun deaths by intent are suicide, homicide, police shootings, unintentional deaths, and undetermined gun deaths.2
Gun Deaths by Suicide
Approximately two-thirds of these gun deaths are suicides (i.e., 22,926 or 61% of N). The suicide rate in the U.S. is ten times higher than other high-income earning nations. Easy access to guns triples such acts—the most cases being in States with increased gun ownership rates. 74% of gun suicides deaths are White Men in the U.S.2
Gun Homicides Per 100,000 Residents
Homicide deaths is a runner up to suicide deaths. One-third of gun deaths are homicides in the U.S. (i.e., 13380 deaths or 36% of N). Easy access to firearms doubles the risk of death by homicide. It is also sad to note that Black Americans represent the highest statistics of gun homicide victims–they are ten times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide.2
From the infographics above, we abstract that the U.S. comes in at 4.1 concerning the gun homicide rate. Chile comes in at 1.9. Israel comes in at 0.7. Canada, Sweden, Italy, and Sweden comes in at 0.3. Switzerland, Finland, and the Slovak Republic comes in at 0.2.2
Death of American Children and Teens
Guns remain the leading cause of death for American children and teens, with over 1700 deaths due to gun homicide yearly. The leading cause is mainly due to domestic or family violence. According to Everytown, “Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide.”2
Everytown does a great job stipulating collated facts about gun violence. (NB. Take some time to explore the points that they have postulated as it relates to the deadly impact of gun violence and how it impacts the citizenry of the U.S.).
The metrics of gun-related violence and incidence is drastically on the rise in the United States of America. It is fast becoming very troubling and has become the focus of many debates and dialogues on actions to control the rising incidence that puts the nation in a state of manic apprehension. The statistics on gun violence incidence across the country is scary. According to the Gun Violence Archive, at the time of this writing, “the total number of gun violence-related deaths in the U.S., from January 2020 to November 14, 2020, so far is at 37,509. Of this number, Homicide/Murder/Unintentional Gun Deaths/Defensive Gun Use (DGU) is at 16,455. Suicides are at 21,054. The number of gun violence injuries is at 34,207. The number of mass shooting victims is at about 557. The number of mass murders is at 16.” The metrics are radically on the rise daily. However, as stipulated, this data is highly organic—it is regularly changing as incidences occur. To follow the increase, one must regularly visit the Gun Violence Archive to ascertain the current statistics status quo. You can compare this data with the collated trends and statistics of the past six years in the infographic below.
The truth is that there are many different methods of increasing safety and security. Still, there is only one way to reduce or completely eradicate the number of deaths from gun-related violence—by completely taking away guns from anyone who isn’t part of law enforcement. Let’s be honest; that is just wishful thinking at best. However, doing this would garner a lot of opposition and fierce criticism and direct opposition to the Second Amendment Rights of the American citizenry that allow them to bear arms in the first place. There are various pros and cons of allowing the population of a country to license and own firearms. Understanding these benefits and costs would better provide better guidance on efforts that must be put in place to begin to curb the looming and increasing gun violence and gun-related killings and injuries in the United States of America.
Benefits of Owning Firearm
There are some pros to owning a firearm. Reading through a Medscape journal article titled “Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home,” David Hemenway highlighted some benefits. That guns are for sport (i.e., hunting and target shooting), protection against crime, determent of crime, and thwarting a crime in progress. The core benefit is the defense or protection of the individual who possesses the firearm. Let us take a deeper look at the protection benefit.
“If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who would have guns would be the bad guys. Even a pacifist would get violent if someone were trying to kill him or her. You would fight for your life, whatever your beliefs.” — Bruce Willis
First, the main advantage of owning a firearm is the sense of security the owner can enjoy. If a house owner’s life is at risk at any time due to a home invasion, a firearm could come in handy in providing protection. In this instance, a properly functioning gun could offer an immediate and effective first defense line against the intruders. Calling the police is always the best option; however, there are cases where immediate action to manage the situation could save lives before the authorities arrive. Failure to curb the problem could result in loss of life or severe injury to the homeowners. In such a circumstance, it would make sense to own a firearm.5 It could be a split-second decision of either protecting yourself and your loved ones or stand the chance of being killed or fatally injured, should you not own a firearm or failing to react if you possess a gun at that instance.
The second advantage still relates to the individual’s security in correlation to their community or their profession. For instance, there are cases where an individual resides in neighborhoods that are not particularly protected or prone to gun violence. There are also situations where the individual does work that is quite sensitive or dangerous (e.g., a law enforcement officer working undercover). Because of this, there could be a constant threat to their personal safety and that of their loved ones. The option of hiring security personnel to be at their disposal always may be too costly and not be a viable option of protection. Hence, a firearm purchase may be the next best option to ensure security and safety in life-threatening situations. These individuals will have the capacity to play an active role in guaranteeing their defense and their wards without breaking the budget.5
Costs of Owning Firearm
On the flip side of the coin, there are various disadvantages to keeping firearms. In the preceding paragraphs, there are precise shreds of evidence that gun ownership can be harmful. The statistics and data provided by the organization, Everytown, tells the whole story. According to Hemenway in the Medscape journal, the summary of the costs of owning firearms revolves around the dangers of accidental discharge, suicides, assaults and homicides, and the intimidation factor that gun carriers inflict on society. Let us further reiterate these dangers in the following points below.
“We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.” ― Elizabeth Warren
First, retaining a gun generally makes one’s household more dangerous. Many sensible parents take steps to ensure that their firearms are out of the reach of children. However, to their surprise, most find out that their children have handled their guns on numerous occasions without their knowledge. Report and data show that a firearm in the household increases the chances of encountering an accidental shooting by up to four times the regular rate.4 This means that you are more likely to shoot an innocent person than likely to kill a home invader. The firearm also poses a constant threat to the young ones in the household. In bouts of curiosity, they may try to use the gun and end up injuring themselves or worse. There have been situations where children have accidentally shot themselves, their siblings, or even their parents while playing with a loaded firearm.5
Second, guns in the hands of criminals make for a deadly society. If you take away guns from everyone, criminals and terrorists will find illegal ways to obtain these firearms to perpetrate more crimes of terror and mayhem. There will be a tremendous spike in armed robberies, drug trafficking, bank heists, predatory sexual crimes (e.g., rapes), gang gun violence, etc. These criminals will have greater freedom to conduct their nefarious activities, almost unhindered and heavily armed in the process. In situations where we have seen a mass-shooting in action, people in the fray who have firearms can better protect themselves and others. Guns in the wrong hands of those willing to inflict harm on others is a grave disadvantage. We have seen mass shootings occurring all over the country, leading to the death and injury of many innocent bystanders. That is the disadvantage of having an excessive circulation of too much firearm in society.
Is the root cause of these mass shootings gun ownership? Or, is it the psychological instability of those that possess them? After all, there are legal gun owners who don’t carry out crimes with their piece. How could we curb gun violence? What are some strategies to help reduce gun violence across the nation?
8 Strategies for Controlling Gun Violence
If citizens are allowed to purchase and own firearms, there must be measures to ensure that anyone looking to buy a gun meets specific criteria. First, there is a need to establish that they are not a viable threat to their safety and others. Second, the issue of allowing purchases without specifying valid reasons for the firearm purchase creates a knothole that enables people with ill intentions to purchase and own firearms legally. It would make more sense to ascertain these reasons to reduce the number of people who take advantage of the system to hurt others.4 Third, the government needs to find a way to track all firearms in circulation—for instance, a voluntary registry for individuals who own an unlicensed firearm to register their ownership. At best, this may be wishful thinking because many people who own guns illegally will never willingly register their claim of such a weapon.
Fourth, the mental condition and moral standing of the firearm purchaser will also need to be determined. Mental illness is more prevalent than most people are willing to admit, which means that many mentally ill and psychologically unstable people do not get the help they require in time. Because of this, some turn to the purchase of firearms and violence to fix every problem they face.6 Carrying out proper evaluations will help reduce this kind of danger in society. An investigation is necessary to ascertain that those who have a history of crime or affiliated with known criminals don’t have the option to purchase firearms.6 Fifth, the severity of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is high as of now. However, the severity level of the background check system by the FBI NICS may need to be taken up a notch or two as an avenue to help with further curbing of guns getting into the wrong hands.
Sixth, this point is much more a propositional strategy. There needs to be a series of education and testing that should go with the purchase of firearms.5 As a proposition, there should be a test and certification program before firearm purchase for the following tiers of possible proof: firearm knowledge and use, psyche analysis for mental stability, and ethics tests that educate users on the improper use of guns. Future firearm owners need to take all these classes. They also need to pass culminating certification tests certified by the FBI NICS board as ready to own firearms. The test results will be on the FBI NICS database and checked at all firearm sales outlets across the country before the sale of guns to any individual. This proposition does not eliminate firearms as a whole; however, it helps the government reduce variations that frequently lead to catastrophes.
The proposition mentioned above in point six will lengthen out the firearm purchase process; however, it is an avenue to ensure that the wrong people don’t have access to guns and hurt others in the long haul. The government could achieve this by establishing what I call the Firearm Certification Education Schools (FACES) that offer these training and certifications. After the individual passes and is certified, they receive an issued card from the gun school that verifies them as being in the green for purchasing the firearm of their choice. The schools then funnel the information into the NICS database. At every firearm point-of-sale (POS), the gun school certification card will be run on the NICS database to ensure that the customer is legal to purchase a firearm. After the first verification, the POS clerks will run the second and final criminal background check (i.e., normal background check process) as a double layer of assurance to ensure that the person is still green with no criminality records. Only then can a firearm be sold to them. It is a long process; however, the benefits would far outweigh the wait to acquire a gun—it will make for a more ethically sound breed of firearm owners.
Finally, on point number six, upon the apprehension of any criminals with a firearm(s), or anyone, for that matter, law enforcement officers will run their names against the NICS database to ensure that they are all in the green for gun ownership and that they are not criminals. If they are not in the FACES-NICS database, that goes for criminality counts that they will be heavily fined for or serve time for breaking the law. With such laws in place, it will go a long way in curbing the gun violence issues that plague our society. Seventh, another proposition is that the government should institute the Get-It-Right-Tracking (GIRT) Project system. This project will give a chance for all gun owners to register unregistered guns to the NICS database. The GIRT Project will also create an avenue for these gun owners to go through the FACES process. Finally, eighth, the House and Congress could review the legal age for purchasing firearms. They could increase the age range and ensure that the rule goes across the board throughout the whole country—this is just a proposition. These strategies, if adopted by the powers that be, could be instrumental in reducing random shootings in the country with time. The goal is to curb and eliminate gun violence in America.
The gun debate is a very dicey one, to be honest. The points am making are my own opinion about guns or no guns. I am of the notion of not wholly abolishing the Second Amendment Right, which is the right to bear arms. My peculiar stance is for a more robust methodology towards gun ownership, as I have proposed with a supposed “FACES” program. I am a Nigerian-American, and I have two real-life tales of coming very close to death because of being vulnerable from a physical safety standpoint. The first tale happened several years ago in the late ’90s while living in Nigeria. Armed robbers attacked our home in Umuahia, Abia State, during the dead of the night. Then, as a young adult, I remember being beaten by the armed robbers as I felt the cold barrel of what felt like a shotgun behind my back. They asked my parents and me to choose how we wanted to die—death by a gunshot or by them pouring acid on us. We begged for our dear lives, and we were fortunate enough not to be harmed. God saved us on that day. Others are not always this fortunate. However, if we owned a firearm during that home invasion, would it not have given us a generous ounce of advantage and some security if it came down to us using it for home defense? On some occasions, owning a firearm could be the difference between staying alive or being sent to the afterlife prematurely. So, would you not say that a more robust ethical gun control and usage would be a better option than total abrogation? Ponder on this for a moment.
The second scenario was like the one above. Not too long before I left Nigeria to come to the United States at the dawn of the 21st Century, armed robbers, again, attacked one of our homes in Owerri, Imo State. They cratered a hole through our concrete fence and broke into our house. I was at home with my elder brother and a house-help, who pleaded with them not to hurt us as they carted away with a large sum of money. On this property of ours, we owned two homes, of which we rented the other out to another family. After they robbed us and spared our lives, they proceeded to the other home to attempt to break-in. As they approached the other house, our tenant and his kids let out a warning shot in the direction of the armed burglars, who scurried into hiding and stalled their advance. At this time, the neighbors had already called the police, so the armed robbers escaped so that they wouldn’t get into a firefight with the police and risk getting caught. I tell these two stories to establish that home defense, in my opinion, is of the essence. If guns are exclusively abolished, it will be a free-for-all for criminals to go to town in various cities—hurting, killing, terrorizing, stealing as they go. As an opinion, a proposition like FAECS is what America needs. It will take time, to say the very least; however, it will make for a more ethical and safer future—a step in the right direction—related to firearm ownership and use.
“There is a recognition that Second Amendment rights, like the First Amendment and other rights, come with responsibilities and limitations. There is no reason both sides of the gun debate can’t support policies that both protect the right to legally own guns for sport and safety and reduce the likelihood of mass fatalities.” — Randi Weingarten
In summary, due to the Second Amendment Rights in the United States of America, the nation may never completely abrogate guns from American society. However, there is a crucial need for more robust gun control laws to help reduce the nation’s improper use of firearms. We have seen the leading pros of gun ownership as the security that it avails the owner. However, we have also seen some of the disadvantages of gun ownership. We noticed that possessing a gun makes your home more dangerous, especially if your wards have access to your piece(s). There is a need for gun owners to ensure that their weapons are out of their children’s reach to prevent any deadly accident or injury from taking place. We also saw that excessive guns in circulation make it easy for criminals to access it, as they use it to further perpetuate their heinous crimes. We saw eight different strategies that could help bring some sense of order in gun ownership and hopefully reduce the number of murderous atrocities perpetuated due to gun ownership. In all this, the goal is to reduce and possibly eliminate the dangers and variations that come with gun availability and its attendant use. Since its abrogation may not be possible, the goal then should be ethical gun usage. Let’s ponder on these facts as we continue the “guns or no guns” debate.
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. (2018). Gun violence: Facts and statistics. Retrieved from https://injury.research.chop.edu/violence-prevention-initiative/types-violence-involving-youth/gun-violence/gun-violence-facts-and#.W-2rbpNKhPY
- Everytown for Gun Safety. (2018). Gun violence in America. Retrieved from https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-america/
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That’s very interesting