View From Here
By David Mark Greaves
It’s 2022 and Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian army to invade Ukraine, beginning a full-scale war in Europe, and here at home there are attacks on Black people and suppression of the Black vote. As a Baby Boomer, it feels like history is having a déjà vu moment and it is an unsettling time to be paying attention.
The war will be the largest European incursion since WW II. Headlines like “War in Europe” have no place in this time. Yes, we’ve seen tanks in the news rolling through the sands of the middle east, but seeing them today in the mud of Europe, same as in the black and white movies of the forties and fifties, says that something very dangerous is going on and must be stopped.
Recent reporting is that Vladimir Putin has an objective of reversing history and taking back countries once a part of the USSR, and taking Ukraine is only a part of that mission. He is a bully and he must be stopped.
Still Voter Suppression and Racism
Somehow I thought we’d be further along than this. All of our lives, we’ve either watched, or been in, battles for voting rights, jobs and equal education, to name the big three of a long list of the front lines we fight on. And now we see the racial progress clock being reset to where we came in, with votes being suppressed, and Black people being excluded from the polls in states across the country. After all the beatings Fanie Lou Hamer endured, after the Freedom Summer murders of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, after the thousands of miles marched and choruses of “We Shall Overcome”, we find ourselves facing a return to the fifties and to draconian anti-voting laws and 3/5th citizenship.
Individually, there has been progress. There are great talents in technology, arts, business, that can be pointed to. And yet when you begin to look at the numbers in any of the much-reported “Gaps” of wealth, health, treatment in law and more, in the aggregate, they show we still have a terrible long way to go.
Yes, there will be a super-qualified Black woman on the Supreme Court, a role model for girls of color, the fear is that it could be a hollow victory, sitting on an authoritarian court in an authoritarian country. It’s true however, in a generation’s time, perhaps after a great upheaval, she will be chief justice on a very different court, in a very different era, with that young Black girl having grown up with the Justice as a part of her life.
Our charge is to organize and have that great upheaval now and prevent that authoritarian state from ever coming into being. Such a world would be a horror for the nation, and if history tells us anything, it will devastate the Black community.
So all we have to do now is get the war, voter suppression, Covid-19, and the authoritarian state under control, and then we can get to the existential challenges of fighting climate change and pollution of air, land and sea.
Welcome to 2022. It’s shaping up like another year we won’t want to remember.