Water is Life…..
One should quite rightly struggle to find a statement which is more self evident or easily provable. Every life form that we have ever encountered requires clean water in order to sustain life. Every major civilization known to man has been found within close proximity of a clean water source. We search deep space for extraterrestrial life simply by trying to locate an earth-like planet or moon that contains water, because we know that water is essential to life.
For these reasons, clean water, and the eco-system that supports it should be the most valuable commodities on earth, or at least to any living being. But, for some reason, the ongoing conflict around the Dakota Pipeline has become one more case where common sense and logic do not seem to prevail. Instead this issue has become a clash of cultures, once again making evident the many divisions, contradictions and unresolved conflicts throughout America’s past, and thus present.
One of the reasons for America’s massive ideological problems and duplicities around the ideas of Liberty and Freedom is the fact that it has never really apologized to those nations and peoples that it wronged and stepped on in order to get to its present position of power. Instead, it has taken the approach of hoping that its people will someday forget this well documented history. Actually, it insists that they forget, and takes actions to aid this process. Some people so hate political correctness because it serves as a constant reminder of this sordid history.
The act of not apologizing or admitting to wrong doing leads its children to believe that their ancestors’ sometimes disgusting deeds were somehow righteous. It leads to a logic which says that some people, for one reason or another, are less than human or inferior and thus deserving of the inhumane treatment they receive.
This belief is in direct conflict with idea of all men being created equal and endowed by God with inalienable rights. This is the very basis of the United State’s ethos, which is so often contradicted by its actions. America is, in many ways, schizophrenic.
This why throughout history native American treaties have been consistently violated, why unarmed black men can be gunned down by the police with impunity (sans public outcry), why the richest country in history can have some of the worst poverty on earth, why some Southerners still believe that they should have won the war, why a factions within a country of immigrants can vilify the whole concept of immigration, and why this country, founded on religious freedom, can elect a president who is clearly known bigot.
The process of truth and reconciliation has a purpose. It has been employed by most progressive nations who acknowledge the requirement of the perpetrator admitting to its past wrong doings in order for all to truly move on. Reparations are the legal part of this process, which is equally necessary, if any apology at the state level should be taken seriously.
Germany, Japan and South Africa are modern examples of this approach. “Political Correctness”, which in some ways is really base common courtesy practiced by thoughtful human beings, is a band aid on a very old wound which will never heal until we all take it seriously.
This moral void, and lack of national remorse allows racists and their various rotating hate organizations to call their behavior “free speech”, protected under the 1st amendment, when it is actually a form of terrorism. In this context, all men being created equal becomes another opinion, as opposed to an incontrovertible fact.
The truth is that, after years of being sold such fiction, many people in this country can no longer remember why affirmative action, the voter protection act, public housing, Native American reservations, etc were necessary. They cannot understand why there is a need to say #BlackLivesMatter right now, why #NODAPL is important, and why the #OccupyMovement is so concerned with the 1%.
Instead they are told to focus on Mexicans which people such as Trump say are taking their jobs. The truth is that Trump is part of and an active participant in a long history of the rich placing their own interests and greed for money above all else. The planet, nature, water, people, families, and yes, even the livelihoods of the white working class.
During economic downturns xenophobic and racist rhetoric, which usually lurks just beneath the surface, gains more visibility, as it becomes more attractive to the the “white” working class, who demand reasons for why as Americans they work non-stop but never get ahead. Rather than revealing the truth, Corporate Greed, Right-wing politicians (the surrogates of these same corporations) instead sow division, fear and distrust by using immigrants, jews, blacks, muslims, and government assistance programs as the ultimate scapegoats.
This is because as a country, we have made little to no effort to deal with the core reasons for why these problems exist. We have not made it part of our official policy to teach American history accurately, or feel the least bit of remorse for those that were wronged throughout this history.
If America truly wishes to be made whole, now more than ever, truth and reconciliation is needed.