A friend is considering moving to Europe. She has become disgusted with the racial hatred, the insurrection, the division, Trump’s behavior, and the refusal of the Republican Party to hold him accountable. She is equally frustrated by politicians refusing to recognize the likely environmental catastrophe and has little hope that America will turn things around.
It was hard to hear.
So, I started to reflect on who could help us now, and my thoughts went to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of course, he would be 93 now…but I am convinced that if he were here, he could heal us. Just a few quotes from him made me hopeful.
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
- “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.”
- “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
I can hear his melodic, comforting, calm voice. This is the voice of a man who had been badly abused; and had to comfort people who had faced pure evil. He understood, as did Gandhi, that it breaks a person’s soul to abuse others when they won’t retaliate.
But we can’t benefit from his wisdom because we let him die.
By not protecting him, by not warning him of the imminent danger, the agency created to protect its people (FBI) was guilty of neglect. Instead of focusing on his safety, the FBI investigated him and allowed white supremacy groups to move freely.
And sadly, that is happening today. The most dangerous terrorists we face are our fellow citizens.
I watched a recent documentary on Netflix about white supremacist groups. These groups are convinced that Trump’s refusal to condemn their behavior are coded messages of support. (Of course, the people that are in these white supremacy groups and their intellectually challenged leaders are a constant reminder of the absence of white supremacy.)
But the tragedy is that the philosophy that killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is still allowed in America by the organizations that are supposed to protect us.
The behavior of some leaders and organizations during the Capitol riot is suspicious. The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was both a security failure and an intelligence failure. But was it a planned failure or caused by neglect?
The groups that are there to protect us, were not there to protect us. The Secretary of the Army initially refused to provide National Guard Resources. The Department of Homeland Security was conspicuously absent. The US Capitol Police chief initially refused to ask for resources, despite warnings of imminent violence. Capitol and Washington DC police fought with their lives; despite being mysteriously understaffed. Two Capitol police were suspended for supporting the rioters.
There was significant intelligence that there would be violence on January 6th. Yet, leadership did not take the threat seriously and during its worst, delayed requesting additional support. Despite this being an obvious coup, the military was nowhere to be found.
We now know that Trump contributed, his incendiary speech and his attempt to shut down the metal detectors. The January 6 texts from the Secret Service (who is part of the Department of Homeland Security) have mysteriously and perhaps illegally been deleted. It has been revealed that Mike Pence was concerned that the Secret Service might not take him to the Capitol Building to certify the election.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is one of the few Republicans who condemned his actions. “I never thought I’d see a day like this in America. All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s Capitol.”
Trump’s behavior will be revealed tonight; but we know that he did not ask the rioters to leave until 4 hours after they broke through the minimal defenses of the Capitol building. Once he asked them to leave, most left quietly, inexplicably aided by some members of the Capitol police.
There remains a lack of concentrated effort on protecting us from hate groups. Despite a clear mandate from Congress, the FBI has yet to produce statistics revealing the scale of white supremacist crimes. A former FBI agent, Michael German, is critical of the FBI.
“When I was undercover in the 1990s I was warned about sympathy towards white supremacy among officers.” In 2006 the FBI learned that white supremacists and those supportive of their causes had infiltrated law enforcement agencies. Yet, there has been no national effort to root out these individuals.
“I think that’s a reflection of lack of concern for the victims of that violence. White supremacists kill far more Americans than anybody else,” German said.
So, it is easy to understand my friend’s frustration.
I hope that holding these institutions to task will make them more accountable.
And, determined to be optimistic, I focus on the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Our country misses him so….
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.