"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
~ George Santayana
I have never experienced the terror some of my ancestors suffered through during a night ride of the Klan. Many were afraid. Some retaliated. Others detoured the ride with some buckshots of their own. Too many died.
The night riding of the Klan is important when considering that the Klan reached heights of membership in response to The Reconstruction. In short, The Reconstruction is a brief period following The Civil War in which African Americans rose to levels of prominence financially and politically. It's a small window of time, but with additional study it becomes apparent that that small window of time consisted of significant accomplishment. Accomplishments that include but are not limited to the election of African American senators and congressmen along with the development of the Freedman's Bureau whose work was foundational in the establishment of what would become Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
For a people of whom a percentage had been enslaved, the Reconstruction was a period of opportunity - a small window of hope.
In a window of time not much shorter than the Reconstruction, we have gone from hoping that Senator Obama would become President Obama to hoping that the 2016 Presidential Race is a bad dream from which we will awaken. With President Obama, we've gotten used to hope. We've hoped that his leadership would steer us through a financial crisis and trouble abroad. We've even hoped that in spite of disappointment (see Parent Plus Loan debacle), things would improve.
Yet, amid all our hoping, we harbored fear. Primarily, a fear of what could happen next.
To say I am less than enthused by the Hillary Clinton campaign is an understatement. To say that I am repulsed by the Donald Trump campaign is beyond understatement. The magnitude of my repulsion does not stem from the copious number of lies spewed by Mr. Trump - he has always been a transparent charlatan. I'm repulsed by the racist fanaticism that is, shall we say, "trumped-up" by his campaign.
Although I am an independent voter, I intially thought that there would be no way that the GOP would allow that miscreant to lead their party. It appears I was wrong.
Then I thought, there is no way any logically thinking person would be swayed by this deviant.
Now my thoughts place this aberrantly bizarre campaign in a historical perspective - are we witnessing the pendulum swing the other way?
As pendulums tend to do.
From Hiram Revels to Andrew Johnson.
From Coleman Young to Rick Synder.
From Barack Obama to ?
We know that President Johnson indirectly endorsed the dismantling of the Reconstruction. We know that Governer Synder rode a wave of backlash that had some incorrectly believing Jennifer Granholm was responsible for Michigan's economic misery. We also know that Donald Trump wishes to make America great again. But does he mean great as in during the Reconstruction or after?
He probably has no idea what the Reconstruction is. Given that it was not taught at Trump University.
But the real question does not rest with the Trump or Clinton campaign, the real question lies with us, the people. What are we going to do to slow this pendulum swing?