America is treading in perilous and unprecedented historical waters

July 24, 2023 5:45 am

(Bulat Silvia/iStock Images)

Much of what we are witnessing in local and national politics goes beyond typical partisan policy differences and divides.

There are real efforts to dismantle what America has purported to be about — A land where all of its citizens have the same rights under the Constitution.

Some of the rhetoric and proposed policies in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress during the last decade are efforts to change that America in fundamental ways.

One could argue that the “new” America that is struggling for dominance today has always been there. That there indeed have always been two Americas masquerading as one.

There is plenty of evidence.

Just look at the ongoing efforts in many states to limit, deny or make it difficult for qualified citizens, particularly minorities, to vote because of the continuing promotion of “The Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

There are many elected officials even to this day perpetuating “The Big Lie,” either by accepting it, enabling it or refusing to deny it.

In addition to the regressive efforts to make voting more difficult, there are other trends gaining momentum that are just as alarming.


What about the penchant for utter disregard and lack of adherence to the rule of law? The rule of law is the glue that holds a country and its government together especially a democratic republic like America.

Yet, former President Donald Trump, who should be the model practitioner, has unabashedly disrespected and debased the rule of law and the institutions and traditions that support them.

Despite his words and actions, he still enjoys broad support from prominent elected officials and many Americans, especially among fellow Republicans.

If such blatant behavior is ignored, allowed and supported by other elected officials and governing institutions, how can the nation stand and survive?

It cannot.

America is treading in perilous and unprecedented historical waters with the multiple indictments of a past president, who is also a current 2024 presidential candidate and enjoys popularity among a large percentage of Americans. How it all will be resolved is yet to be determined.

But it is certainly creating some very unsettling and muddled times, where focus on the issues and needs that should be addressed to make America stronger and better are getting lost.

Where the rule of the day among those elected officials who should be leading the way is to punch or throw a counter punch, lie or ignore a lie, deflect rather than face an issue head on.

Then there are the perennial and systemic issues around race.

When we thought we were making progress, there are efforts to ban books, control what is taught in secondary schools — all to deny and rewrite history when it comes to how Blacks have been treated in America.

Recent rulings by lower courts and the Supreme Court have bolstered those efforts.

The abolishment of Affirmative Action by the Supreme Court should not be a surprise because one America believes that Blacks either have always had equal access and equal opportunity, or they simply don’t deserve either. That there is no need for remedy.

Implicitly, it reinforces the notion that Blacks do not have the same inalienable rights as whites, and never should when it comes to getting a quality education, a good job, or a decent house.


Dismantling Affirmative Action in education is just the tip of the long-standing disenfranchisement iceberg.

Commitments to improve equal access in employment and other efforts for diversity and inclusivity will be challenged and impacted in negative ways, moving forward.

It has already begun — just weeks after the Supreme Court ruling.

The emerging America wishes to keep Blacks as second-class citizens in every aspects of American life, based on the false version of history that says Blacks have never been discriminated against.

That America is also embracing the so-called cultural wars that are targeted not only against Blacks, immigrants and the LGBTQ community but also include legislative initiatives designed to control reproductive rights, religious freedom and other individual rights.

The current Defense Budget Bill moving through Congress seems to be caught up in elements of the cultural war.

Do you like the emerging America?

Thankfully, there are still many citizens of the America governed by our Constitution and rule of law that are grounded by our institutions and traditions — the America that is tolerant, embracing, and believe in the equality of humanity, regardless of skin color, regardless of a person’s station in life, regardless of where a person lives.

There are those who would argue that there has always been two Americas masquerading as one great benevolent melting pot, while both fighting for influence and for dominance when it comes to politics, economic stability and educational achievement.

Both — under one flag proudly representing, tugging and embracing diametrically opposed views and forces — claiming to be the right path toward greatness.

One or the other achieving dominance at different points in the nation’s history. What a journey. But, is it a journey we should deny or abandon?

One America seemed to have been winning until recently.

Which America are you a part of and claim as yours?

More importantly, which America will prevail?

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis

Janice Ellis has lived and worked in Missouri for more than three decades, analyzing educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. Her commentary has appeared in The Kansas City Star, community newspapers, on radio and now online. She is the author of two award-winning books: From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream (2018) and Shaping Public Opinion: How Real Advocacy Journalism™ Should be Practiced (2021). Ellis holds a Ph.D. in communication arts, and two Master of Arts degrees, one in communications arts and a second in political science, all from the University of Wisconsin.