First day of school, 52 years ago, out front of Northside Junior High School in Norfolk, Va., Coach explained the locker room and assigned lockers. “Now listen boys, we are going to work you hard. At the end of gym you’re going to’ be all hot, stinky and sweaty and you don’t want to go through your whole day smelling like that. So, we recommend you take a shower after gym. We used to require it before we had to integrate the schools.”

It was 1967 the year of the Detroit Riots. The next spring Martin Luther King was assassinated.

We have come a very long way in this country since then. And, we haven’t.

Our schools are mostly mixed now but our neighborhoods are not. Our work places are likewise more diverse while our leadership is mostly white men. Ten years ago we elected a black President. Two years ago we elected a racist demigod.

Our President would Make American Great and White Again. He feeds his MAGA hat wearing base lies and hate designed to demean, to endanger, anyone who doesn’t look like him. Autocrats need enemies and so he tweets on, diverting his followers’ attention from the destruction of the environment, the tax giveaways to corporations, our crumbling highways and his admiration for Vladimir Putin. He would divide our country to salve a narcissist personality.

We are at an important juncture in America. Senator Collins says our president has crossed the line. Good. Now what is she going to do? Words are cheap. Action takes effort. I see none. Instead I read valueless statements and this toxic behavior is allowed to continue. We need to decide if the reactionary forces that would turn the clock back to the time of Jim Crow or are we going to continue moving into the 21’st century with all of it’s challenges and opportunities.

Robert Sessums

North Yarmouth

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