“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
Martin Luther King
Warning, a bit of an American political rant, as I am trying to wrap my head around what is right, what is good, and how our country is moving on.
Today in the U.S. we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the man who was integral to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. As the country takes a federal holiday, we also prepare for the inauguration of our first female Vice President, who happens also to be a women of color. And our capital city battens down for what appears to be a day of violence about the election last month.
The question is, if we are to use this time creatively, if indeed it is ripe to do right, what is right? There are some who ask for unity, some for accountability. A group of pastors wrote to King in 1963, a letter calling for unity, (you can read it here.)
The call for unity then was a beseeching, let things work quietly, the courts will works and we can go back to the way they were before there were demonstrations for civil rights. To protect the egos of the white people, I mean who wants to be called racist? Peace at any price.
I hear the same things with the current calls for unity. Those that are pleading for unity are doing so at the cost of accountability. They did not call for unity without accountability this past summer during the black lives matter protests. They wanted arrests, as “one of the rifts running through American society has become more obvious, the one between those who think a society should rest on a foundation of liberty and justice for all and those who think it should rest on orderly property relations.” (Rebecca Solnit)
Calls for unity are again, to protect white people, the insurrectionists, those who were fed a lie about the election being fraudulent and were therefore encouraged to fight for their leader. There is a clear difference between insurrection, and protesting. There is a clear difference between attempting to kidnap and possible assassinate state and federal elected officials, and burning down a business. Really. There is no comparing the protests for equal justice and what seems to be an attempt to overthrow the government, led by officials who want to have more power. Calls for unity in this instance is to once again demonstrate the discrepancies of our justice system. White people do not have the same consequences as black people. (Read about it here )
There can be no unity without accountability. There can be no unity without justice. We cannot move forward and ever call ourselves leaders of the free world without accountability and justice.