Cope vs. Hope; How I Choose to Survive America Burning

Trying to find a reason to still hope…

America would not exist if it weren’t for racism. Consider that.

It was white racism that fueled the mass slaughter of Native Americans, and it was white racism that figured it was OK for the visitors to shove the occupants onto reservations.

That covers the land.

It was white racism that powered the cotton industry, America’s first great economic engine which powered its ascent into the super power colossus that it is today. Of course, there would not have been a cotton industry without slavery. Which is why when you may hear some so-called radicals make the claim that America was built on the backs of Black people? Yeah, well, it kinda was.

That covers the money.

So when you combine stolen land together with free labor provided by folks who were stolen from their own land to help someone else across the ocean build up the land they stole — which makes it NOT their own land - then you pretty much have America.

OK, that’s abbreviated. I know. But that’s the basic gist of it. White people came, they saw, they stole land, and then they conquered. Then they went across the sea to steal some people who they would brutalize into turning their stolen land into their own personal paradise.

Which brings me back to the fact that America would not exist without racism. This country was built on it. Racism is in America’s bones, it is in the blood. It is in the water. The air is toxic with it. It wasn’t just George Floyd who couldn’t breathe, nor was Eric Garner the first. Black America has been unable to take an unobstructed breath in this country ever since it was founded. If we’re honest about it, none of us can breathe.

Because normal and essential activities such as breathing become somewhat difficult to do when you spend every day trying to just survive in a country that hates you. Doesn’t make it easier when the country that hates you is the country that you keep trying to call home. Imagine if your mother and father beat you every day of your life just because you are you. It’s something like that; painful, brutal, and inexplicable because you just can’t understand…why.

What did I do, Momma? What did I do?

But despite all this, there are those who continue to insist that there is reason to hope. That we should never abandon hope. Keep hope alive. All that shit. I used to be one of those people. I am not one of those people any more. I have made the conscious decision to abandon hoping for coping. Because I am learning that hoping this country will ever be better than what it has been for the past 400 years will not only break your heart, it might just get you killed.

Hoping means you are willing to keep slamming your head into the wall, believing that the pain is worth it because a brighter day is on the other side. Coping means you have finally realized that this is the way it is and you had better devise some serious survival skills and strategies to survive in this madness if you don’t want to lose your fucking mind. Or your life.

To be clear, I am not condemning anyone who continues to hold out hope. Because I hope that I am proven wrong, and that they are right. But when someone asked me recently what I thought about all that is going on with the riots, the burning, the rage, I could only respond that it was like watching a summer re-run. I turned 62 recently and those who are anywhere near my age actually know what those were. But for those who don’t, it means I have seen this all before, and not just once. I can honestly say that America has not gotten one bit better during my entire lifespan.

Not. One. Bit.

Black people are still being killed by the police. The public schools are more segregated now than at the time of Brown vs. Board of Education. The President of the United States isn’t just a damned fool, he is a white supremacist. And nearly 40 percent of this country still supports him. In spite of it all.

In a normal universe, not only would Trump never have been elected, he never would have made it to the stage. In a slightly less than normal universe, Trump gets elected, but then America realizes “Holy shit! What the fuck did we just do?”

And that is the end of that.

But in America? There is still the chance that Trump could win a second term. And people who consider themselves intellectuals, liberals, progressives, etc., are still criticizing Obama for his shortcomings while the country is burning down due to his successor.

So yeah, hope doesn’t really do it for me anymore. And, to be honest, I’m really not sure how much longer I can cope…

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