On Friday, January 17, 2019, a sordid modern day short-lived tragedy unfolded in close proximity to the Lincoln Memorial. A national site that serves as an aide mémoire to the most divisive time in the nation’s history and the subsequent slow healing process, the Lincoln Memorial is a hallowed tiny piece of ground that stands as a remarkable testimony to the courage of those who stood and fought for decency.
This ignoble tragedy included protagonists, antagonists, and an out-of-control chorus.
Hebrew Israelites, well over 100 Covington Catholic High (Park Hills, Kentucky) students on a politically indoctrinating outing as part of the annual Washington, DC, March for Life (that brings Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians and Catholics in a joint effort to spew their venom), and several leaders of Native America organizations attempting to bring attention to the plight and disregard of Native Nations’ concerns that include land theft, exploitation of natural recourses that have a detrimental impact on the environment, and the passage of legislation that protects Native American women from violence and murder.
While the narrative, including the charges and counter-charges, are an evolving cut and paste of facts provided by witnesses, video recordings, and those involved in this loathsome circus of odious behavior, the online reports have thus far demonstrated how two years of Donald Trump have legitimized hatred and given license to racist, bigoted, and misogynist rhetoric and vituperative of the worst kind.
It is not clear whether the Black Israelites (an ethno-religious group) initiated the confrontation with the high school students as a response to the latter’s chanting that awful “Build the Wall” chant. That many of the students wore their red Make America Great Again caps might have served as the muleta to the handful of vocal bizarrely dressed Black Israelites (Hasidic-Jewish/ Afro attire).
According to Nathan Phillips, a tribal leader and a Vietnam veteran, he decided to use his prayer chant diffuse the tension that was building up between the students and the Black Israelites.
While beating his drum and chanting a Native American prayer, Phillips stepped forward to buffer the two groups and came face to face with Covington High School student Nick Sandman.
Age and youth came face to face, and Native America came face to face with the progeny of white colonialism.
If, in tribal traditions, age commands and expects reverence and respect, then youth, in its foolishness and arrogance, flaunts foolhardiness.
And thus it was that the facing off between a Native American elder/chieftain exercising his traditional ritualistic conflict resolution chant and the wet behind the ears childish demeanor of a white-Anglo Saxon kid of immigrant stock will go down as the clash between white, Native American, and African children and men.
Somewhere in all this mix this nation needs to take an abrupt and extended pause. Led by an egotistical maniac whose daily fabrication of facts are laced with anger, hatred, and rancor, a Democratic and Republican Congress that has sold and prostituted its principles to the highest bidder, A Supreme Court that considers corporations to be individuals, corporations that are squeezing the masses, a defense industry that is enamored with perpetual wars, and (for the most part) spiritual leaders egging on and supporting the national circus that is called Washington, DC, the American population need to become more informed and more pro-active.
Dear Slumbering Masses, will you please wake up?
Instead of participating in the March for Life, The Covington High Schools’ administrators and teachers would have served their students better had they led them in anti-war, anti-hunger and pro-social justice marches.
While the bizarre chanting, jumping, and childish behavior might have been the result of reflexive groupthink conduct, it is also the result of an ongoing assault on human decency.
Unfortunately, this is the same kind of behavior both tolerated and condoned at some of these private, religiously-affiliated schools where the young are taught to feel and behave in an obnoxious fashion, where Latin, grammar, and science are laced with arrogance and superiority.
One doesn’t have to look far. Just think Brett Kavanaugh and his ilk running this country.