A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Consider this scenario.
A country ruled by an ethnic majority exploits an ethnic minority. The exploitation begins with enslavement, using members of the minority group as economic assets, their labor and output fueling the country’s rise to international prominence. At the cost of a civil war, a horrific conflagration between factions of the majority group, that enslavement is outlawed, only to be replaced by its de facto equivalent. As punishment for engineering this accomplishment, the country’s president, a member of the majority, is assassinated by one of his own.
Over the next century, members of the minority join the country’s military to fight wars against its enemies abroad, not as equals but as second-class soldiers who are treated worse than the enemy upon their return home. At the same time, minority owners of property and businesses are systematically stripped of their assets, often by violent means that result in the deaths of many, and the disenfranchisement of all.
In many parts of the country, not just the region most closely associated with the enslavement, members of the minority group are routinely hunted down and murdered, hung by the neck until dead from the branches of trees, often in front of majority families gathered in celebration.
During the alleged maturation of this country into the world’s leading power, members of the minority group contribute to every branch of science and the arts. Despite the majority’s reluctance to honor these achievements, the global community benefits.
The accomplishments of minority athletes permanently alter the world of sports.
A minority leader rises above his people, saint-like in his effort to influence the majority-controlled legislative body to complete the second emancipation. As a reward, he is assassinated, along with others, majority and minority, who were sympathetic to his cause.
Despite this execrable history, another minority leader accedes to power. His mother was a member of the majority, but he identifies with his father’s minority lineage. Because the father was born in another country, he faces withering accusations that he is not qualified to be president. A coalition of the majority and minority elects him anyway…twice.
During his administration, he rises above the internecine struggles of the legislative and judicial branches to actually govern. The economy improves. A sworn enemy of the country, the architect of its worst domestic tragedy, is hunted down and eliminated. National health care becomes a reality.
Seemingly as retribution, a wave of majority crimes against the minority, particularly by state and local police, grows out of proportion to the societal norm, an index that perplexes the rest of the world. Unarmed members of the minority, most but not all of them male, are choked, shot and otherwise murdered under spurious circumstances. Many of these crimes are recorded on video.
A majority teen walks into a minority church, prays for some time with a group of its most ardent congregationalists, then shoots nine of them to death, sparing one of them so that she can tell the world what happened. Many members of the majority support this individual, claiming that the time for ethnic war has arrived.
The majority governor of a state orders a change in the source of drinking water to a town with a predominantly minority population…with full prior knowledge that the new source is poisonous. The town continues to charge its minorities for the tainted water, while supplying bottled water to its majority municipal employees.
These are the artifacts of a failed state, not in the political sense, but the moral sense. As it has in the past, the United States would lead the world’s condemnation of such blatant ethnic abuse.
Except, this is the United States, and all we do is anticipate the faults of our next leader, whoever he or she might be.
Copyright 2016 Woody Lewis
Woody Lewis is the founder and CEO of Smart Narrative Network.