Alemayehu G. Maraim
“Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood From Sea to Shining Sea”!
Dear President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris:
Congratulations on your inauguration!
I write to ask you to MAKE AMERICA BEAUTIFUL AGAIN in the next four years.
I love Ray Charles’ soulful rendition of America the Beautiful performed in the shadow of the Capitol.
Ray “The Genius” Charles had a special touch on America the Beautiful:
…You know, God done shed his grace on thee
He crowned thy good, yes he did, in brotherhood
From sea to shining sea…
On January 6, 2021, that same hallowed ground Ray performed on was the scene of disgrace, discredit and dishonor on America the Beautiful.
The world witnessed in America the proverbial and stereotypical “Ugly American” depicted in the 1958 Eugene Burdick and William Lederer novel of the same name.
America the Beautiful was desecrated before the whole world as its temple of representative democracy was pillaged and plundered.
America’s beautiful Constitution was nearly torched by homegrown terrorists hellbent on executing a coup d’état as Donald Trump and his accomplices cried havoc, “Stop the Steal”, and let loose the dogs of civil war on the U.S. Congress to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.
Today, January 20, 2021, America emerges from a long, four-year long dark night of captivity to enjoy a joyous daybreak.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness… Only light can make America beautiful!
This year we celebrated “MLK Day” on January 18, 2021.
It is tragic we could not celebrate MLK Day, Day of Peace, along with Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., because our nation’s capital has been turned into a war zone following a domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol.
Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
That darkness lives in the hearts and minds of people.
That darkness must be driven out of the hearts and minds of the American people with the light of love to make America beautiful again.
Joseph Stalin reportedly remarked, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths a statistic.”
When 400 thousand Americans die from Covid-19 under your watch, that is a tragedy. When you forget that tragedy and obsess about a “stolen election”, that is darkness that must be driven out of one’s heart and mind.
When millions of Americans have lost their jobs and hundreds of thousands of businesses closed and you believe, “We built the greatest economy in the history of the world”, that is darkness that must be driven out of heart and mind.
When you are pumped up with lies and disinformation and march on the Capitol, the citadel of American democracy, believing you are “loved and very special” to commit terrorism, that is darkness that must be driven out of heart and mind.
When you assign a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it and declare there are “very fine people on both sides”, that is darkness that must be driven out of heart and mind.
When you reject the idea that all Americans — black, white, brown, yellow and red — “are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny and whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”, that is darkness that must be driven out of heart and mind.
When you point a holier-than-thou accusatory finger at another American and are oblivious that three fingers are pointing at you, that is darkness that must be driven out of heart and mind.
President Biden and Vice President Harris, such is the legacy of darkness you must struggle against.
It is not possible to drive out the darkness in the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans by perpetuating darkness but by shining the light of love.
Dr. King talked about this kind of brotherly love and compassion using the Greek concept of “agape”, broadly defined as “understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men and women.”
So, on this Inauguration Day, I urge you both and my fellow Americans to reflect and act daily inspired by the words of Dr. King and overcome hate and make America beautiful again.
[W]e must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us has something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives. Something within us…to repeat with the Apostle Paul, ‘The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.’ This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath. the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God’s image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love.
Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims. We have seen its ugly consequences in the ignominious deaths brought to six million Jews by hate-obsessed madman named Hitler, in the unspeakable violence inflicted upon Negroes by bloodthirsty mobs, in the dark horrors of war, and in the terrible indignities and injustices perpetrated against millions of God’s children by unconscionable oppressors.
But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. (Italics added.)
So, President Biden and Vice President Harris, on this your inauguration, I ask you to work day and night against the dark forces of hate and MAKE AMERICA BEAUTIFUL AGAIN!
LET ALL AMERICANS JOIN HANDS IN BROTHERHOOD FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA ON JANUARY 20, 2021 AND MAKE AMERICA BEAUTIFUL AGAIN!
On a personal note
Let Americans learn from a Cherokee fable of the good and bad wolf
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is one of the largest native American nations in the United States.
The Cherokee people have been subjected to unspeakable suffering. History remembers their suffering as the ‘Trail of Tears’.
The Cherokee have wonderful folktales and traditional stories.
One of my favorites is the folktale of a grandfather teaching his grandson about good and evil.
I have found great wisdom in this instructive folktale.
‘A fight is going on inside me’, the grandfather told his grandson.
‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
‘One is an evil wolf who is full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
‘The other is a good wolf. He loves joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The grandfather added, ‘The same fight is going on inside you and every other person, too.’
The grandson thought about what his grandfather said and asked, ‘Which wolf will win?’
The grandfather replied, ‘The one you feed.’
Let us starve the bad wolf in our hearts.
Let us feed the good wolf in our hearts and MAKE AMERICA BEAUTIFUL AGAIN!