It is July 3rd, 2020, a Friday, and I’m off from work for the Holiday. I can’t go anywhere because of Coronavirus, which is fine. Safer for everyone. Around 8 PM I find myself staring at my phone watching the Right Side Broadcasting Network’s coverage of the Mt. Rushmore fireworks display put on by the President. What I am seeing though, is the Indigenous People of South Dakota blocking a road to protest.
“I’m shocked by what I see because it shows me, again, how much I don’t know about US History, the true history.”B. Kay
Why do people protest? Because they have been oppressed for one reason or another throughout history. As I am watching all I can think about is the pain of history, the untold truths, and outright lies; my heart just hurts. As we’re still fighting for BLM and coming off the tail end of Pride Month, now there’s more unrest…
But, I realized, THIS is what makes me proud to be an American. The right of the people to protest the wrongdoings of others and stand up for what they believe in, their dreams, their futures. Regardless of any previous treaties, laws, rules, and guidelines, the Indigenous People here in America deserve to be heard and respected; not just because of what happened in history, but because they are human beings!
Fast Forward a couple of hours and Right Side is now showing images of Mt. Rushmore and an elaborately decorated red, white, and blue stage. The military band played several songs, the Governor of South Dakota gave a speech, Trump addressed his supporters, and then the fireworks started accompanied by music. America the Beautiful is playing as I stare blankly at my phone. My mind trails off as I hear the line, “America! America! God shed his grace on thee…”
What is beautiful about America in this moment? How, in the matter of a couple hours, can a news outlet go from showing the protest to celebrating the 4th? How can we just whitewash a National Event like a protest to celebrate a country in dire need of a systemic overhaul? How, a day after livestreaming on YouTube, is there no mention of anything that happened on RSBN’s front page?
In digging further, I couldn’t find mention of the protest anywhere on their site. No video or attempt at documenting what happened. The protest was an inconvenience for their reporters in getting to Mt. Rushmore, but ever so easy to sweep under a rug and forget about. The American spirit is about righting wrongs, coming to terms with injustices, and continuous improvement, to make America and the World a better place for all.
When did we lose sight of the big picture? I want America “the” beautiful, but not at the cost of human lives.B. Kay
I implore the American people to stop looking at what you already know and find out the truth about all sides of history. With an open mind, a bit of compassion, open communication, and compromise, this isn’t such a lofty dream. I have faith that America will be beautiful again; not the “great” so many Trump supporters want again.