Bonfire For The Vanities

Ken Makin

Before Wednesday’s inauguration, nearly 200,000 flags were placed to represent the hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to attend the presidential event, but could not because of COVID-19.

With respect to the laborers and the tremendous effort involved, twice as many flags should have been placed.

The morning before the inauguration, more than 400,000 lives had been claimed by the coronavirus — and the country’s mishandling of the pandemic. Two Wednesdays ago, the unthinkable happened — a storming of the Capitol by rabid Trump supporters who wanted to overturn the election.

And yet, here were our heroes for an inauguration — with pomp and circumstance, performance and grandstanding, because it takes a lot of imbalance to stand on the bodies of over 400,000 people.

What are we celebrating again?

During the course of King Solomon’s biblical lament, he remarked there is a time for everything — a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. But what are we celebrating, again? Did hell turn to heaven that fast?

Are we celebrating the end of Trump’s term? Ding dong, the witch is dead, they said. 

And yet the spell remains — the witchcraft of white supremacy, which certain predates the wicked witch. It can be seen in burning crosses and hoods with holes cut in them, and so much more. It is so potent, so pungent that even among the self-serving parade, Washington was a city at war. Even among the soldiers, one could not tell what each individual fought for.

Compromised? Compromise! Yes, that’s the word of the day. But you won’t hear it like that. You’ll hear the words “unity” and “bipartisanship.” We will forget that they have the power to reverse the policy of the last four years and the last four hundred years. This is what they campaigned on when they asked us to turn red into blue.

The sky is purple now, filled with the haze of hatred and hegemony. We laugh at sports teams from Georgia when they inexplicably craft losses out of sure victory. Yet here are the Dems, fresh off of recapturing the Senate, handing out concessions to a party that cosigned a coup.

The old man did say “nothing would fundamentally change.” And what a juxtaposition from that other old man who sat a few yards away with his arms folded. 

That old man wanted healthcare for all. He wanted to cancel select debts. He too, had a sizable lead.

And then the Secession State, with its oppressive history, stepped in. It remembered how much the old man loved that segregationist Strom Thurmond. And it lifted him as only this wicked country can.

The AUDACITY when that former president said only the old man could have beaten the wicked witch. Ah, bipartisanship! Cue the choir! And the choir director agreed to a selection of Lift Every Voice And Sing.

It wasn’t always this vain. There was the summer of lambs. Of George, Breonna and Ahmaud. And many more lambs. The world burned for a bit — no more singing. Just singed.

The cleansing fire threatened to reveal the truths of this “republic,” and expose the deceptions of this “democracy” and capitalism. 

But Black Lives Sold. As they did since the beginning. And those lives died in vain.

Surely the blood of the lambs should have given us more than a prince of prisons and a chief prosecutor? Our memories can’t possibly be this short!

They are.

The names change, but the game, it remains the same. We have been felled by fist bumps and fashion, by flowing robes and flowery rhetoric. We root for everybody Black — even if that “blackness” is a masterful caricature.

Former President Barack Obama greets Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

And while they drip, we drown.

We celebrate them having everything while they lead us closer to having nothing. Two thousand becomes 1,400 which was never enough in the first place and HAVEN’T WE HAD ENOUGH?

No. Hell no! Strike up the Black bands. Play the imperial march. And keep throwing in the dollar bills. And the dead bodies. So the bonfire can keep burning.

Ken Makin is the host of the Makin’ A Difference show and a freelance columnist.

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