January 12, 2021
The last four years have been a very overwhelming time for all of us. The anxiety, fear, and dread at turning on the news, and now sheer terror with hundreds – now thousands – of people in this country dying every day in a pandemic, it has all seemed never-ending. In his presidency, Trump created an overt atmosphere of white privilege and white power that was somehow under some kind of threat from the climate of change that was quietly enveloping our country. These divisions were visible from the halls of Congress to Main Street, USA.
Almost immediately in his presidency, Trump instituted a ban on immigration, first from predominately Muslim countries, and then for people from countries in this hemisphere fleeing violence from their own governments to come here, where they were confronted with incredibly inhumane treatment. His actions were condemned internationally, from the United Nations on down. He supported white power groups – in Charlottesville and through countless instances of abuses of police power across the country – and, in the end, unleashed a mob of white supremacists to invade and take over the U.S. Capitol building this past week in an attempt to prevent a Constitutionally-mandated procedure from taking place that would have affirmed the 2020 national election naming someone else as President. The terrifying part of this is the extent to which white nationalists and supremacists appear to have infiltrated all levels of law enforcement which compromises everyone’s safety.
The climate of change quietly enveloping our country? It didn’t start with the 2020 elections. Maryland NOW and other groups here supported a black minister and a young Jewish man to become U.S. Senators. And from a state – Georgia – that hadn’t elected anyone from either group in centuries, if ever. But in 2018, leaders of progressive change in Washington became a “squad” of young women of color – first-generation Americans – who had a very different vision for the future of this country. Ignored by mainstream Democrats, they became a voice moving the political discourse to the left in breathtaking fashion.
The U.S. Capitol building stands for many as a shrine to our representative democracy. Many of us felt fear and rage at the scenes of the violent attacks there on Wednesday, January 6. President-elect Joe Biden will not be sworn in as the 46th President of the U.S. until January 20th and our news feeds are already full of rumblings from these right-wing white supremacist groups that they are “not done” attacking our institutions of government both figuratively and literally. Still, film from various sources of the insurgent attack suggests that it was far more serious and violent than was initially apparent.
Meanwhile, we are heading into at least two months of skyrocketing deaths from COVID and here in Maryland we only this past week got our governor to allocate funds for struggling families. Maryland NOW can make only tentative plans for the year with this huge unknown of the disease’s progression looming.
Harder to address and change will be the systemic racism in our country and the roots of the various cults and white power groups who have made it known that – Trump’s election loss (or not) aside – they are not going either quietly or anywhere in the coming years. They have already announced that there is more to come from what we watched in horror on January 6th.
Interest in working for women’s rights, coming to us through email and our website, is growing. We are now able to reorganize several chapters we haven’t had as active for several years. New members are bringing us skills and ideas for growth for which we are very grateful. But there is lots to do. We welcome everyone and want to let you all know your participation means everything to our success.
The Maryland NOW Executive Committee
Sandy Bell, President
Barbara Hays, Executive Vice-President
Jerry Blum, Treasurer