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A split America, but not by Trump (Part two)

In the first part we introduced two Americas that don’t talk to each other. Two Americas perfectly represented by the words of the founder of Black Lives Matter in Cleveland, LaTonya Goldsby and the executive director of Free Ohio, Jack Hack.

In the first part we introduced two Americas that don’t talk to each other. Two Americas perfectly represented by the words of the founder of Black Lives Matter in Cleveland, LaTonya Goldsby and the executive director of Free Ohio, Jack Hack.

The first one defends the mission of the movement of which she is the founder and denies the violence and extremism for which several in the country still criticize it today, especially from the republican side.

The second, however, is not so convinced and says it without any mincing words. “Don’t you see it? By now at the Black Lives Matter demonstrations there are more and more young whites, basically from the upper middle class, supported by their parents, who play socialist with other people’s money: they don’t even know why they should be there “, attacks Hack, showing a photo of a young activist at a BLM protest in Mentor, holding a sign that reads: “Capitalism die, we want socialism”.

According to Goldsby, the presence of so many people of different ethnicities and backgrounds in the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping across the country is the proof that the movement is becoming as mass as it should. “For me they are simple extremes,” says Hack instead.

“Violent and extremist people, Antifa and neo-communists who want to take away from us the right to live our Country with freedom and in freedom,” he says again, peremptory. Hack has a completely different personal story than Goldsby. He served the country in Iraq as a military man. In the Republican primary in 2016 he supported Ted Cruz. He is practicing Catholic. He sees Mike Pence as too pro-establishment politician.

He strongly believes in Donald Trump, in the right to arm, and he will definitely vote for him again.

“Our country is based on capitalism, on the concept of freedom and on the idea of being able to make your dreams come true if you really commit yourself to achieving them: the extremist fringes of BLM do not want to do it enough and therefore react violently”, accuses Hack, who with his movement is firmly opposing not only to the Dems, but also to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who is not a Dem. A conservative republican but not a Trumpian, DeWine approached the pandemic crisis in a way very similar to several more progressive colleagues, such as Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer or Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf. And the Free Ohio movement does not like this: “The economic crisis will cause more victims and I do not trade my freedom to decide whether or not to wear a mask, as well as to celebrate or not an evening with the people I love, with nothing else”, says Hack again.

The coronavirus pandemic has seriously affected the United States. President Donald Trump said he saw the light at the end of the tunnel as early as the end of March and that he wanted to reopen the country by Easter, but the infections continued to explode.

And Trump’s strategy, criticized in the management also by several conservative newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, was clear: delegating states the burden to decide if, when and how to reopen, but putting pressure on them if they don’t. To date, more than 210,000 Americans have died of coronavirus, 7.58 million have been infected. In mid-October, a third phase of the first wave of infections, now stable in a total number ranging between 30 thousand and 50 thousand per day, has just begun.

The economy heavily paid the forced closures due to lockdowns in March and April, while the CARES Act tried to extinguish the flames of the crisis with a shower of federal unemployment benefits – $ 600 a week given to those who lost their jobs, until July 31, to be added to the subsidies of each single state. But already in summer, the incredible resilience of the US economy emerged: if retail sales had plummeted to 8.7% from February to March, the same rate rose by 17.7% from April to May and the growth continued in August. On the levels of summer 2019. Unemployment is, at the moment, below 10%, despite everything.

“This is what I’m talking about, if you want, roll up your sleeves and go back to work and rebuild your fortune, regardless which ethnic group you belong to or the color of your skin: that’s why I say that there is no racism”, says Hack peremptorily.

Although several data belie this statement. If it is true that under Trump administration was recorded the historic lowest record of unemployment for African Americans (5.3% in October 2019) and Hispanics (3.9%, also in autumn 2019), it’s difficult for African Americans to build something by themselves. According to the latest data available, in 2016, the average income of a white American family is $ 171,000 a year.

The one of a black family is about one tenth, 17 thousand. By focusing on sources of income, whites tend to get their profits from properties, stocks and shares much more than black people, whose income comes from the workforce. In the United States, profits from work are taxed much more than profits from property and stocks.

“Think how hard it is to love America if you are black,” Joe Biden said in his speech, perhaps at the brightest moment of his election campaign, from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania a few days ago. The suffering inflicted on the black communities of the country, in fact, has a very long course. And the aftermath is not over. It started with slavery.

It continued with segregation. It is continuing with inequalities. In the America described by Goldsby but not even seen by Hack, several African Americans talk about their way of dealing with everyday life in a way that Hack could not understand.

“Every time I see a police siren it’s a jolt, every time I go to the supermarket I don’t stay too close to the counter because the cameras might think I want to steal something and call the police, every time I go out I plan my route in advance to avoid problems”, it’s the mantra that several African Americans in South Carolina as well as in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio still recount today when they have the opportunity. “African Americans got sick and died of coronavirus at far greater amounts and percentages than whites,” Goldsby complains. “We do not have access to care, education, training as the white people of this country have and recognizing it does not mean despising the country, but only asking a question of merit: commitment has nothing to do with it, the starting position. Ours is a position of condemnation ».

Translated by editorial staff-Noemi Galbiati

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Davide Mamone
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