Everything that is happening at the moment in the United States of America, coupled with Brexit and a new national lockdown leave a lot to be desired as we usher in 2021. And so wishes for a happy new year seem to have had their gloss knocked off them even before they have been spoken as a first greeting to you. As we enter Day 7 of this new year, I am reminded that a week is a long time in politics and it is with great difficulty that I am watching what is going on in the US.
It is with great difficulty that I watch what is going on in the US as I write. My difficulty is not locked in any admiration of US democracy, or any need to preserve the rules of law therein. Just months ago, I watched with pride as Black people came together with others to halt the activities of the state in ‘our’ protest against the murder of George Floyd, and the ongoing abuse of black people across the world by the powers of the state, and the police in particular.
My difficulty arises because my omnipresent eye nudges me to remember that my enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my enemy. My enemy’s enemy may also be operating as a force that will ultimately leave me further oppressed and further downtrodden. I need to look no further than the mild politics of the United Kingdom where my open enemies on the right of our political debate are challenged by a Labour Party who are responsible for much of the racism contained in our laws and who continue even now be prepared to sell the aspirations of the UK black community in exchange for votes and power.
My difficulty arises because there is a smile in me, to see that ‘they’ too are forced to suffer pain and anguish. That those people who called the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement anti-American, criminal, unconstitutional now feel forced themselves to take to the street, to halt the activities of the state as ransom to undo their perceived injustice.
The difficulty of the contradiction removes itself only at the time that I recognise and find a voice for the fact that the enemy of my enemy can, and often is also my enemy.
Let Trump, Trumpets, the Senate, the American State, Biden et al rip each other apart. I watch it as I do any good drama on my TV. I will break for my regular soaps. I will grab a Netflix movie or a BBC documentary and have their tassel as moving and interesting wallpaper in the background of my life. Perhaps even explore the potential of this moment when my enemies are fighting each other to see if I/we can grab some low hanging fruit in the battle against racial oppression.
I know that whichever of them takes the mantle at this time, when they have resolved their differences enough to come together, they will both be coming after me.