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DD At Klan Rally in MarylandDaryl Davis with a member of the Ku Klux Klan. COURTESY PHOTO  The country that created and popularized such seasonal sports games as football, baseball, and basketball, has now created an all-season game, impervious to any type of weather. Its participants are obsessed with playing it seven days per week and twenty-four hours per day. It's called The Blame Game.
For the last eight years, anything and everything that was wrong in our country or in our own personal lives was blamed on President Obama. It became so ridiculous that if someone stepped of the sidewalk the wrong way and twisted their ankle, they blamed Obama.
Today, while some are still playing the old Obama version, others have moved on to the new Trump version. Ironically, the Donald himself prefers to play the old version which expired on January 20th of this year, and he does so every time he has the opportunity. In fact, it's become addictive for him.
What is sad is that the United States, once a very proactive country, leading the world has become complacent and reactive in taking steps to find solutions rather than cast aspersions. Our citizens' reaction has been to blame the country's leaders. There are those who say race relations in America are the worst they've seen and eight years of President Barack Obama is to blame. Others claim that the blame for a rise in extremist hate groups and the violent and deadly event which recently took place in Charlottesville, Va., lies squarely on the shoulders of President Donald Trump.

Racism, anti-Semitism, and supremacy existed long before either President ever moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The answer to where the blame should be properly placed can be found in an object easily purchased for $1.00 from any number of dollar stores across our country.
Why have "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union," and while we "Pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America," seem to have forgotten that in doing so, we take an oath to stand for "One nation under God," and to be "Indivisible with liberty and justice for all?" Instead, each side accuses a President or former President of creating a racist culture, fanning the spark into a flame, then stoking the ensuing fire till it is out of control.
Perhaps we need to step back and reflect upon the words of another of our Presidents who said, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country."
What we can do for our country, is generate dialogue. The topic of race in America, has for too long, been a taboo for discussion. When it is discussed in private, it is only done in echo chambers; integrationists only talk with like-minded integrationists, while segregationists follow the same protocol. With each group preaching to the choir, it's no wonder we have not progressed as much as we should as a people.
It bothers me a great deal when I hear people claim that America is the greatest nation on the face of this Earth. Don't get me wrong, I am patriotic and love my country. But, I have some issues with that statement.
Perhaps technologically, we are the greatest. We invented the technology to put a man on the moon. While Neil Armstrong was up there walking around and talking about it being "One small step for a man," and "One giant leap for mankind," we were able to talk to him, live, all the way from Earth to the Moon, via satellite radio phone. We also invented that technology.
Pretty much, most everyone has email and a phone. We type a few words, or dial a few numbers and we are talking to people all over this world. Again, we invented that technology.
So, how is it that we as Americans, can talk to people as far away as the moon, or anywhere on the face of this planet, but yet many of us have difficulty talking with person who lives right next door to our home, because he or she is a different, color, religion, ethnicity, or persuasion?
It seems to me, that before we can call ourselves the greatest nation on the face of this Earth, our ideology, needs to catch up to our technology. Folks, this is the 21st century. We are living in Space Age times. So, why are there so many of us still thinking with Stone Age minds?
When two enemies are talking, they are not fighting. They are talking. They may be a little loud, disagreeing and perhaps pounding their fists on the table to drive home their point, but at least they are talking, not fighting. It's when the talking ceases, that the ground becomes fertile for violence. Therefore, let's keep the conversation going.
We Americans have been given the Right to Freedom of Speech. But for too long, we've used it to speak at each other instead of with each other. We are responsible for cultivating this divide that has caused violence, fanned hate all over this country and eventually led to a horrific and senseless death in Charlottesville this month. Upon whom should blame for the lack of dialogue between people with opposing points of view be cast? At whom should our finger be pointed?
The next time we want to point fingers and cast blame when it comes to racial matters, let's all stop by a dollar store and pick up one of those things and point our finger at the reflection staring back at us.

Daryl Davis is a musician, author, actor and race relations expert, residing in Montgomery County. He is the author of book Klan-Destine Relationships and the subject of the film documentary Accidental Courtesy.

 

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