Has the Moment for a New America Arrived?
Has the time for a new America—America 2.0—arrived?
A growing number of people think so. Civil rights leader Al Sharpton announced a second historic March on Washington for August 28, the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
But what if, instead of a demand for unfulfilled justice, this event becomes a victory march?
In tandem with the March on Washington, we can rise together in a peaceful protest that surrounds the U.S. Capitol. We can demand an amended Constitution that ensures our government finally and fully realizes its promise to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Yes, we are serious. Yes, we believe it can be done. We know it can heal America. The time for this sweeping, revolutionary change is now.
Let me explain.
A crumbling democracy calls for a New America
We have entered our fourth year of “Making America Great Again,” yet by all measurable criteria, the United States of America is anything but. It’s not great, not united, and is broken beyond repair.
Consider what this vision of a “great America” has brought:
● A failed response to a global pandemic that has needlessly cost tens of thousands of lives, swiftly crushed the economy, and displaced millions of workers.
● A rampant string of falsehoods from our highest leaders that have left the entire populace without institutions to believe in.
● A heightened distrust in medical science at a time when our communities need to depend on it.
● A police and justice system that is bigoted to its core and open to presidential and partisan interference, while black and brown people are targets of institutional violence.
● A failed public policy that has accelerated the climate emergency that looms as the greatest threat to humankind in our known history.
It’s time for a little rebellion
In recent weeks, our nation’s highest-ranked military leaders have shattered long-standing norms to speak out against the president and his threat to use military force to quell the voices of dissent pouring into streets nationwide.
Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell objected with crystal-clear clarity: “We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the president has drifted away from it.”
Since making America great has failed, why shouldn’t we shift our efforts toward making a New America instead? Perhaps a moment like this is what President Thomas Jefferson had in mind in his letter to James Madison when he wrote, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”
Think back, just a few months ago, to the 2020 State of the Union address. Climate change was finally an issue (sadly, not the issue) for the coming election in November. Words like coronavirus and pandemic were unfamiliar to most. The Green New Deal seemed ridiculous with its cost. And Black Lives Matter had been relegated to a minor point of recent history.
Does this seem like a lifetime ago? A different world? An alternate reality?
Remember when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told Bernie Sanders, “People are looking for results, not a revolution”?
“Now, in virtual town hall meetings, media interviews, his own podcast, and in a rare formal address Tuesday, Biden has pointed toward a transformational era in which government would play a bigger role in curing the country’s public health, economic, and racial woes,” the Washington Post reported.
This is a moment crying out for historic, revolutionary change
During the pandemic, people often spoke about returning to “normal.” Two months of quarantine, 44.2 million newly unemployed, and weeks of dramatic and determined protests for racial justice have ensured we’ll never go back to that world again, even if we wanted to.
Whatever comes next will not be normal. This upheaval sets the stage for a revolution that changes how the American government functions.
“Revolutions do not necessarily erupt at the moment when people are most oppressed. Rather, revolutions have more often been the result of ‘rising expectations,’” author Christine Adams recently wrote in the Washington Post. “Periods of progress followed by crushed hopes can be especially dangerous, leading to rage and violence.”
I launched Build a Movement 2020 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2018 with one purpose: to create a grassroots movement committed to solving our country’s biggest challenges. One we haven’t shied away from is the need for America 2.0, which starts with sweeping constitutional reform that finally realizes the great call for liberty and justice for ALL people.
In our 244-year history, the United States has never realized this vision.
The protests that have grown over the past weeks demand this. If we can come together around these common bonds and keep the pressure on through August, we can secure sweeping constitutional changes to heal America, restore our climate, and responsibly end COVID-19.
Now is our moment for a little rebellion.