OPINION – Throughout the history of America, Blacks — primarily headed by clergymen and strong Black women — have come to the rescue of America during its times of crisis and peril.

J. Shawn Ortiz

On January 20, 2021, the first woman and the first African American and Asian American will be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. She will be asked to save America.

It is arguable that she may never be taking the oath of office had it not been for Stacey Abrams’ efforts to register and inspire 700,000 new voters in “deep red” Georgia.

Ms. Abrams is a voting rights crusader who is central to turning deeply Repubican Georgia “Democrat Blue” Black women have been at the core of every social, cultural, political and social movement used to keep America from splintering into dozens of cul-de-sacs and enclaves.

Many of these figures have become legendary. Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, Ella Baker, Dorothy Height, Angela Davis, Michelle Obama.

There have been others, unsung and unseen, who have nursed the wounds of beaten civil rights protesters and taught generations of students in substandard “separate but equal” schools.

The great anxiety confronting Americans today is that we are standing on edge of an unknown precipice.

We have ousted a President that by any definition has completely shredded the political norms and cultural traditions for which this country was founded upon and risen to become a world power.

Today, the 244-year-old concept of American democratic government is in critical condition.

Not since 1860 has the American republic been this divided along racial lines. In 1861, the perceived solution was the succession of 13 southern states where Black African slavery constituted the economic engine that made “King Cotton” a global reality.

In 2020 the geopolitical fabric of the nation does not allow for this type of tearing apart. Now the divisions are along political ideologies represented by political parties with vastly different views on what America is and should be.

The central question confronting Americans is whether the republic has a future.

Once again the destiny of the nation rests in the hands of Black women.
In navigating through America’s crisis, its citizens have turned to — by design or pure circumstances — to two Black women of incredible abilities and personal strengths.

Vice President-elect Harris is extraordinarily qualified. She is extremely bright, sensitive and courageous.

She will be indirectly aided in her campaign to breathe life back into the concept of American democracy by Ms. Abrams who was cheated out of the Governorship of Georgia in 2018 by classic Southern-style voter suppression.

Just what it is that Madam Vice President Harris has to overcome?

America’s birth defect is institutionalized racism. It’s birth defect can be characterized as a deep and persistent fear of people of color — primarily African Americans.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and a slave holder, perhaps summed this fear of best when he said: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever…” Jefferson recorded his fears of a massive slave revolt in his notes to his native State of Virginia in 1782.

This fear reverberates each time Blacks gather to protest the continuing injustice played out on the streets of America by fearful police officers.
It is widely expressed by television news pundits that Donald J. Trump exploited this fear — held by Whites — to become the 45th President of the United States.

Seventy-million voters check ballots giving their vote to outgoing President Trump.

Vice President-elect Harris and Ms. Abrams have a massively difficult job ahead of them if they are to save America from itself.

Abrams’ next battle is the critical political battle shaping up in her native state of Georgia where two United State Senate seats are open. Their filling will determine control of the Senate.

Who wins will be critical to President-elect Joseph Biden’s and Madam Vice President-elect’s ability to push forward a new direction for America.

The battle for the “soul of America” has just begun.

By J. Shawn Ortiz | OBSERVER Editor-In-Chief