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The Pathway Back.

Posted on | January 12, 2021 | No Comments

Marc Porter Magee, CEO, 50-CAN

Mike Magee

“We’re better than this” is the common refrain heard from many political leaders following the deadly assault on our democracy on January 6th. We here empty appeals for blind appeasement from the likes of Kevin McCarthy in the interest of “bringing our country together.” But for those who study history, pursuing this course takes our nation in exactly the wrong direction.

Rather, the model we must follow is the model of Germany in 1945, or South Africa in 1995. In both cases, strict legal and public accountability were married with fundamental expansion of universal social services to rebuild confidence and trust in their government’s ability to assure safety and security, and an equal playing field for all of their citizens.

Trump’s crimes have already helped carry our nation in the right direction in two ways: 

1) They have revealed in word and image leaders and followers who actively engaged in insurrection. They must now be publicaly identified, charged, and feel the full weight of our law.

2) In counter-balance, these crimes have placed a spotlight on positive leaders and hopeful voices, ready to actively contribute to real healing and progress.

One such voice is my son, Marc Porter Magee, the CEO of the national educational advocacy non-profit 50-CAN. As their website says:

“To us, reimagining American K–12 education is more than a just cause, it’s the most important work we can do as a democracy. Equipped with nonpartisan research and proven tools, 50CAN citizen-advocates drive the creation of stronger, more equitable schools in every state and community in our network.”

Since the pandemic struck our schools, and entangled students and teachers alike, they have produced a weekly round-up of news and activities focused on solutions within the educational advocacy space, accompanied by Marc’s editorial. Here is his message this week:

“When we have written about our ‘new reality’ in this roundup the past 44 weeks, we have used that phrase to refer to a pandemic that has created an emergency situation for America’s school children.

“The insurrection that threatened the peaceful transfer of power in our nation’s capital last week is another kind of ‘new reality’–one that strikes at the heart of American democracy.

“The proximate causes are the actions of President Trump, who on the morning of January 6 directed the angry mob of supporters he had invited to Washington DC to march on to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was set to certify his loss. ‘You’ll never take back our country with weakness,’ he implored. ‘You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.’ A few hours later five people were dead, including 42-year-old police officer Brian Sicknick, who was bludgeoned to death by insurrectionists with a fire extinguisher. The hearings were cut short as our elected representatives fled for their lives and the Capitol building lay in shambles, the result of the first mass breach of its walls by enemies of our government since the War of 1812.

“As we wrote in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville in July 2017, ‘When you choose to march with Nazis you are rejecting our country’s founding belief that all people are created equal and dishonoring the basic convictions of the American political system. Because our common humanity binds us together, we also know that there aren’t two sides to this debate; only right and wrong.’

“By inciting violence to disrupt the transfer of power, Trump proved beyond any reasonable doubt he is unfit for his office. The correct response now is that he be impeached, removed and barred from ever holding elected office again.

“Whether the President is removed by Congress next week or simply leaves the nation’s capital when his term expires, we know that the threat to American democracy runs deeper than the flaws of one man. The collapse of trust in our country, the drumbeat of disinformation, the racism that twists institutions into instruments of oppression, ever-deepening political polarization and the increasing normalization of violence as a means of change have collectively brought us to the brink of disaster.

“There are no easy answers on our path out of the problems we face, yet we continue to believe that local advocacy–grounded in hope, committed to building bridges across divides, focused on delivering real change for communities in need–can make a difference. This, and the belief that Americans can and will overcome the forces of evil that attacked our democracy last week, are what inspire us to work at 50CAN.

From civics to history to the critical thinking needed to separate fact from fiction, events like these are a reminder of how crucial it is for our children to receive an education that fully prepares them to uphold the great American experiment.

“That work continues in neighborhoods and statehouses across our network this week and the weeks to come in this new year.”

As Germany and South Africa learned, the pathway back to equality and humanity is a long one…but Trump, with criminal intent, has marked a beginning. Now we must, as a nation, see it to a successful end.

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