Watching what unfolded in Washington, D.C., and more specifically on the grounds and within the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, left me washed in emotion, foremost among which was anger followed by disappointment.
On the day in question, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Kevin Banks, and I, had just concluded a monthly meeting with our SGA leadership, and as I normally do during our meetings, I asked them, “how are you doing?”
As with many of our students here at Morgan, they know that they can be brutally honest with me—and they were this time as well. Some of them are struggling in this climate of COVID-19, coupled with the social and racial inequality they are either intimately experiencing, or are witnessing in news reports and streamed on social media with unforgiving regularity. Others are also seeking to understand what American democracy means to them—given the ultimate disrespect for it from the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to his enablers in Congress and across many media outlets. Much of my time with our SGA delegation on Wednesday was devoted to helping them understand these perilous moments we are experiencing, and the significant role Morgan has to imbue them with the agency to make American democracy work for all of its people. It was a sobering conversation!
Upon returning to my office, I turned on the TV to watch—for the first time in my lifetime—the ceremonial process of Congress opening the certified ballots from state electors, announcing the outcome and then officially ratifying a free and fair election. To my disappointment, what soon followed would leave an indelible stain in my memory of the day American democracy fell prey to insurrection, sedition, violence and the loss of life. I saw in America that which I never imagined I would ever witness—an attempted coup d’état. As I watched in disbelief, the first thought that came to mind was: “where are the police?”
Sadly, I concluded that had this been Back Lives Matter demonstrators, there would have been several hundreds of law enforcement officers everywhere preempting the demonstrators from advancing towards any of the hallowed grounds of our U. S. Capitol. Make no mistake, what happened on Wednesday was totally unacceptable and left a huge crack in the foundation upon which America has been erected. Morgan condemns these acts on the part of all parties involved in them. In the words of late congressman and Morgan Board of Regents member, the Honorable Elijah Cummings, “we are better than this.”
We know that we are constantly seeking to perfect our democracy, and we will continue to advocate for a country that is inclusive, just, fair, principled and respectful to all. But the seditious acts that occurred on January 6, 2021, are not the paths we embrace to get us there.
The basis upon which Morgan was established 153 years ago was to push America to live up to the ideals put forth in the Constitution. What we saw this week was a far cry from what we here at Morgan agree with or support.
David Kwabena Wilson, Ed.D
Morgan State University