We all took a ragged-breath of relief after the November elections came and went without too much of a hitch, then another as we closed out an illustrious year of face masks and unemployment. But like a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club, 2020 is the year that just doesn’t stop giving.

The rioting at our nation’s capital last week is no joking matter. It highlighted the very real physical effects of incendiary words spoken by our leaders. It spotlighted America’s perpetual struggle with race inequity, and how whiteness is a super power that makes you near bulletproof when it comes to law enforcement. That’s not a bad thing. That’s how it should be- for everyone.

When people hear the word “privilege” they think of excess. They think of being born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth. Privilege to many means maybe having more than one should. But privilege when it comes to race, is more negatively defined, in that its presence goes unnoticed until highlighted by its absence. It’s about having what everyone should, but does not. Being white is a privilege in the same way freedom is a privilege.

America continues to be divided even in how last week’s spectacle is perceived. Many see it as a heroic moment of American citizens “sticking it to big government,” a proverbial 2020 D.C. Tea Party. Although no allegations of fraud in the November elections have been substantiated, many are still convinced the election was rigged.

While some view the riot as a defense of democracy, others as an attack on it. And there’s no convincing either side of anything different. How can we all be watching the same thing on our screens and have such different perceptions on what is happening? It’s national cognitive dissonance.

It’s especially concerning when the divergent sources are conflicted over the legitimacy of the very foundation of our country- democracy itself. Unsubstantiated skepticism and the ultimate rejection of legitimacy in American elections is the shovel blade to the rattlesnake head alt-rightists are perpetually warning us not to “tread on.”

There is no greater threat to our freedom than a deepening division over the validity of American elections. We must all keep our heads when it comes to this matter.

Though we have differing fears for our democracy: The Right fears ballots cast illegitimately by fake, non-citizened, or dead people, while the Left fears those with the legal right to vote not having access to exercise that freedom, Americans across the board overwhelmingly want a strong and legitimate democracy.

In addition to our continued fight for civil rights, race, religious and gender equity, CAIR Oklahoma will do our part on a state-level to join the broader national movement in the defense and security of our democracy and encouraging democratic accessibility among all citizens.

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