I am an old white man. I recognize the truth of America’s treatment of minorities for what it is. From the moment Europeans arrived, they declared war on the native population with guns and smallpox blankets and forced removal to little more than prison camps. Shortly thereafter, white monied interests stole Africans from their native lands and forced them into chained labor in the promised land; the economy of both North and South relied upon slavery to enrich itself.

There is no need to march through history, listing the foundation of hatred and exploitation we constructed. It is not taught in schools, but anyone with the desire and brain can unearth the facts. We are living with the legacy we have created for 500 years. This is another harvest of the seeds we planted for so many years. To be biblical, “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

When the Black Lives Matter movement announced itself on the national stage, the white response was “All lives matter.” I see that as a reaction to demean a legitimate and documented history. The fact is that white lives do matter more than minority lives. The legacy we created lives on. Until we face the truth, America can never become the “shining city on the hill.”

I am grateful to Colin Kaepernick for having the courage to publicly raise the issue. He knew what would come as a result. In the midst of all the racial hatred fed by this White House and Maine’s own governor (to name only two), we will continue to battle what I believe is America’s most virulent and consistent cancer. America can never be what the pledge states without a hard look at ourselves, our reactions and our history.

Indeed, we have a long way to go before we can honestly say, “All Lives Matter.”

Stephen Aucoin


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