“We, the people of the Republic of Liberia, were originally inhabitants of the United States of North America.
In some parts of that country we were debarred by law from all rights and privileges of man—in other parts, public sentiment, more powerful than law, frowned us down.
We were excluded from all participation in the government.
We were taxed without our consent.
We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country which gave us no protection.
We were made a separate and distinct class, and against us every avenue of improvement was effectively closed. Strangers from other lands, of a color different from ours, were preferred before us.
We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or only met by alleging the peculiar institutions of the country.
All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly extinguished in our bosoms, and we looked with anxiety for some asylum from the deep degradation…”.
As so poignantly described in the preceding paragraphs, this was the America our founding fathers left behind to start life anew in a land from which their forebears had been stolen over a hundred years before.
Their litany of complaints dated over 150 years ago but yet unheard or litigated but catalogued in Liberia’s 1847 Declaration of Independence bears strong and recurrent themes to what we now hear as “Black Lives Matter”.
And it took a President Donald Trump to remind America and the world that the scourge of racism is still alive and with us, a racism of the kind that saw the near extermination of indigenous peoples and cultures.
Yes, it was racism of the kind that witnessed Black people laboring and toiling without compensation to build the foundations of the prosperous United States of America that we know today.
It was also racism of the kind that segregated against black soldiers fighting on distant soils in faraway lands bleeding and dying to protect democracy and freedom in a Jim Crow America in which Black Lives did not matter.
For the past 4 years, the United States of America, under the leadership of Donald Trump has projected an image of a big bully disdainful of friends and enemies alike but more like of a wild bull let loose in a china shop.
And as the world watched with horror and disdain, the siege of the US Capitol, the seat of democracy, by an insurrectionist mob, questions were being asked whether the much-proclaimed American democratic experiment had indeed hit rock bottom.
That such ugly developments would take place in the capital of a nation that prides itself as the bastion of democracy, undoubtedly left many the world over, including Liberians, with a strong sense of letdown.
This is because in their view Trump’s policies and actions, the latest being the Trump inspired insurrection right in the seat of the Capitol more likely than not, conveyed the impression that tin pot dictators, especially those from “shithole countries”, could have their way and virtually get away with murder.
However, the election of Joe Biden as President of the US winning by the highest number of votes cast, electoral and popular, shows that Americans are indeed a great people with a history steeled in struggle against bigotry and oppression.
And Joe Biden’s victory has ignited a fresh hope that 4 years of uncertainty, bigotry and racist pandering is finally over. And now Americans can set themselves to the task of healing and stitching together the broken patchwork of a deeply polarized nation.
And indeed, Joe Biden’s initial policy actions, rolling back Trump’s policies, especially those on immigration, have set the tone and pace for even more actions aimed at rolling back policies biased against working class America and minorities, especially black people.
Joe Biden’s victory has also opened a window of opportunity and raised hopes for thousands of migrants currently on the move trekking thousands of miles to reach that great “shining city on a hill”.
It has also opened a window of opportunity for thousands of Liberians living in a state of uncertainty and ever fearful of being removed from the US by Immigration authorities.
More to that, Joe Biden’s victory has raised hopes here in Liberia that the United States of America will assist Liberians in their search for accountability, reconciliation and healing by throwing its full weight behind ongoing efforts aimed at the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.
This is particularly important, considering persistent official US State Department Human Rights reports red-flagging official corruption and impunity in Liberia, particularly in the Judiciary, as serious threats to peace and national stability.
Declared our founding Fathers in the 1847 Declaration of Independence:
“Liberia is not the offspring of ambition, nor the tool of avaricious speculation”.
Those hallowed words have, however been abused and trampled on by successive generations of leaders.
But, Liberia today appears to have become an offspring of blind and nefarious ambition and a virtual tool of avaricious speculation.
For example, 64 out of 66 Concession Agreements signed under the watch of former President Sirleaf lacked transparency. Another is the Hummingbird Agreement signed under the watch of President Weah that concessioned out the entire gold, uranium, coltan rich Southeast to a fly-by-night company.
Further, recent media reports speaking of the involvement of former disgraced House Speaker, Alex Tyler and other officials in the sale and purchase of oil blocks under dubious arrangements speaks clearly to the issue.
Joe Biden’s victory, in the view of many across the world, has opened a new vista of opportunity for cooperation, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence of all nations, Liberia included.
But whether his victory holds any promise for Liberia may be yet too early to tell. For now, we can only hope and wish President Biden well.
To Donald John Trump, the world is saying, “Hit the road jack and don’t you come back no more”.BON COURAGE, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN!