At the headquarters of the National Archives in Washington D.C. you can visit the historical relics of the United States. Among this collection of founding documents of the American dream, the Declaration of Independence stands out, theoretically commissioned by a parliamentary committee but drafted for the most part by the contradictory but brilliant Thomas Jefferson.
The text, ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, serves multiple purposes: memorial of grievances, allegation against tyranny, revolutionary proclamation. It is not the 1787 Constitution. It is rather a declaration of democratic principles but without guaranteed results: «We hold these truths as evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, freedom and the search for happiness ».
These promises, misleading from the start by the tolerated tragedy of slavery, help explain the repeated violent protests in dozens of US cities. a week ago. The riots don’t necessarily have to do with the particular death of African-American George Floyd, after a white police officer arresting him in Minneapolis smashed his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The racial outbreak in the USA it must be understood as part of the corrosive crisis of inequality aggravated by Covid-19. African Americans (and also Hispanics) are the ones suffering the most from the pandemic, either as disproportionate victims of the coronavirus or victims of the subsequent economic crisis. There is no social indicator – from the likelihood of ending up in jail to the risk of falling victim to police brutality – on which black Americans do not painfully lose out.
The “truths” of the eighteenth century have been blurred between so much savagery, impunity and hopelessness. So at the worst possible time, the US He is more divided, diminished, and distracted than ever. While the unscrupulous arsonist installed the White House throws more gasoline on the obscene inequality and racial hostility of a country founded with the best egalitarian intentions. .