Tetmeyer: American renaissance

Columnist Grant Tetmeyer fears that the current American renaissance may result in a darker age of America. 

Grant Tetmeyer

America, which is always trying to be like their older relative countries in Europe, is finally experiencing her second renaissance, and this one seems to be about more than just buildings and money. America is finally experiencing a societal, cultural, political and economic rebirth. But who knows how the country will look when it’s over, or if it will even survive it. And as much as I hope that the country I was born, raised and educated in does survive, the last few years have given me doubts that it will. This renaissance may become a regression into a darker age of thinking in America.

We have seen so many changes to our country over the years. We have movies and TV shows that are more than just a lot of white people practicing tokenism in whatever situation the show sets up. They have accurate depictions of non-white characters; there are shows that specifically target families and people of color that can help show some of the difficulties that these communities face in a more pleasing way than the news might.

Many more artists and musicians of color are being given their share of influence and recognition that they had been previously denied. We have seen a major increase in people of color in public service and high government positions. We even elected our first Black president in our lifetime. I mean, we immediately went back to old white guys, but still.  

Our economy has started incorporating cryptocurrency, a whole new form of digital currency, into its business practices. The stock market is now no longer the only place to invest large amounts of money in company ventures. You can now even invest in the actual currency itself. Hell, Matt Damon is one of the spokespeople for a cryptocurrency trading company.

We have shifted from being stuck in the hierarchical system of business to now having more people starting businesses and working for themselves, rather than simply surviving off the repetitive work of a large corporation to help keep top executives in luxury. 

We are even working on bringing recognition to marginalized communities that have been the subject of oppression. We have started reevaluating how we teach U.S. history and how we commemorate our country’s complicated history. We’ve removed confederate status and begun shifting away from keeping the memory of the Confederacy alive as a group of American rebels and more towards recognizing the still very alive rift in this nation and working to mend it. Kinda. Most recently, a beachfront property seized from a Black family in 1924 is set to be returned to the family’s descendants.  

But the past couple years have given me reason to pause. We had a wannabe authoritarian elected into office and a mass of brainwashed American purists trying to overthrow a bipartisan republic that has stood for over half a millennia. All in the name of America and a wild set of conspiracy theories that push them closer and closer to the edge of sanity and reason. I mean, a large group of them waited on a street in Texas for the return of John F. Kennedy Jr., who has been dead for over 20 years. That’s some hardcore belief in a delusion. 

So, though we do seem to be in a rebirth of a country that aims to live up to the words of our founders and the ideal of our nation, we are at risk of America not shifting to a great rebirth of the nation but shifting to a new, darker age of America that sees the restrictions of the basic rights that makes the bedrock of our country.