Gerald Givens Jr. leaving the West Wing of the White House, Washington D.C.

The Debate, History and My Family

“To accept one’s past, one’s history, is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.”

- James Baldwin

In 1789, the U.S. Constitution established the national framework for the government of the United States of America; the constitution did not create a society based upon justice. From its conception there have been 27 amendments to address the times in which American citizens lived. These course corrections impact all American families as we try to produce a more just society.

Last night, the second Clinton-Trump presidential debate took place at Washington University — St. Louis. In the fall of 1952, Washington University — St. Louis undergraduate programs were opened to African Americans. In 1953, athletic programs were desegregated. My father’s father, my grandfather, Muriel LeGrand Givens, was the first African American football player for the university.

My Grandparents, Muriel and Margaret Givens. They both passed away when I was a toddler in the early 1970's

In the debate, moderator Anderson Cooper, anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360° said to Donald Trump, “We received a lot of questions online Mr. Trump about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent grabbing the genitals. That is sexual assault. You brag that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”

Trump’s immediate response was, “No, I didn’t say that at all.” Trump’s response is not true. Here’s the video of Trump’s remarks: Video of Trump’s Remarks

240 years ago and beyond, we can debate what was said and done, but what goes on today, we can find out and hear our historical events without any questions or doubts from around the world. Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Sony and Google didn’t exist during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, however, in 2016, we use digital media and computer technology to preserve our history; past, present and the hereafter. Last night, Facebook recorded 20 million Americans alone, that made 92 million likes, posts, comments and shares around the debate. Twitter had over 17 million tweets. Today, the democratization of American history is instantaneous.

It is well digitally documented that on the night of President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Republicans plotted for more than 3 hours on ways to make President Obama a one term President and his presidency a failure. Obama was reelected in 2012 and is so popular in 2016 that he, the First Lady and Vice President Biden are all campaigning for their desired successor Hillary Clinton. We’ve all heard the saying, “You reap what you sow.”

What the Republicans created instead is a civil war within their own party one month before the 2016 election day. Within the past 36 hours more than 50 Republicans have withdrawn their support for Presidential nominee Donald Trump. Today, Speaker of the House, Republican, Paul Ryan has announced that he will not defend or campaign for Trump.

While America diversifies, the GOP gaps with women, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans are much more extensive than it was just 4 years ago. The GOP is older, less developed and more rural. The entire world, is observing the U.S. Presidential election process and are witnessing one of the two major parties being split into a myriad of shards.

Meme at President Obama’s Inaugural Ball — January 2013, Washington D.C.

All of us that are alive today are participating in American history live; we’re either making it or witnessing it. My grandparents would be extremely happy to know that their great granddaughter, my daughter, Meme was in attendance at President Obama’s Inaugural Ball in 2013. She and I were born with the protected right to vote, unlike my parents and grandparents. I had the chance to vote for the first black President. Meme and I will have the chance to vote for the first woman President. Small steps towards justice.

You may click this link or Google my grandfather’s name Muriel LeGrand Givens and it will guide you to his digital footprint in Washington University — St. Louis’s history.

Americans, make your vote count!