I want to share the thoughts of a dear friend who has spent a lifetime in service to this country, serving in the army 1966-69 and then working for the National Weather Service. Upon retiring from the NWS, he started a successful small business. He knows the pain of losing a child. He is a man I respect. His words stand in stark rebuke to a demagogue who knows nothing of service, of loss, or of respect.
The rise and fall of a great democracy
Trump revealed his budget plans today…but he revealed much more than a budget. He revealed the logical end of a process that began with the transformation of the American spirit from courage, hard work, and common dreams for a better future…FOR THEIR CHILDREN…to a selfish plea for safety, comfort, and empty promises.
We are no longer the generation that volunteered en masse to be slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy, who sacrificed everything to build a war machine to help defeat the Nazi and Fascist incursions throughout Europe, and the Japanese invasion of China and the Pacific.
Those Americans have largely disappeared behind the wall of history, leaving historical accounts largely unattended in books that no one reads anymore. Now we are Americans of a different ilk. Now we have us vs. them, and we blame each other for the impending fall of our civilization.
We no longer sacrifice for our children, and we no longer volunteer en masse to die while fighting surging Armies. Now we cry out in anger for delusional safety, creature comforts, and empty promises, delivered by a foul demagogue, and supported by a political party devoid of ethics…a hierarchy of sycophants that aren’t prepared (or able) to govern…and influenced by an electorate that doesn’t understand the difference between rhetoric and reality, between reality and fiction, all locked in this embrace at the edge of sanity. We are willing to give up our national soul for this delusion, claiming that our savior is an unconventional savior, as we gather at his feet to hear his thoroughly confusing (and confused) message.
But the saddest thing is our transformation from national unity to hatred for each other, from selfless actions to alleviate each other’s pain to selfish claims that others aren’t entitled to what we may have. And that brings us back to Trump’s budget plans…to sacrifice everything of value…the arts, the sciences, the environment, the education of our children, and programs to help the less fortunate of all ages…to sacrifice all for greater divisions among us, to build a modern “Great Wall”, and for an irrational mighty war machine.
And what of the so called “checks and balances?”. Will anyone right our ship in time to stop our plummet into the abyss of failed civilizations? Can we save ourselves from accepting a heartless set of national priorities? Can we restore a caring humanity and rebuild a future we can all share?
There will be authors to document the rise and fall of our civilization, but will there be anyone left to read their work?
I add to this that we have become a nation that is ruled by the minority. It is untenable to have a majority who has values that appear to be in stark opposition to the values of the minority. With the bizarre contravention that the majority is the party that is fighting to protect the minority who tend to be voting against their own best interests. The budget that the Republican ruling majority has presented shows their values with specific hits at programs most needed by the people who voted for them.
It leaves a question is it the American people who are divided or is it a rich cabal (oligarchs would be another terms perhaps) who are working behind the scenes to separate people. They play on the irrational fear and hate of those like Republican Representative Steve King who openly speaks of white nationalism and those who are still waging the civil war. There is no acknowledgment that we need to have a national conversation about race. Instead they play on it. They try to separate out liberal, progressives as waging some kind of cultural war of political correctness. They are adding to it a very vocal and divisive separation of financial interests, literally saying that other tax payers should not have to pay for things like meals on wheels because it serves no purpose, saying the same about food for kids at school. That line literally took me to a moment in the Man from High Castle where they are talking about useless eaters which is as many of you know is a show about a Nazi America. Letting children or the elderly starve is not a value of the America I grew up in. I don’t recognize anything from this Republican White House as values that I recognize. A White House that proclaims a free press as the enemy of the people?? This is scary territory.
We have to decide and quickly which America we are:
The America that the world remembers that stands brightly to show the value of diversity, equal rights, democracy, humanity, generosity…
The America of the Republican ruling party which is one of selfishness, of America first, its about proving your worth – useless eaters as it were (harsh I know but that is what yesterday said to me), it’s about not compromising on anything, it’s about science no longer being relevant, about division, about a press that reflects the administration not challenging it.
I get that the above description is what makes the Republican base so furious because it categorizes them in a very unflattering away. And I don’t think that every Republican feels that way but I do think that if you voted for people like Donald Trump and Steve King and all the rest of them then you do support what they say.
I do get that the people in Appalachia, coal country, and what the Republicans call the fly-over states feel unseen. What is frustrating is that it was Hillary Clinton who had the plans that addressed their needs and would have taxed the rich to help them. What is also highly ironic is that the fly-over states actually hold all of the power. Such as the minority of 70,000 people over three states selecting a minority President when the actual by the numbers winner of the Presidency had 2.8 million more votes. It can’t work. The much maligned liberal states tend to be the ones who are funding the states that need the aid the most. They are also the ones who want to continue the programs that transfer wealth to those with lower income. They are the ones who know that technology is changing e everything and that we need to change how we think about things not focusing on bringing back a world that is not coming back. The progressives, liberals, Democrats are the are the ones who want to raise everyone up rather than waiting for wealth to trickle down to them.
America needs to remember who we are and we need to do it quickly.