July 21, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — The 250th anniversary of our great country approaches. From a fledgling amalgamation of 13 British colonies, the United States of America grew to become an economic powerhouse and a beacon of hope for not just the free world, but for all peoples privileged enough to catch a glimpse of what is possible when not downtrodden. To maintain our position of leadership, collaboration is needed, not the kind of divisiveness we are seeing today even from the most exalted halls of government.
Individualism has been a positive factor in America’s historic success – but not at the expense of the “greater good.” There have always been fringes of our society that argued, lobbied, or fought for their specific wants and needs – as bizarre as they may have been at times. Fortunately, the pendulum never swung too far in any direction and the collective, even national goal has been to gravitate towards the center.
When destructive conspiracies are created by a President that are then endorsed and embellished by his sycophants, the fringes are empowered.
Anecdotally, it appears that today’s fringes have become larger and, if not larger, they certainly are more vocal, even brazen at times. There are those who “know their rights” but refuse to honor their responsibilities and obligations, especially when it comes to acknowledging the rights of others with whom they might disagree. ”Getting” overwhelms “giving.” The pendulum has not only swung in a dangerous direction but appears to be stuck in that direction..
As a nation, we take cues for our beliefs and values from our political leaders, especially the President. When conspiracies are endorsed by a President, the fringes that follow him become empowered. When conspiracies are debunked, as President Eisenhower did with “McCarthyism,” the fringes are emasculated.
Facts DO matter — and they should have much more gravitas than do opinions or outright lies by an elected official.
When destructive conspiracies are created by the President that are then endorsed and embellished by his sycophants, the fringes are empowered. The fringes are empowered when trust in government is destroyed. The fringes are empowered when experienced, competent, and responsible people are replaced by less competent people – and the “chosen” replacements are willing to do whatever the leader asks of them without questioning right or wrong. Fringes are empowered when good people remain silent.
Covid-19 is neither a hoax nor “under control”. This coronavirus will not simply evaporate into thin air. It will not just disappear without wreaking havoc on our people, their economy, their lives, and their hopes and dreams. Science can’t be ignored, even when politicians and presidents attempt to distract Americans from the absence of a plan to defend us from, if not eradicate the virus. Facts do matter – and they should have much more gravitas than do opinions or outright lies by an elected official.
Fringes are empowered when good people remain silent.
The recent actions directed by President Trump and executed by Homeland Security in Portland, Oregon, should frighten every citizen. Federal officials, dressed in military-style camouflage gear and without any identification as to their positions of authority arrested fellow citizens, placed them in unmarked vans, and took them to jail.
The cynical feel that Portland is simply a test case and that this type of action will be undertaken in other cities as Trump searches for ways to get reelected. The cynics may be wrong, but one has to wonder why Trump distances himself from combating the Covid-19 virus (“I take no responsibility”), but somehow views himself as the savior for law and order in Portland while stealing from protestors their First Amendment rights.
What followed was an ever-growing groundswell of protest that echoed loudly across the nation and even through the halls of Capitol Hill until the forces of change prevailed.
Perhaps Trump has forgotten and his followers too young or too blind to remember that military options to restore domestic tranquility during the Vietnam War protests in the 1970s resulted in an appalling massacre at Kent State University. What followed was an ever-growing groundswell of protest that echoed loudly across the nation and even through the halls of Capitol Hill until the forces of change prevailed.
The role of our uniquely American government is to “protect and provide.” The expectation is that this role will be fairly and consistently practiced by our government servants: elected, hired, and appointed. The allocation of financial resources must be fair, humane, without bias, and it must be supportive of the greater good. It cannot be arbitrary, capricious, or to serve a politician’s personal interests.
When Donald Trump, Jr. states “wait until the second term,” it should be a wake-up call to all citizens. Donald Trump’s character faults were well-known in 2016 and he was elected in spite of them. Even in his assuming the mantle of leadership, those faults have not improved – and these faults pale in importance when overshadowed by his inability to lead.
As a nation, can we really endure a second term of incompetence and deceit?