This America is broken and losing its humanity to mongers of hate and fear, that poison the mind and blacken the heart, stifle the tears and darken the lamp that once welcomed refugees to our shores.
This America, with a moral center unhinged and adrift, has lost its bearings in the harbor, has forgotten the meaning of the words inscribed on Liberty Island:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This America, built by immigrants, a blend of multicultural differences, has become so Americanized it has forgotten that its forefathers had migrated here from distant shores to escape poverty, tyranny, or persecution.
We have all been “others” at one point in time.
This America, who looks for guidance in moments of crisis, has lost its leaders to political acquiescence. The so-called champions of God, family, and morality are complicit in their silence, as their government demonizes “others” that Jesus would have embraced; they look the other way when families are ripped apart, stripped of their belongings and locked in cages; they mute their outrage by finding comfort in their selective amnesia, succumbing to distortions of facts and propaganda to justify their indifference, accepting the downgrading of refugees from people to pestilence.
The colonists who settled here and created a nation independent from a king, fought a bloody war that decimated their families in order to be free. Many died to escape tyranny back then, and yet many seem to embrace it today in the silence of their complacency, in Trump’s deference to autocrats and thugs.
THE DOWNGRADING OF AMERICA
This country that once opened its borders to those who fled oppressed nations, now finds that it’s an oppressed nation, too, when its government denigrates and jails refugees seeking asylum at the border.
This country that has been downgraded from a full democracy to flawed, is slowly creeping into nationalism and plutocracy. One party rule. One party dominating three branches of government while enriching themselves with millionaire tax breaks. One party subjugating their constituents by diminishing opportunities and unraveling the safety net, stripping away our indivisible rights to accommodate the religious beliefs of a few.
We see changes in the framework of government and its institutions. Every day tiny scraps ripped from the constitution and fragments chipped from our branches of government that no longer function with checks and balances.
We see a president so small and self-serving, his viewpoint of the world stunted in its narrow scope; his needs and concerns always focused upon himself and his family. When he expresses empathy, you wonder what his motives are. Is it politically advantageous? Is it in his financial interests? How will it benefit him and his family?
This man who grabbed America by the pussy and exploited the weaknesses in a shrinking white electorate, he calls his base, exacerbated their fear of assimilation to serve his agenda and narrow vision of the world, as he dismisses the needs of the diverse majority.
His base, fearful of losing their neighborhoods to darker shades of skin, clings to anger, distortions and empty promises by the charlatan who became their president.
And now that he is president they still believe the lies he sells when he stands before them at rallies or behind a podium on TV. He says anything that comes to mind without any thought. Flatters himself in a self-congratulatory deluded rant, as he reminds his base that only he can save them. He entertains them while indoctrinating them, which might be okay for a reality TV star, king of his own show, but not for the president of the United States, a country that once rejected a king.
Instead of draining the swamp as he promised, he put billionaires and Wall Street alumni in his cabinet. The 1% billionaires who own most of the wealth in our economy determine its policies. That is not okay. Or, that the 99% majority lives off stagnated wages and are fearful of losing their homes if they can’t pay their healthcare bills.
A dying middle class is the real problem with our country, downgraded (along with our democracy) and slipping into lower class, a.k.a. upper poverty. The fear and anger of a diminished middle class (and white majority) have been egregiously misdirected toward “others” instead of the real problem, financial inequality.
RIGHTING THE WRONGS
And this man, this charlatan who became president, instead of draining the swamp and focusing on the real problems in our country, and righting the wrongs, decided to exacerbate the problems by obscuring them. Instead, he demonizes refugees, the “others” who fled violence in their countries to find safety here, blames them for middle-class jobs lost to globalization and technology, stirring up hatred of them in his base.
This self-centered and self-aggrandizing man, co-opted people’s fear, magnified it and marketed it like a product, then weaponized it to fulfill his nationalistic agenda, cloaked in bigotry, and seemingly blatant obligations to Putin and the Russian oligarchs.
He is not helping our country or the world, contrary to what he tells his base. They think he’s strong and protecting us, yet he’s actually making us less safe. They were gleeful when he condemned North Korea in a tweet (one of many dangerous games he plays), then cheered him after his meeting with Kim Jong-un yielded a flimsy deal, in which he agreed to end military exercises in the Korean Peninsula that only helped Russia, North Korea, and China.
His capitulation to North Korea showed weakness, not the strength he wields from a distance in strongly worded tweets to Kim, then later buckled when he met him. He saves his bluster for underlings in positions of weakness, demeaning and confusing them while eliciting fear in them. He enjoys “shaking things up” as we were told he would do for the country, but his leadership style has led to uncertainty and chaos from which there may not be a way back.
Yes, people voted for change. They liked the fact that he was not a politician. They liked his tough talk during the campaign and his tough talk now, as he threatens and strong-arms those who oppose him, actions not befitting of the position he holds.
He is the sickness that infects our country. What we should be protecting our borders against. He is what we should be afraid of, not refugees seeking asylum from violence or persecution.
We need a leader without a self-serving, vindictive agenda. Someone who mends the tear in the social fabric that is being ripped apart. Someone who is not so self-involved and easily flattered by dictators and enemies of democracy.
Someone who lacks integrity and puts the needs of himself and his family before country is not qualified to lead our nation. Someone who only cares about 40% of the electorate should not be the president of everyone.
For the sake of our Union and democracy, for the sake of our Constitution, institutions, and children, this man, this wannabe demagogue, enabled by a one-party government, must step down. He is unqualified and a danger to our democracy; he is the reason America has lost its bearings and Lady Liberty has lost her luster, a result of his xenophobic policies.
We need to right the wrongs in our country, not allow them to degrade us. We need to really drain the swamp, not to pretend we did. Those under the ether of this man’s lies need to take a step back and look with a clear mind at the people in his cabinet. They are the swamp that he indulges, and they’re devouring America.
If Congress and the clergy continue to remain silent and enable the diminishing of our principles and institutions, they are culpable and should step down, too, or be voted out in the midterm elections that is already under attack by Putin’s cyber army.
We must save the republic by maintaining the framework of our democracy, by keeping checks and balances in place. Without them, we drift further toward authoritarian rule, as in Turkey, Poland, and other former democratic countries. Yes, it could happen here!
The worst thing we can do is take democracy for granted. Now is the time to exercise our rights by raising our voices and speaking out against those who are intent on dismantling our institutions. Our democracy is in danger and needs all of us to exercise our freedom of speech to ensure we have that freedom in the future.
Contacting your Congressman about the threat of our government’s nationalistic policies is critical. Expressing alarm at the undermining of our institutions is the only way we can save our democracy and effect change. The more often we speak out loud, the more likely we’ll be heard.
Voting in the midterm elections might be our last opportunity to save our indivisible rights. The outcome may determine the solvency of our democracy and the future our children inherit. If we don’t show up now, there may not be a later.
We, the people, will decide the fate of our democracy and the boundaries of its freedoms. We, the people, are our last great hope.