Not long ago I found myself obsessed with this thing called Trumpism. I was spending every free moment examining this thing inside and out, over and beneath, intellectually and emotionally and I just could not wrap my head around it. I was consumed with MSNBC, Fox, CNN, every written article I ran across, even Wikipedia…anything that would help me understand what was going on in our country.
And, then I stopped…I had to get off the rollercoaster. I stopped trying to understand this thing I could not control. I stopped trying to comprehend this thing paining this retired veteran’s heart. I stopped focusing on the President and GOP-led Congress whose elevation to power flew in the face of every grain of progress I believed America had made in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, and race relations…in the face of every lesson we had learned about trickle-down economics.
And when I took my laser focus off of Trump and company, I looked at my America and saw what “us” was doing, and I got it…citizens were moving. Americans were moving…figuring out little by little that what might seem good for them individually today might not be good for our country in the long-run.
Some got here quicker than others but slowly Americans are moving…waking, and when it is over the world will realize we are still who and what we have always been.
America is not one leader. It is not one American. It is not black, white, red, or brown. It is not male or female. It is not poor, middle-class or wealthy. It is not Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or other. It is not gay or straight. It is not one voice or millions of individual voices. It is the collective of all of these things…a democracy.
Almost two years ago, it appears more Americans went to the polls and cast their vote for Donald J. Trump, and a significant number seem ready and willing to do so again. On the other hand, the GOP has been losing important races all over the country and Americans seem to be more politically engaged on all fronts than I have seen in all my years.
When it is all said and done, “us” will have once again defined America. I don’t know what that America will be, I just know that “us” will decide.
Perhaps we will have a more isolationist country than the one that embraced free trade and immigration. Perhaps we will have a country that is less generous to the poor and more supportive of the wealthy.
Perhaps we will relegate truth and fair-dealing to a backseat in favor of tax cuts, abortion rights, someone else’s right to choose who one loves, or simply winning…all this while leaving our youth with the debt of their predecessors.
Perhaps we will let our environment fend for itself rather than listen to those who have provided preventative measures that might leave our home planet a better place than our current path. Perhaps some of us will have a status more like that of the past rather than that achieved through years of struggle.
Perhaps we will surrender our First Amendment rights and kneel to the majority. Perhaps we will give up on our usually peaceful existence in our everyday lives and embrace the ever-increasing fear-mongering and weaponizing of our communities…something some would surely see as simply protecting Second Amendment rights.
Perhaps we will allow the sustained attacks on our executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government to become more like those in the countries from which the framers of our Constitution sought so desperately to distinguish and protect us.
Of course, I could go on and on with this list. I could tell you the end is coming and America will likely not survive this moment in her history. It would simply be fear-mongering and although I am a flaming liberal, I am not willing to say that this GOP ruled time is going to be the fall of our America.
America has quite a few very wrong turns and more than a few bad politicians in its history, and this is certainly not the first time the bedrock of our Constitution has been under attack. Although progress may have been slowed and remnants of those battles remain even today, our democracy, our America survived.
I am hopeful because “us” is on the move. We are putting arguments on the table, feet on the ground, and will cast ballots at the polls just as our citizens have done time and time again.
One thing is for sure, whatever path we choose, U.S. citizens will have collectively chosen our own path because today we are a democracy. Tomorrow is not promised but today we still have a vote that matters.