The United States of America has never been perfect. It continues to be a work in progress, even (and perhaps especially) after almost 250 years. In 2076, the U.S. of A. will be celebrating its tricentennial. If we’re lucky. I will most likely not live to see it. Some days (since the election of 2016), I don’t even think I want to!
An official impeachment inquiry has begun, but where will that lead our nation? Will it split us in two the way slavery did? The “Blue” states (the west and northeast coasts) vs. the “Red” states (everything in the middle and the South)? How is it that we have become so stridently partisan? When did I become this person who’s quick to judge those who see this president as a “great leader”? (Because I do judge them. Daily. Harshly.)
I often wonder whether the progressive bubble I enjoy in California is just that: a bubble. If Trump refuses to step down in 2020, assuming the Democratic candidate wins the election, will California be the first state to secede from the Union? How will Trump’s supporters react? There are murmurings of Civil War from the president himself. Is this merely more “leadership through fear” or is there something to this?
I don’t believe these are The End Times, but if you think our democracy is not experiencing an existential threat, then you’re not paying attention.
I don’t want to “Make America Great Again.” I want to Make America SANE And KIND Again. Between the species hurtling itself towards extinction, and the cluster-fuck of corruption which is this current administration, and the series of hashtags pointing to our repeated failures to find a way to peacefully co-exist within our own national borders (#METOO, #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #GUNCONTROLNOW), it’s a wonder any of us gets out of bed in the morning.
Is this our New Normal? I still believe in the almost 250-year old idealistic vision of our founders to “create a more perfect union…of, by and for the people”…even if they were all male, white and (many of them) slave owners. Today, in order to ensure the continuation of this vision, we have to to stand up for it every day in every way we can.
- Not stand up for this poor excuse of a president or his administration, but to stand up for the Office of the President as a model of executive power that thrives and shares power with the other branches of government.
- Not stand up for some notion of returning to racial purity, but to stand up for the ideals of diversity and inclusivity.
- Not stand up for patriarchy and all the dangerous misogyny that stems from it, but stand up for the power of women shared equitably with men.
- Not stand up for separating families at the border in the name of “protecting” what is “ours,” but to stand up for compassion towards others who through no fault of their own were born in countries where persecution and poverty are rampant.
- Not stand up for denial of facts and science as our planet plummets towards annihilation, but stand up for the future of the only planetary home available to us.
- Not stand up for calling the “lame-stream press” the “enemy of the people,” but stand up for a free press that holds power accountable.
- Not stand up for lie after lie after lie as if it were the truth, but stand up for the truth at every turn.
It’s the least we can do for those who will be here when the United States of America turns 300 years old. Immediately after the ratification of our Constitution in 1788, Benjamin Franklin was asked whether we were about to embark on a monarchy or a republic. “A republic…if we can keep it,” was his response.
Are you grieving the United States you once knew? If so, how are you coping? Feel free to share in the comments. And please, be respectful.