I have to admit that in these days of Trump I have become something of a news “junkie”. My brother like many others has just walked away from the news almost completely except for a few well chosen op-ed pieces he finds. Part of my addiction, I think, comes from the sense of disbelief that the news of the day brings. I cannot figure out how nearly everything we believed had meaning and purpose in our lives has just plain disappeared. I don’t think, for the most part, it can ever be reclaimed. Integrity, compromise, honesty, compassion, a belief in the greater good are concepts that, if the last few days are any indication, are gone.
Looking back I suppose I have to admit this has been coming on for a long time. Regardless of how it has been portrayed, politics has never been a “gentleman’s game”. I read in a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, when he became police commissioner of New York City, his social class was aghast that he would descend into the corruption and the dirt of machine politics. Roosevelt felt there was a place for an honest man and he believed he could clean-up the crime and the dirty money which was rampant even then.
The fiasco of this last episode, the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, have called to mind the need for some men and women in politics who can see beyond the political power struggle and really focus on the needs of the nation.
Rhetoric from both parties has inflamed the American landscape so that we are powerless to see the common good. The ‘tribalism’, the division in every facet of our society really is frightening. Like the Middle East where we see Sunni and Shia and Suffi clash; in African countries where cultures are still fighting tribal battles; in Bosnia, Czechoslovakia and Herzegovina we saw tribes — Serbs and Bosnians reigniting centuries old hatreds and slaughtering each other just because “they were not like me.”
The individual rights we have always held so precious, the rule by law, the importance of being heard, have been washed away in fear mongering and people who attempt to stir up these old hatreds. The marching in Charlottesville goes back to the Civil War. We are seeing those old flames being fanned once again and it is frightening.
I have no idea what the mid-terms elections will bring, but I hope it is not open clashes in the streets of our country. We have seen that happen before and it doesn’t solve anything. The reconciliation is not going to come from the White House nor perhaps Congress or the Supreme Court. Those words, “We, the people. . .” need to be repeated over and over again until they sink into the very soil of this country. “We, the people” are every race, and culture and language in the world. “We, the people”, in seeking freedom, integrity, and compassion, have created this country we call home. “We, the people” need to show the politicians what democracy and patriotism really mean. “We, the people.”