These Dark-Bright Days in America

Otherness.

Long have I railed against the plague of Otherness pervading my country. If you are without food, I won’t ask you who you voted for before sharing my sandwich. If you wreck your car outside my house, I’m not going to grill you on your religion or your legal status; I’m going to provide first aid and call an ambulance to save your life. If you drop your keys, I’m going to run after you to return them whether your hat says MAGA or Planned Parenthood on it.

The people whose blood saved my life in 2009 didn’t know if I would belong to any of the groups they associate themselves with. They just gave, and because they did that, I survived. Likewise, it doesn’t matter to me whose life I save with my own blood — a person is a person, and people deserve to receive help when they need it. It’s that simple. If you have an urgent need and I can help, I’d like to help you. All else is just “details” in that moment.

I believe we are all this decent at heart. I’ve seen it too many times to think otherwise.

And yet, here we are. Bitterly divided, distrustful, rabid, angry, worn out and sure that “our side” is the one with a stranglehold on Truth and Justice and Real Actual Patriotism.

Our nation will falter and may outright fail if we do not mend the breach…if we do not rediscover our compassion and all of the colorful threads that bind us all together in what has been called the greatest nation on earth.

I see so much reason to hope in the youth of Parkland, in all of the Americans across all walks of life who have stood up and said, “ENOUGH” to the things that wound our collective American heart. Enough violence, enough unequal treatment, enough leaky school buildings and overcrowded prisons and crumbling infrastructure. Enough.

I also see so much reason to tremble in the unstable, corrupt President of the United States and his crony circle. Mitch McConnell is possibly worse than the POTUS, for McConnell doesn’t have the excuse of being a pampered lackwit with no job experience.

These men — Trump, McConnell, Sessions & co — are willing to put party before country, and Trump puts himself over all, because that is all he knows how to do and all he cares about at the end of the day…the job? An inconvenience, more often than not. He could be golfing!

I believe my country’s leader governs illegitimately, and that he knowingly obstructed and continues to obstruct the pursuit of justice re: Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. I believe my country is harmed by his ill-considered policies and will further be harmed the longer he stays in office.

I did not like some of the other presidents from that party in the past — but in the past, I always believed that they truly acted in what they thought was America’s best interests, even if we disagreed on what that should look like. I respected them as leaders even if I did not agree with them on policy. I never considered that they were unpatriotic or possibly that ultimate t-word. Never.

It rockets around my mind, that ugly word, regarding Trump. I firmly believe that he sold us out — and continues to, in large and small ways, as it befits his personal interests — to advance his own wealth and standing in the world. I believe he is corrupt to his very soul and that he cares nothing for the future of America as long as he still has his fat stacks of cash and gets airtime — and golfing weekends at his resorts.

I believe Trump will fire Rosenstein or Mueller, possibly both. McConnell will not protect Mueller because he knows the truth and it doesn’t suit his narrative. McConnell has aspirations too, you see, and he is willing to do anything to keep a Republican president who gives zero shits about decency or his fellow Americans below the 1%…moreover, this is a president McConnell can control, and he loves that. (Hey Mitch, there are visible strings protruding from your back too, you jowly hypocrite.)

These men are not patriots. These men are undermining our democracy, and they have no plans to slow this runaway train. This government is no longer — and perhaps has not been for a long time, but the fetid fruit of these rotten branches is falling on our heads right now! — a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” The 1% is not America and has little to do with what makes us great. But as the poor get poorer, the middle class struggles, and the rich get richer, these wealthy old white men tighten their grip on the controls and accelerate toward a future in which more and more of us are utterly left behind.

I love my country and I fear for its future. And because I’m a liberal, half of you cannot hear me. I know this. Please do not blind yourselves to the clear and present dangers these men pose to the long-term security and well-being of the United States of America simply because they have the “right” letter after their names.

The two-party system foments Otherness. Us vs. Them, you see. A corrupt candidate-turned-President on either side could have brought us to this point — with different details, perhaps, but the D/R divide has enabled this situation to emerge. It is not the only reason, but it is one we must examine if we are to heal and re-balance our damaged government and the people’s faith in fair and equal representation to address the concerns that actually matter to us.

I’m Mel, (I). Not D. Not R. I. Independent. Not a Bernie Bro, not a Hillary shill, just me. (If there was a Compassion Party I’d probably join.) I don’t dislike Trump because of his party. I dislike him because he does not even care to try to represent the people of the country he leads. I can’t respect someone who puts themselves above their sworn duty to others.

My grandfather, a WWII veteran/Purple Heart recipient, died a few hours before Trump took that oath of office. I find a dim, bitter thread of consolation in knowing he didn’t live to see what has become of the country he very nearly died for as a young man thousands of miles from home.

In the next breath, lightning jolts through my spine as I am reminded that it is incumbent upon us to fix the damage and to carry forward Lady Liberty’s torch, shining more brightly than ever despite the stain of these dark days.

We are heading toward a precipice. Whether we tumble off the edge is up to all of us. Not Trump. Not McConnell. We The People will decide our fate, turning this train together before it leaves the rails, or riding over the edge of our fading democracy. If the latter is our destination, it won’t matter what party you once were. All will fall beneath the wave of fascism that will sweep our nation. The blood of those who fought and died to preserve our democracy will cry out in dismay…and we won’t hear a thing.

 

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