Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Enemy Within And The Enemy Without

Each of us is an island trying to make it in a hostile sea. My apologies to John Donne.
We look for other islands out of fear. We are so tiny in comparison to the world at large. We want so badly to be part of something bigger - part of a chain forming a barrier reef.

There is value in this at times. Sometimes it is suicidal.
Nations come and go. Empires rise and fall. Humans experiment with different systems of government. We’ve had everything from brutal dictatorships to democracies.

In the United States, we’ve been part of an experiment in self-government. We are a Republic. We vote.
We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had civil war. We’ve been involved in wars with other nations and we’ve been involved in World Wars.
We have been told, and we have believed, that we are the mightiest nation in the world. We certainly have an impressive military.
What we also have is a Constitution that gives us the ability to decide what we want to be on an ongoing basis. For instance, we could vote away our democracy and become a fascist nation.
For those who are willing to peek out of the cocoons they wove for themselves and actually take in information and process it without bias (true thinking and analysis) the comfort that we derive in believing we are part of a whole can be fleeting.
We have been at war with ourselves from day one. Slave States vs. Free States was the bedrock of our foundation. The Constitution was drawn up in an attempt to allow us to live peacefully with each other while embracing mutually exclusive beliefs in freedom and democracy.
The Civil War did not resolve this dispute. The South lost. The conflict continued.
The internal wars that engulfed us were expanded and exacerbated by the Industrial Revolution and the rise of mega industries headed by “robber barons”. The age old war between rich and poor, wealth vs. poverty, went into high gear.
When we completed our “manifest destiny” there was no place left for someone who wanted to get away from “society” to go. We contained our conflicts in a geographical "box". With containment, the conflicts worsened.
For those of us who eschew fascism, the worst fear was someday finding ourselves in the minority of voters who voted against fascism, or finding ourselves in a majority of voters who lost the election because of the Electoral College.
The Electoral College is a vestige of the wars that were going on between those who advocated for slavery and those who advocated for liberty when the Constitution was drawn up.
Change reached unprecedented levels during the Technological Revolution. Mass communication made it easy to promote propaganda and program our citizenry – “mind control”.
Orwell and Huxley and Golding and Thoreau and Will Rogers and Pirsig and Kesey and Heller and Salinger and Vonnegut and Tolkien and a host of other men and women have been warning us about our susceptibility to stupidity and our vulnerability to fear for decades.
Abolitionists and suffragettes and civil rights advocates and sexual rights advocates and women’s rights advocates and all kinds of people who valued freedom and equality have laid down their lives and risked everything they had to insure our liberty.
Thousands of men and women in the armed forces have given their lives and suffered permanent injuries over the centuries to insure our freedom.

George Santayana warned us about what would happen if we did not learn from history.

Martin Niemöller warned us about what would happen if we ignored injustice.

Maya Angelou reminded us about what is truly important.
Martin Luther King, Jr. nudged our awareness.

So here we are, over 200 years since the signing of our Declaration of Independence and the ratification of our Constitution.

So here we are after a minority of the voters set us on the road to fascism by electing a worthless opportunist who seems hell bent on destroying our government and handing us into the hands of our enemy.
On November 8, 2016 we elected a man who ran on a campaign of lies. A man who was supported by our main adversary.
On January 20, 2017, he was sworn in as our President. Now, after only a few months, our country is in turmoil and our way of life is threatened like never before.
We did not just arrive at this crisis overnight. When Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, those who were carrying on in the place of yesterday’s slavery advocates formed themselves into new political groups and sought to insure that a black man would not succeed as our leader.
The Tea Party paved the way for the election of 2016. For 8 years, it had laid down roots throughout the country. Extremists calling themselves Conservatives were poised to nominate one of their own and take on the first woman ever to run for President as the nominee of a major party.
All the work and energy put in by members of the Tea Party was usurped during the primaries leading up to the election of 2016. A candidate, much like Isaac Asimov’s “Mule” came along and disrupted everything and everyone.

Running on a campaign of hate and lies, reminiscent of Hitler and Mussolini, Donald Trump won the Republican Party nomination and took it all the way to the White House and, finally, into his own  private country clubs.

Mr. Trump is our President. The scandals that are engulfing him have reached a level where one cannot rule out “treason” from his list of offenses.

Yet, with all this, the Republican Party, the party that holds a majority in both the House and Senate, appears unwilling to act on the behalf of our nation and bring this insanity to an end.

The Republican Party has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to Mr. Trump’s alienating our allies, advocating for the dissolution of the EU, and jeopardizing NATO, while all the while praising Vladimir Putin and seeking to bond with Russia.

The people Trump has brought on board in his administration excel in 2 things: having ties to Russia; and little or no experience in government.”

Indeed, where past Presidents have used their “bully pulpit” to advocate for social advancement, Mr. Trump has ‘tweeted” to defame both our intelligence agencies and our free press. He has spread dissension.

Confused? Disoriented? Avoiding conversations with close friends and family? Join the club. Our little islands are increasingly becoming less stable and the barriers we have formed against the chaos and terror of the world are coming apart.
We are at war. Our enemy is both within and without. Our people are divided with a good percentage of our citizenry following Mr. Trump regardless of what he does or says.
In the meantime, Putin has managed what no other foreign adversary has been able to do. He has a puppet in the White House. Putin and the Russian oligarchs have compromised and funded a ruthless opportunist who is doing what no enemy in our history has been able to do by force of arms.
All our military might will amount to naught if Trump isn’t held to account for what he has done. Money laundering and racketeering are not part of the American dream.
Russia and China are busy working to redraw the world map and take over the world’s economies.
We are watching a Republican Congress steadfastly deny and refuse to acknowledge what is happening on a daily basis.
There is nothing that has happened in our history to prepare us for this eventuality. We are winging it on a daily basis.
The numerous safeguards that our founders and previous leaders have put in place to prevent something like this have been neutralized by politicians who put party above country.
Holy Moly!

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