Before "Day 1", the Constitution of the United States, people were wrestling with freedom and liberty and rights. It didn't start here. Hopefully, it doesn't end here.
A lot of people came to this continent from a lot of different places with radically different histories and ideas. There was no unity.
A country where slavery was legal and practiced evolved into the world's leading opponent of slavery. A country that denied full citizenship and civil rights to all its citizens evolved into the world's leading advocate for civil rights.
There is much more to this, but the point is that this country has been evolving from the day the first people found their way onto this continent from wherever they came from.
We have gone to war with each other. We have gone to war with other countries. We are less than perfect and at times we were truly wretched.
Yet, with all that, the United States has been moving the bar globally in regards to freedom and democracy. In the midst of our worst internal crises voices have risen and debates have raged. In the midst of killing each other, we have managed to advance the goal of liberty.
So many people have died in our pursuit of liberty. People have died at the hands of their countrymen and even their families. People have died on remote battlefields.
Our citizens have paid for freedom and liberty with their blood. They have died in the pursuit of liberty and they have died in simple self-defense. No matter how they died, they died. Their lives ended and those of us who survived were always better off because of it.
Truman was President when I was born. He was an artillery man in the United States Army, a Captain, during World War I. Eisenhower followed him as President. Eisenhower was a General in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II.
Sadly, there was tension when Eisenhower succeeded Truman as President. Truman was a Democrat. Eisenhower was a Republican. Yet, for all their differences and disagreements, they were both patriots.
Truman and Eisenhower were the models from which I learned patriotism and citizenship and responsibility to country. They were giants dealing with things no mere man should ever have to deal with, yet they did and under them we advanced in liberty.
I doubt either of these men could win a nomination for any political office today. We just may have reached our evolutionary zenith in regards to liberty and freedom. We just may be retracting or devolving.
For Donald Trump to have been elected President, a whole lot of us had to be oblivious to the blood sacrificed for our liberty. A whole lot of us had to be so totally ignorant or so completely corrupted. A whole lot of us had to turn our backs on all those who came before us and sacrificed everything to provide us with what we have at this moment.
Our freedoms and liberties are apparently on the market, ready to be chopped up and sold to the highest bidder. Today's bidders are wealthy American oligarchs and Russian agents and criminals. Our Congress has been corrupted.
The press failed us. Law enforcement failed us. Our business community failed us. Our professional organizations failed us. Our religious institutions failed us. Our political parties failed us. We failed ourselves.
I seek out information. The extent to which Putin and Russia and the Russian mob have infiltrated our government is beyond what most people could have imagined just a few years ago.
All through history there have been people who have warned us about the accumulation of power and greed. We have always managed to benefit from those warnings.
Today we seem to not only shy away from those warnings, we seen to hold those who warn us in disdain. Instead, we have allowed imbeciles and idiots and zealots of all kinds to lead us down a path of destruction.
Donald Trump is the greatest threat we have ever faced. His most ardent supporters hold him above the law. They care not for the blood that was shed on our behalf. They care not for honor and integrity. They care not for the truth.
When reckless self-interest and shameless personal promotion become our moral ideals, we are lost. We will snap back into the darkness of the past before we even realize what we have lost and what we have squandered.
Russia is not our ally. Putin is not our friend. Trump has sold us out. It is time to put our country before petty political concerns. It is time to come together and remember and revere the sacrifices that were made by all those who came before us.
We are the United States of America. We stand for freedom and justice and equality and liberty. Either that, or we sink into a murky abyss that we may never recover from.
So far we have always managed to repel the dark forces of hatred and bigotry from within. Until now, we have never elected a traitor or a racketeer or a two-bit criminal.