I am literally weary of the constant sturm and drang that will become the legacy of the Trump Era. As a self-declared political junkie driven by a professional commitment to sound public policy and a strong desire to be known as a compassionate and patriotic citizen I have written and spoken on a daily basis over the last three years of the dreadful condition of our democracy. At this point I am exhausted, not defeated or resigned, just tired.
While I continue to harbor retribution against a corrupt administration headed by corrupt individuals and a President who is neither capable of nor willing to act in the country’s best interest I feel relatively confident that the current process of an impeachment inquiry and what appears to be the beginning of an unraveling of Congressional support for a badly wounded President and Presidency will yield the closest thing to justice that our dysfunctional system can offer. My faith in Speaker Pelosi’s leadership and in our governmental institutions, which include dedicated public servants in non-political positions, the judicial system, and even a smattering of Republican elected officials, allows me to direct my thoughts to what happens when this nightmare ends.
Of course this does not mean we abandon our fight, we must continue through election day 2020 to ensure that the perpetrators of corruption are voted out of office and individuals who respect the Constitution and the government it has spawned are voted into office. But it is also important to begin to explore how in the world we are going to repair the deep rupture in national unity that has overtaken the country.
We have overcome deep breeches in civility before, the most prominent being a civil war that cost us 2% of our population. In today’s terms that would amount to 6 million people. We have faced a Great Depression, two World Wars, economic recessions, slavery, a civil rights revolution, and a President who resigned in disgrace. We must rise to the task ahead but the insidious nature of the current divide will certainly test our collective will and commitment to the foundational pillars of the Republic: namely, freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
The greatest travesty of the myriad injustices Trump has inflicted upon our nation lies in his eagerness to exploit division through tactics of diversion, denial, delusion, deceit, deception, and obfuscation.
The greatest travesty of the myriad injustices Trump has inflicted upon our nation lies in his eagerness to exploit division through tactics of diversion, denial, delusion, deceit, deception, and obfuscation. He has introduced to the American public a degree of prevarication that is unmatched and simply inexcusable. According to Washington Post fact checkers Donald Trump has told 13,435 lies and the count continues daily. It may sound quaint, but I worked for a President (Jimmy Carter) who with all sincerity ran on a platform whose central premise and promise was that he would never lie to the American people. He is 95, has written 29 books and still pounds nails as his organization, Habitat For Humanity, builds homes for the needy.
What is so astounding about this is not have far we have fallen but rather the fact that we have fallen that far in my adult lifetime. The larger question facing us from this point forward is the extent to which we can trust the person we elect to the White House next November to repair the fractures that are dividing the nation and its people. What is the plan?
I would like to suggest that the preeminent goal of the next President, regardless of whomever he/she is, is to rebuild faith and confidence in our leaders and institutions of government. Another President who I worked for (Bill Clinton) addressed a gathering of political appointees in Washington after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the most memorable thing I remember him saying was that “you can’t say you love your country and hate your government.”
The two are inextricably intertwined and the only thing that makes the system function at an acceptable level is marrying the goals, aspirations, and objectives of each for the benefit for the people. The government is run by human beings and is therefore by its very definition incapable of being perfect. The goal should be to attempt to make it as functionally effective in ensuring freedom, liberty, and justice for all. We have fine-tuned our democratic ideals over the past 240 plus years and we have a system that is flexible enough to accommodate change. We need leaders who are willing to accept the basic principles of a representative democracy that include separation of powers, co-equal branches of government, and checks and balances and adhere to the constraints inherent in them.
In short, we need to return to a level of civility and comity that allows for discussion of differences and relies upon compromise to move the country forward. We can, and must, agree to disagree and allow for deliberative processes to govern our progress. We must find strength in our diversity and respect for our differences. I do not believe this President understands let alone agrees with such a proposition but it is the American way. We have a lot of rebuilding to do.