What follows may not be exactly the quote I heard the other night on the Bill Maher show, but it is close.
“Barrack Obama was the President of who we would like to be. Donald Trump is the President of who we are.” D. L. Hughley.
When Barrack Obama was elected the whole world was giddy. Teens wept in Japan. The world actually was evolving toward a better place. We were as a species following the example of our better angels.
As a child I was taught that the United States was not like other nations; that we were exceptional. We believed that. We were exceptional because we had a democratic form of government. The people decided what was good for the nation. Other third world countries had dictators and assassinations and coups. We had the rule of law and our representatives were chosen by us and our laws were upheld by police who protected everyone. And we believed that.
And then John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in plain view in a parade. America wept. This sort of thing happened in banana republics. We wept for Jack Kennedy, but more we wept for us, for our loss of innocence, for our lost illusion.
We keep trying to find those rose colored glasses again. We survived Watergate, the investigation, the impeachment and the resignation of Richard Nixon. Our system worked. The system of checks and balances prevented criminal activity in government and the usurpation of power by those in any of the three branches of government.
Although conservatives and liberals had very different views on the purpose of government, the worth of all people, and the interpretation of the constitution, our very foundation, we could all work together and we did. And then through a variety of forces we changed and could no longer talk to each other let alone work together.
We kept believing the promises of those running for government despite the fact that almost none of them were kept whether on the part of conservative or liberal. But we were hopeful for change with President Obama, and many did not see change, or saw too little.
The solution was nothing that liberals could have ever imagined would really ever happen. We couldn’t have believed that our nation would be led by a president who looks up to dictators and seeks to usurp power, destroy our belief in our institutions and convince the average American that good is bad and bad is good; that truth is fiction and fiction is truth.
Rudy Giuliani should have retired after his role as Mayor of New York after the attacks on 9/11. His remarks about truth not being truth and similar statements as he acts as shill for Donald Trump have completely taken away his credibility.
Because in past history a change in party is usually followed by a shift in balance in Congress liberals are confident of a “Blue Wave”. When Bill Clinton was elected with a Democratic majority in the house there was a conservative sweep at the mid-term elections turning the House red. Nothing, however, is following past trends. We have never had a President with no past experience in government who communicates through tweets instead of fire-side chats, and who governs as though he was the host of a reality show.
We believe that we are in a temporary nightmare, that in the morning we will awake and we will once again be that shining city on a hill. Our real problem is that we on the left have fallen into the trap of believing that we are part of an exceptional nation; not for the reasons that conservatives believe that. They believe it because the think America is blessed by God, that we are God’s chosen people, that our soldiers are meant to protect a people who worship God and Capitalism.
Liberals are just as deluded. We believe in an evolving world in which humanity is becoming more caring, empathetic and fair. I believe that we are not evolving in that direction; that we have to constantly fight to prevent the world from being a more cruel and heartless place.
If we are going to truly make the world a better place we have to fight the world-wide trend toward nationalism, totalitarianism and injustice.
We have to avoid believing the hype that the a Blue Wave is inevitable, just the work of nature. It won’t happen without a lot of expenditure of labor and capital.
Our executive, legislative and judicial branches are all controlled now by those who sneer at justice, believe that poor people deserve to be poor, and strive to enact laws that favor the rich and powerful. Breaking that chokehold requires a change in Congress, and it will require a big change in order to have a mandate and overcome the efforts of those in foreign governments to sew chaos and lack of trust in our form of government by interfering with our process of voting.
We need to act as though our processes still work, otherwise they won't. We have to make Congress work by changing Congress.