State of the Union
"The Centre Cannot Hold"
A few days ago, the president retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by members of Britain First, an extremist group bent on fomenting fear and hatred in the UK and now getting a helping hand from Donald Trump in promoting the same here. We all know that Donald Trump is more addicted to Twitter than a gossipy teen-age girl, but nevertheless I heard one commentator remark this morning that Trump’s erratic and immature behavior might be “strategic.”
And yesterday Trump announced his endorsement of Roy Moore, allegedly a serial child predator running on the Republican ticket for senator in Alabama.
“Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold.” These lines from “The Second Coming,” a poem written by William Butler Yeats at the end of World War I capture exactly the way I feel about the current state of our union. If we continue down this path, the center cannot hold.
Consider what we have:
An immature president who understands neither the most fundamental principles on which this country was founded nor the awesome responsibilities of the office he now holds; who lies like a teen-aged addict; who inflames tensions by taunting nuclear-armed adversaries; who responds to a natural disaster by happily tossing paper towels to desperate victims.
A hidebound Republican party which allowed itself to be hijacked by that man, now president, who well before his nomination was known to stiff his creditors, grab and grope women, mock and belittle opponents, lie routinely, escalate tension with bombastic attacks on critics and protesters, and have little knowledge of geography and foreign affairs.
A devious Democratic party that manipulated the primary process to successfully ensure that their legacy hopeful
became the candidate, thus depriving another strong challenger of a level playing field in which he might have had an even chance of winning the party’s nomination.
A Republican-dominated Congress that panders to the donor class and that, as I write, is cynically passing off as a “tax cut” the heist of a trillion and a half dollars which will be added to the national debt and given to the wealthiest among us while taxes on low and middle income earners rise.
A Supreme Court whose rulings often defy common sense as in two particularly egregious decisions in recent years:
1) the ruling that “closely held” corporations have the same claim to religious liberty as individuals (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) and can assert that right to deny employees insurance coverage for contraception in their company’s group health care plans (famously leading to Mitt Romney’s observation that “corporations are people, my friend”), and
2) the ruling that candidates may benefit from unlimited piles of money via Political Action Committees (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission), a ruling which opened the floodgates to a river of cash (also known as the “money is speech” ruling because of its claimed basis in First Amendment free speech rights).
People calling themselves “evangelicals” (as in those who spread the teachings of the Christian religion) who instead “evangelically” (as in zealously) support the alleged child predator, mentioned above, for a seat in the Senate.
None of this bodes well for the future. We were founded as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. In Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, he pointed to the preservation of that system as the greater good of the Civil War. To our great detriment, it has evolved into government of the people, by the politicians, for the wealthy.
It’s up to us to change that.
For a "don't miss" related read, click here to see "How the Republicans Broke Congress"
Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern hm? Let history answer this question.
We are fast approaching the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of run by brute force.