The Washington Monument at sunrise. Photo by Craig Fildes/Flickr Creative Commons

This Upside-Down Nation

By Ruth Gadebusch

My head just can’t stop swirling with each day’s political news. So much lip service is given to the vision of our forefathers (mothers were excluded) of the nation that was supposed to be. Yet today we seem to be laying aside so much of all that was good in that vision. Their intent was to allow individual respect for people to differ but to come together for the good of the whole.

It is unquestioned that few, if any, could see where technological development of communications and travel would take us, but they had no doubt of the moral direction. Individuals would have freedom of thought and action integrated within a framework of protecting the whole, the nation that was to be different from any other on the planet, the model to which all others were to aspire. At this point, this vision of world leadership appears to be sinking into a mudhole of a small coterie of self-centered power egoists. Instead of the oft-stated campaign slogan of draining the Washington swamp, the swamp is now bigger, and dirtier, than ever.

Not that everything was perfect, but we did seem to be on the right route for equal opportunity. There was recognition that the planet was shared and that this nation, in particular, had the ability to bring that dream to fruition for more of the inhabitants, to keep a lid on some of the would be power grabbers.

It is difficult to believe that we freely elected a man who plays to the worst aspects of human kind so often. How could so many fall victim to the embroidered advertising? Although growing weaker by the day, we still had hope at the inauguration that the man would grow to the job. We thought the awesomeness of the responsibility, the future not just of this nation but of the world would produce a higher level of leadership. Alas, there is little of that hope left.

The worst part is that those who should know better are succumbing to this man’s worst instincts for their own personal power. They don’t seem to realize that when the world implodes they will not be immune but will go down with the rest of us. The so-called leadership of the party in power is all too willing to go along with “solutions” that just a short time ago were unthinkable.

Yes, I know the old saying that “a wise man sometimes changes his mind, but a fool never does.” However, that is predicated on changing circumstances demanding a change of mind, but his goes far beyond that. It is thoughtless reversal of any action of the previous administration. It is unbridled power.

At this writing, the election of 2016 is in serious question of its legitimacy. Gerrymandering has long been accepted as a way of tilting the vote just as has exaggeration of a candidate’s skills and dedication while denigrating that of the opponent. Propaganda rules.

He has put our most important security in the hands of those of questionable integrity. We have directors appointed to head agencies for the sole purpose of dismantling them. The president is known for his lack of acquaintance with the truth and much better acquaintance with vulgar language, to say nothing of his behavior. He has no respect for the views and experiences of others be they his personal political allies or leaders of other nations.

These are not proclivities showing up after sworn into office but were quite evident during the campaign. Yet, he got elected. How did it happen? How are those in responsible office of the other two branches of government letting it continue?

His advocacy includes voting barriers, deregulation of banking and finance, exploiting natural resources, disassembling healthcare, eliminating food and shelter aid to the less fortunate and more. And that doesn’t address at all his actions regarding immigration. He has imputed world leaders with various insults, and as this is being written he has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement in defiance of all evidence of Iran’s compliance and our co-signers’ pleas to stick with it as the only deal we have. Whatever its weaknesses it is better than nothing.

Without doubt, he is utilizing the power of the office that should hardly surprise us given what we heard during the election. We may question how so many people fell for it, but the bigger question is those members of the reigning party in Congress who should know better continue to place no restraints whatsoever. (Yes, reign is the correct designation as they act more like kings than majority party leaders.) How could so many in responsible positions sacrifice integrity for power, not put the nation’s health ahead of political party power? To our everlasting shame, one of those members of Congress is our very own.

We can make a difference. We have an election. We have a vote. We can enhance that vision of the forefathers or we can continue into the mudhole. If ever political action was called for it is now, and not just in national offices but in our many local choices. Much of the world does not enjoy such a privilege. Our future demands that we use it responsibility. Don’t fall for the glorified rhetoric. A swamp cannot be drained so long as it is being fed so generously. On June 5, vote to uphold the vision created in the forming of the United States of America.

*****

Ruth Gadebusch has served this nation as a naval officer, a trustee of the Fresno Unified School District, as vice-chairperson of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is an emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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