What If?

By Ruth Gadebusch

Generally, I would rather be thinking about what is rather than what if, but we as a society are responsible for planning for our future and that requires consideration of “what if?” Without question, our nation is in a defining moment for the survival of the longest standing democracy the world has known.

What if we had elected leadership by majority vote rather than the antiquated Electoral College?

What if the installed leader was more than an egomaniac?

What if others of the majority party had had the courage to put nation before party reining him in as provided for in our constitution?

What if our so-called leadership had acted on the information of the threat of the Covid-19 virus?

What if there were some appreciation of the needs, be they financial or emotional, of the less fortunate?

What if general citizens had exhibited more willingness to recognize that all humans have the same needs whether they look like us or not? 

What if we had acted sooner on the principles of that document that guides us? 

In most things, I believe evolution is better than revolution. Although the world would unquestionably have fared better in the case of human needs had not small increments been the order of the day—better than nothing but still insufficient. I say this not in judgment of a previous era by our developed standards.

Maya Angelou said it best, “I did then what I knew to do. Now that I know better I do better.” Our opportunity to do better is now.

What a shame that it took the death of a man graphically portrayed in the media as a murder to spark what is hopefully a turning point from words on paper to more fulfillment of their meaning. The deaths of numerous other seemingly innocent people at the hands of law enforcement did not spark such examination of our responsibility as a society just as the deaths of individuals and large groups including children have not had much effect on dealing with the society’s infatuation with guns as interpreted from another time and need. We miss this opportunity at our peril.

It is spilled milk to consider these “what ifs?” of the past. There are “what ifs?” of the future facing us.

What if in the November election we replace the current leadership of questionable moral principles, ego-based management, ignorance and a few other less-than-favorable descriptions that apply, what difference will it make?

What if we fail to overcome the man’s efforts to convince the public that the election will be rigged. Of course, that only applies if the numbers don’t keep him in office! He is doing everything in his power to suppress the vote, totally contrary to what is the responsibility of the office. We cannot sing his tune. Each and everyone of us who cares must work as never before.

How often have we said that we wish we had a person of decency running? This time we do, totally contrary to the current occupant of the White House, the holder of the most important post on the planet. The challenger is much more than just nice. He is experienced.

We had our little “fun” with a businessman running the government although there is some question about how good a businessman he was. Keep in mind that government and business are different entities with different needs and purposes.

This could go on and on, but the point is obvious. One need only look around us. Our nation is in disarray. Democracy as it is supposed to be cannot survive another four-year assault. If we fail, there is no other “what if.” 

This is the time to live up to our talk. This is the time to live up to our ideal, our values. There is still validity in the dreams of our forefathers. Whatever weakness our government might have, it remains the best ever created. This is our time to make a difference. It is now or never.

We know what to do. Let us do it. We can make a change in our political world from division and strife to respect and appreciation. Need I name the party and candidates that offer hope and decency? It won’t be perfect, but it will be better, more like the dream of justice and opportunity for all in the creation of this nation. We can, we must make it happen.

*****

Ruth Gadebusch is a former naval officer, elected member of the Fresno Unified Board of Education, a Governor George Deukmejian appointee to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. an emeritus member of the Center for Civic Education and continuing citizen activist striving for a better community.

  • 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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