THE STATES OF AMERICA EMERGE "OUT OF MANY ONE" BEING FORSAKEN
Let's just talk about the (uhh) elephant in the room. No one wants to ask this question. What really is America? Let's begin with the fact that America is a continent and that might be the most instructive bit of news we can start with.
For most of us living, we were taught to believe that America is everything, all good, all loving, united, almighty – God like.
Some moments in history are noteworthy for their unveiling of the truth and the inauguration of Donald Trump is extraordinary in this regard.
It is trite but appropriate to acknowledge that the truth hurts. We are now accepting the pain of one who is brash enough to vaporize some of our most cherished beliefs and myths. In a much different time, Jimmy Carter was sent to the woodshed for suggesting that he “lusted in his heart.” Fast-forward to now where saying pussy, as part of a president’s vitriolic rhetoric, is brushed off as bold locker room banter. That was then, this is now.
My guess is that a bunch of folks were saying pussy all along. Did we never know that Mexico was a part of America? Have we been so tranquilized by overt acts of pseudo patriotism that we really believed wasting trillions on failed wars in the name of fighting terrorism was little more than fiction? Did both political parties really believe that there was no limit to the wool pulled over the eyes of the pubic?
There are tomes to be written about all of this by the scribes of our time but what strikes me most is what this says about who we really are as a people.
In a New York Times editorial by Karen Stohr entitled, ”Our New Age of Contempt,” the author argues that heightened levels of personal attacks and false accusations are corrosive. She explains, “Privately expressed contempt may be cathartic. Publicly expressed contempt, however, is perilous.”
I think we have proven that throwing different kinds of people into a mixing bowl requires exceptional strength of character to expect the best. Most nations are more homogeneous, colored and cultured the same. It is rather miraculous that is has taken this long for the contempt and lies to result in a ripping of our national fabric.
E Pluribus Unum, out of many one, sounds great but feels crummy right now.
There has been a rash of fundamentalism and it never gets called out for what it is – a scourge on Christianity and people of all beliefs. The anti-terrorism rhetoric is a great way for one to get elected. But isn’t it obvious that the tenets followed by aggressive politicians are aligning closely with a similar fundamentalism that we fight abroad: divisiveness, hatred, control, untruths, and disdain for all of the cultural isms. The worldwide movement to destroy our monuments, demean progress, squander our earth's resources and promote parochialism, nationalism and selfishness has a big following in the United States. To what grand scheme have we discarded our founding notion of working toward a more perfect union?
Who are we really? We have now taken a walk down the path of finding this answer twice.
Donald Trump won for some of the same reasons that Obama won. We are an unsettled people whose personality resembles more the mood and attitude swings of an adolescent. We are a nation preparing for our dark ages, as history records all nations seemingly have to endure. We are separating into our tribes and choosing our weapons. Some want guns, some want fake news, some want intimidation and some want peace. What a fine mess we have.
This isn't the beginning of the end; it is more the beginning of the new beginning. Trump unveiled the tragedy and comedy of a nation. He attacked the status quo of blind political loyalty and ambition and the myths of our supposed representative democracy, which he knew was a simmering issue. He made the case with patriotic fervor against runaway cronyism and for consumer capitalism on steroids. His contempt for the media and suspicion of a fixed system was juxtaposed against actions by his opponents to rig debates by passing along the “secret” questions. His supporters cried foul while Democrats cried liar. If everyone is doing it, does that mean it is the new normal? Deepened contempt grew more personal and the divide has grown. And if you really wanted to see a comedy of errors, look only to the Russia story or positions on Israel. Again, these extended stories are for more eloquent writers to cover ad nauseam.
While we were all busy typing out our misspelled words of joy or dismay on hand held devises, who we really are as a people was also being recorded. We are not a unified country. We don't believe in the same things. We don't worship the same or, in some cases, any god. We interpret truths as we see them in our self-views. Like it or not, we have angry neighbors and families with harsh views and we no longer can believe the fantasy we grew up with about a nation created by a struggling people who just wanted a better life for all. Who wants a better life for anyone with an opposing view today?
This is a moment like when we learned there was no Santa Claus. It wasn't the end of the world, just the end of innocence. The irony is that we are actually at a moment of truth, when the truth is hard to come by. Who are we? What is the truth?
Because I don’t like whiners who offer no solutions, think about this to bring us all better peace of mind. Uproot and replant the political party system. The voters twice have told us that they reject the Republican and Democratic insiders and operators and the response has been more of the same. I know that many of you feel devoted to your party bosses because they have either endeared themselves to you are scared you to death. For putting themselves before their country, they need to go and take their systems and cozy relationships with them. Work for true representation in election districts and not the snake-like gerrymandering common to both parties who wheel and deal with our votes. Eliminate the Electoral College System after modernizing the way we vote to match the way we live in modern society. Oh, and just saying, safeguard the voting technology. If you are going to drain the swamp, you need to defund the swamp and reform the way candidates fund their campaigns. I don’t want either political party or some fat cat political action committee to buy any election; that is undemocratic to its core. None of this is easy but, hopefully, after some necessary reforms, people will feel at peace with their decision to vote.
E Pluribus Unum has escaped us. United is now in question. Today, we are The States of America, replete with the emperor's clothes removed and staring at the naked truth.
Valsin A. Marmillion is known as The Peace Man for daily commentary on Pirate Radio WKYZ Key West. His long career in Democratic politics, working on Capitol Hill and managing progressive national public engagement campaigns serves as a base for his understanding of the American political system. #peace #peaceradioman #thepeaceman #lovewins #thepeacestore