For several months now I have been struggling about my direction with this blog. For a while now it has been about travel and food, and while I continue to love these things. I am compelled to write about more serious matters. As many of you know (I hope) the President of the United States is extremely divisive. While I do not agree with him, he is my President as he won the electoral college. This is indisputable. Where is this going? The president is, and should be held to account by the people, not just his supporters, but all the people. His wide ranging comments, accusations, and stated intentions have grown from what I will call an annoyance to myself, statements which frustrate me to the point of near depression, to rhetoric which is alarming at its smallest and destabilizing at the most extreme. Destabilizing to the country in which I was born, the country which I served, and the country which I love. So I will write about the current state of affairs from my point of view. If you do not like it, I am sorry, but do not spit vitriol at me. Instead, seek to engage me in constructive conversations to allow us to grow to understand each other.
First, I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. My argument was I have always felt that she would not be an effective president. I believe the Mrs. Clinton made a good senator in New York, and she was an excellent Secretary of State. But as President I feel that she would not have been the person which would be able to represent the people beyond the large donors to her campaign (As Donald Trump has been representing thus far). So I did not vote for her.
Second, I am neither Democrat or Republican. While I registered to vote in the Democratic Primary this last year. I feel strongly that I am an Independent due to my support for progressive social values, yet a strong desire for conservative national economic values. Why social progressive? I grew up hearing that everyone deserves a chance. Every person is a human and no one is different except in what they do, in this belief all deserve a chance to reach their full potential free from the constraints of discrimination or bigotry. In this I feel that the individual is responsible for their actions, yet their choices (conscious or unconscious) in their social and home life should not bias me for or against them. Gay, straight, black, white, urbanite, rural dweller, Democrat, Republican…all are American. This I believe. For to long we have seen the opposite of ourselves as the “enemy” or opponent. As a society we have forgotten how to listen to the other side in an effort to compromise and find the middle ground…in fact we have never had that skill.
We claim that our country was founded on the idea that compromise in government will lead to a manner of governance which all feel represents them in some way. While our early government made compromises in this which led to the emergence of civil and social conflict. The issues of slavery and the industrial workplace haunt our nation enough today to remain in our social consciousness well beyond what we see as the end of the conflicts and confrontations which we believe solved them. This means that racism still exists, even having had a president who identifies as African American, discrimination exists, the struggle between the labor and capital classes still exists, and the struggle by some to have their basic human and civil rights still exists.
I realize that the preamble to what I will talk about has gone on far enough, but I wish to drive home the point that I feel that all have the right to exist as long as they respect the appropriate social contract tenants: obey the law in the cases where the law is not discriminatory or senseless. In those cases, work to change the laws. Treat and respect others as you wish to be treated and respected, or as a favorite comedian of mine says “don’t be a dick”. And work to understand those you do not understand, that way you can seek to become a better person who understands more about your nation as a community, rather than your community within the nation. I believe that if you seek to understand all who live within our nation (I do not say agree with everyone), this nation will grow beyond the sectional disagreements we currently possess to become more focused as a people and nation. Seek discussion and accord rather than division and discord.
Now for my new beginning. This morning I awoke to articles on the BBC and Guardian news services (I read foreign news services first because of the biases so prevalent in our own news) in which President Trump was quoted as saying “He blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance. “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.” This blaming of the system, in my mind, seeks to undermine the very bedrock of our nation which was was created by the founders, which has been amended trough blood sweat and tears, and which allows Americans to exist in a nation which does not allow for the despotic actions of a single, egomaniacle man. Prior to these statements my feeling was that President Trump is the President of the United States. I felt that he deserved the chance to present his agenda and attempt to get his laws passed. And he did, and to his consternation he was blocked legally and through political action by Congress, courts, and individual efforts of those who protested. This is how a President’s wants and desires are balanced out. Now he is seeking to change the manner of balancing those wants and desires into something which will allow him to act unilaterally without a check on his power or his actions. This is unacceptable. This is reprehensible. The fact that he has put forth the idea that he should not have his power checked is as un-American as I can conceive of when thinking about government.
While many media outlets remained focused on his approval ratings, his international relations actions, or his strange and meandering though processes as demonstrated by both his actions and his interviews. I would like to look not only at the rhetoric above but his ideas regarding loyalty. Especially in light of his re-deceleration of Loyalty Day on May 1st. While this is not a new phenomenon as we are reminded by many media outlets. The important thing to observe both his rhetoric, and the manner in which this event was covered.
When looking at NPR we see a recall of all presidential recognition of the day, from Eisenhower to Obama. We are reminded of the anti-Communist origins of the day, to the appeals to remember the diversity of the nation by Presidents Johnson, Reagan, and Obama. And NPR shows how the day was used by presidents to push agendas in regards to the beliefs of the time in which they were issued. FOX gives us a brief blurb of what the President declared with no regard to the history of the deceleration. Finally the Guardian gives the deceleration the examination in reference to the President’s thoughts on the Constitution and the investigation into the administration’s ties to Russia as summarized by the National Review here (Author David French) and by Politifact’s Lauren Carroll here. However, both accounts are out of date and we are receiving updates on these investigations nearly every week. As the President continues to make disparaging remarks regarding the make up of our nation’s government as seen in his questioning of the constitution (archaic system is how he termed it) or his questioning of Federal Judges.
With all of his questioning of the legal right of Federal Judges and the Constitution, as well as his possible ties to Russia. Dissent and investigation into this President is necessary, necessary to maintain our system of checks and balances, necessary to maintain our freedoms and prevent them from subversion by a man who is clearly nepotistic, and necessary to give voice to everyone in the nation. Not just those who President Trump views as his base. More next time.