A dear friend at the opposite end of the political spectrum and I had a restrained political discussion this week, and she left me thinking. At one point I told her my greatest fear was that the America we all love may be gone forever. Ever since, I’ve been trying to articulate an answer to the question she asked me in response: Is it fair to say that we may love different things? That’s a good question. I don’t know what others love about our country, but here’s what I’m worried that we may be losing.
• 98% of the world’s climate scientists agree that our actions are permanently warming the planet. I worry that stepping back from leadership toward solutions, at this critical moment in history, could take us past a point of no return, leaving our children and grandchildren dramatically worse off in a more dangerous, unstable, and unhealthy world.
• I worry about returning to the not-so-distant past, to a time when healthcare was inaccessible for tens of millions, and even a modest health issue meant an inability to retire, bankruptcy, or even premature death.
• I worry that the current onslaught against a free press so rightfully protected in the First Amendment will permanently damage its ability to act as a check on power and corruption in our government.
• I worry that the flood of unlimited dark money in politics since Citizens United increasingly shows our elected officials more beholden to the rich elite than to those who elected them to represent our interests. I worry this stranglehold is becoming so entrenched that We The People may never get our government back, becoming just another in a long line of corrupt governments from history that our Founding Fathers tried to guard against.
• I worry that the more the checks and balances established by those same Founding Fathers are tested, the more we, to our horror, will discover how fragile they always were, further emboldening those same corrupt leaders. See above.
• I worry that a narcissistic, thin-skinned President who appears to have no interest in studying and learning the lessons of history, let alone avoiding repeat of them, will impulsively commit us to a dangerous war over some perceived slight to his fragile ego or his insatiable desire for “ratings”.
• But most of all, I worry that we are losing any aspirations of One America, that we are stoking the rhetoric of “us and them” to the point of turning our back on our legacy as a country of immigrants; that we’ve lost the ability to compromise for the greater good, so foundational to our form of government; that we’re no longer striving to be Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” and will look the other way from hate and violence against anyone “other”, be they Jew, Muslim, LGBTQ, black, Hispanic, libtard, or Repuglican.
Though not a complete list of concerns for our country on this 4th of July, these are my big ones. So, do we love the same things about our country? What’s on your list?
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson