On March 19, 2011, a friend wrote these perceptive and provocative words - "The guilt belongs to you and me, the society of people lavished with riches. And what was built can be torn asunder by our own silence. It’s comin’ to our door, Baby. I know that. ‘Cause we only cared about our own appetites and fed ourselves plenty. Now the world has gone mad and I just need you to sing to me, Baby, while I try to pray for lost souls and scattered angels."
The insights are hers, but the emphasis is mine. What she said over five years ago, rings true more than ever today, She also cited Professor Andrew J. Bacevich from Boston University as follows: "Transformation is not something that outsiders can induce or impose or control. The process is organic, spontaneous and self-sustaining.”
For its faults and all its flaws, the American Constitutional Republic is a polity committed to and capable of continual improvement. While too many of us have too often been derelict in our duties as citizens and too immersed in our private lives and personal struggles, we have had the good fortune of honorable leaders who have at crucial moments recalled us to the "better angels of our nature." At such times, the polity in which we live has afforded us the opportunity to raise the level of our conduct and demonstrate the caliber of our character,
These splendid appeals to reason and benevolence merit prolonged attention. Let us never forget it is perfectly possible and eminently patriotic to fervently oppose divisive demagoguery and ardently oppose those who incite suspicion, resentment, hostility, and divisiveness among us. Let us be satisfied with a clear conscience as our only sure reward and go forth to lead the land we love in perfecting our union and fully achieving one nation, indivisible, with liberty, equality, prosperity and justice for all.
Now the trumpet summons us again as the barbarian is within the gates in the person of Despicable Donald Drumpf. This megalomaniacal demagogue presents a clear and present danger to the survival and success of the Republic, the perfection of our union, and the achievement of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, Drumpf is the exemplar of self-absorption and personal aggrandizement. Even as he campaigns, he pollutes the political discourse with appeals to fear, suspicion, bigotry, and bellicosity.
These splendid appeals to reason and benevolence merit prolonged attention. Let us never forget it is perfectly possible and eminently patriotic to fervently oppose divisive demagoguery and ardently resist those who incite suspicion, resentment, and hostility among us.
In this context, I respectfully offer the following thoughts and observations.
It is easy to be hostile. It is risky to trust. In a world gone mad and a nation divided, free-floating hostility is a predictable response.
Hostility nourishes and supports the ego. Trust requires lowering one’s guard, risking disappointment, and testing one’s character.
Hostility can be very dramatic, complicated and sophisticated. It can make one appear quite impressive to others. It can camouflage cowardice and make bravado pass for courage. It drapes cravenness in the cloak of valor. It drowns out the whimpers of a quaking soul with the roar of rage.
Trust, on the other hand, is an expression of sincerity, humanity and composure. Others could be suspicious of our intentions, resentful of our efforts or envious of our fortitude.
Those who choose hostility, expend a great deal of energy and effort to maintain their state of rage. They stoke fear, suspicion, resentment, and bigotry in others in order to have a million mirrors for their own warped soul. By contrast, those choose trust actually, gain vigor and resilience from the additional options and positive perspectives this choice brings to light.
The choices between hostility and trust, enmity and amity are ones we all must make in each moment, repeatedly, day after day. Choosing the former rips and rends the social fabric; choosing the latter strengthens its warp and woof.
The far, far better course for our children, our nation, and ourselves is to run the risk of deception and disappointment and endure the errors and betrayals, which are, after all, humanity’s lot than to promote and practice aggression and suspicion. The first, more courageous, course offers the hope of revival and deliverance. The second, all too alluring, coursetoo commonly precedes cruelty and conflict. Whether we choose hostility or trust is completely up to us.
We, the people, are the true sovereigns in the Republic. Despite the relentless efforts of those who would divide us in order to rule us, we can strum the mystic chords of memory and summon to our aid the better angels of our nature. In years to come, will we look into the eyes of children we love about and tell them “We had the opportunity to make a difference, but lacked the courage to try?”
For the sake of the Republic and the land we love, let us rise and restore Power to the People. Let us remind Despicable Donald: "Time wounds all heels!"