Make America Aspirational Again

President Trump has unleashed a wave of negative, aggressive, and selfish sentiments that have – among many other things – discredited the aspirational aspects of American democracy.

In his short tenure as President, Trump has managed to unravel, unwind, and untangle the quilt of good will that was America.

America was one complicated quilt. That quilt was (loosely) held together mostly on a general (immeasurable) consensus – across social, ethnic, and cultural lines – that the unfinished experiment that is the U.S.A. can best be pursued with high aspirations based on the (imperfect) thoughts, actions, and writings of men and women that have preceded us:

> A unique blend of aspirational guarantees of inalienable rights and the right to association; i.e.: simultaneously respecting the individual and encouraging community while seeking personal well being and the common good.

Trump has managed to diminish us to a country with a leadership that is – by any measure – corrupt, incompetent, and looks out mostly (if not exclusively) for that one third of voters that blindly supports him and the business interests of a few. Trump’s unholy alliance with so called Republicans has gained political power and is instituting a new America that I simply cannot be proud of. Instead, I am ashamed. Instead I am embarrassed. Instead, I have chosen to #RESIST.

I could flee. “America: love it or leave it”, some would say. But no, I am choosing to stay. I live here. I am not going anywhere.

I already fled one country as a child political refugee. I am not fleeing again. I will live out my life in this imperfect, dysfunctional, and increasingly racist country, acknowledging that we are no better than any other country, and recognizing that any dreams of being an aspiration and a model of democracy for others is gone – for the moment.

We have become one of many nations, no longer the nation being looked to by those in repressive governments as the nation to emulate. Enslaved, mistreated, and persecuted people throughout the world may still look to come to America, but no longer seeking a place to look up to, to replicate back in the ‘home country’.  Rather, Trump’s America has become simply a place where economic well-being may be sought, sure. However, nada mas. Nothing more. No longer the promised land. No longer the land that our ‘home country’ should aspire to be… Simply just another land where we can make a buck, feed our family, and muddle through life consuming consuming consuming.

No longer can I say I love America. At least not the America of the moment. It just happens to be where I live.

I cannot – will not – support this President’s America. And I will not sit idle by while he and his cronies rampage, dismantle, and abuse the institutions, agencies, and structures that form the backbone to an aspirational democracy.

I cannot be supportive of or enthusiastically cheer America while we have a President that personally attacks freedom of the press, destroys the independence of the judiciary by arbitrarily seeking to stack the number of appointed judges, and disrespects the men and women that have committed to serve in government in places like the FBI and CIA – and the EPA, HUD, NIH, etc. etc. etc.

And of course, I can’t support a president that so blatantly trashes immigrants, Muslims, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community.

And of course, I can’t support a president that shows no empathy for the needy and conducts foreign policy like Rambo.

And that is why I #RESIST. Because I firmly believe that we can regain aspirational national pride in who we are, recalibrate our internationally aspirational leadership, and rediscover our aspirational consensus to do good by being good.

(Have you helped a friend register to vote? If not, please consider doing so today.)