Oh America what have you become?
I guess in many ways you have become nothing that you have never been. For you are a bunch of renegade misfits that have come together under different trying circumstances and are trying to become one people – or not.
Trump’s America is definitely not one America of different peoples singing kumbaya. His America harks to the illusion of an America controlled by whites for whites. In Trump’s America others are tolerated in as much as they remain subjected to whites’ demands.
Trump’s America is an aberration of the aspirational American Dream, that elusive lie we instill in our head from birth in – or arrival on – this land. The American Dream to pursue happiness is interpreted in many different ways by the many different peoples in America. Most realize that this ‘dream’ – this American experiment – is not supposed to work. Through the ages never has there been a nation of peoples from elsewhere coming together and coexisting as equal, with no sect disproportionally in economic control or political power. Yet dream on we must.
Other nation states have peoples more diverse than America. China, India, and Russia have more diversity than America. However, these are nation states where diverse peoples were in their native lands as the nation state grew.
America is different. This nation was formed by people who came from elsewhere, some forced others by choice. They were mostly destitutes, misfits, or renegades. They had no illusion of forming “a more perfect union” or a sense of “manifest destiny”; they were just seeking – or forced to endure – a new beginning. But the energy of ‘can do and possibilities’ quickly instilled in most that uniquely American drive to achieve the American Dream.
They clung together in klans, finding comfort in like minded communities – but mostly hanging around folks that looked like them.
The American original sin of slavery and the European pride quickly cemented whites as owners and everyone else as subjects… And that is exactly the America Trump wants to make again. Nevermind that the historical America Trump wants to bring back is a convenient figment of the imagination for most white. In that old America real control and power was concentrated in the hands of a few, mostly white Europeans – as it remains so today.
The Trump America of today has little patience for the messiness that is the increasingly urbanizing, interconnected, complicated, democratic America. They seek the idyllic rural life, disconnected from those that don’t look like them, and where simplicity rules. Or, in the denser urban areas they seek to build vertical gated communities with police state security ensuring safety in the neighborhood. But most important they seek predictability and clarity; they don’t want many choices; and, they are all comfortable with self imposed censorship to ensure they are all being formed – getting information – only from those that think like them.
Never mind that the America they yearn comes at the price of keeping others down, quenching dissent, and abhorring sharing power. Their America can only exist under the leadership of a strong man who is commanding, has no room for discourse, and no use for diplomacy. In their ‘democracy’ only their vote counts.
There is another America that could be.
There is the possibility of an America where rather than be governed by the politics of fear would governed by the values of inclusion, collaboration, decency, and mutual respect… An America where democracy would mean democracy… An America where we would learn from each others’ heritage rather than curse at cartoon characterization of our worst selves.
Trump’s America is the antithesis of all of that. It is no longer just the crassness of the top leader. It is not just about Trump himself. It is also about his policies.There is no policy position and no economic gain that can justify the damage this Administration is doing to the spirit of America.
As tarnished as that spirit is, as bruised as America’s history is, America still has unrealized potential to be harvested, a collective dream to which aspire… But four more years of this Administration could be the tipping point, taking America down a path of no return and turning the American Dream into the American Nightmare from which we may never wake up.
It is that dire. Let’s not risk it. Vote Democrat.