We survived the American Revolution, the war with Britain afterwards, our slave war among the states, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, the exclusion of blacks and women from the voting rolls, the Spanish American war, Pearl Harbor, World wars, the McCarthy era, the Cuban Missile Crisis, ‘Nam, Nixon, Billygate, the Iran Contra scandal (“Contra-Fawn-and-Ollie (North)), and 9-11.
But, at long last, will we survive the despot in the West Wing, Mr. Donald Trump, a failed casino operator, intolerant of one and all but especially women and persons of color?
Mr. Trump is best imagined as a relentless undignified thug, engaged in a never-ending assault, elbows akimbo, pushing dignitaries out of the way, hurling insults and trash talk, worst of all, attacking this nation’s first principle, as expressed by Thomas Jefferson, namely, that we are all equal, worthy of respect, amazingly diverse, and all in this together.
Mr. Trump runs down our government, the Courts, Congress, Mr. Trump’s own cabinet, as well as his Republican Party.
Mr. Trump sees himself as the one and only authority that matters. But what else may one expect of a despot?
The Republican Party’s current congressional leadership are faint shimmering shadows of their predecessors, politically fearful of the bully in the oval office, yet pliable and complicit in his lawless indecency, dodging their sworn oath to protect and preserve the constitution.
Even as I write this, the Republican Senate is selling out the poor and middle class to grant a tax holiday to their wealthy charitable patrons, in the bargain, costing the nation an additional billion dollars in national debt, prompting a feared reduction in social security and medicare benefits.
The question is whether a nation that has weathered so much in the past can survive this despotic dystopia engineered by Mr. Trump.
Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, Doctor [Franklin], what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Franklin feared our institutions of government would decline as other historic institutions had, concluding our run with unwashed masses supporting some dictator, thus escaping the hard won freedom that the colonies fought to establish.
Franklin had a peculiar philosophic meditation as he studied the back of a chair at the constitutional convention, wondering how a painter could distinguish a setting from a rising sun – as it sat still in the painted image.
After having wrestled with “the vicissitudes of [his] hopes and fears as to its issue,” Franklin decided in 1787 that the sun was rising, rather than setting.
Until the last few days in 2017, I’ve struggled with the question whether our nation’s republic would rise again.
The last few days have proven that we’ve turned the corner.
There have of course been signs since last year’s election that we were going to push back
First, the people protested and resisted. The Women’s march was the people’s clarion call for this nation to strike back so that it could yet rise again.
Second, we had hope in the courts. The courts shut down Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional ban on immigrants because it was aimed at the Muslim religion. The rule of law trumped the thug who would have it otherwise.
In the last few days, we can take heart, as we are addressing Mr. Trump’s betrayal of the nation in his presidential campaign, and his obstruction of the investigation to get at the truth of what he did.
A modern American patriot, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, stepped forward to uncover what really happened.
Many may fairly compare Mr. Mueller to the fine lawyers and public servants who navigated the nation through the Nixon Watergate scandal. But those prosecutors had allies among elected Republican leaders. Mr. Mueller has been somewhat of a quiet hard working lone ranger.
This nation’s future, and whether our sun is rising, is in his hands.
Mr. Mueller is the patriot in our midst, eclipsing the indifference so easily embraced by others.
He’s taken his oath seriously to preserve and protect the promise of our nation’s constitution.
Those who have stood mute and been ineffective are a shame and a disgrace.