As I write this, I am watching the inauguration. So many emotions washing over me – relief, pride, joy, and hope. Here are my thoughts as the USA experiences this day.
Donald Trump and the cult he empowered were (and remain) a danger to the very foundation of this country. The USA teetered on the brink of neo-Nazi fascism. I am so sorry for anyone who does not have the historical background or intellectual independence to see the similarities between Trumpism and what happened in Germany and Italy in the early 20th century. Imaging and creating nonexistent dangers (The Jews caused us to lose the war! Communists are everywhere among us! Mexico is sending rapists and murderers to our country!) are simply tactics used by a demagogue to acquire power for their own gain. My dear wife Michelle, with her vast knowledge of human behavior and psychological make-up has repeatedly remarked on the dangers of narcissistic psychopaths. Hitler was certainly one. One of his admirers is Donald Trump. Fortunately for the USA, Trump exists in a different time and place and lacks the personal discipline that Hitler had.
The Trump cult hates diversity, equal opportunity, and anything that allows someone “different” into their private club. The Declaration of Independence and US constitution were meant to engender the opposite.
Amendment 14, Article One of the Constitution:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The Declaration of Indepedence states
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …
The USA has always been the place that led the way to democratic ways, tolerance, hope in the individual’s ability to improve oneself, and the right to achieve what one has earned. Our place as the leader of those things in the world has been shaken and, perhaps, irretrievably, lost. Maybe that’s a good thing because we can now begin to act as a partner nation with others rather than the country that tells others how to live. Time will tell.
I was overcome with tears at numerous times watching the institutions of this country continuing as leaders across the political spectrum came together to support the inauguration of the 46th president. All kudos to Mike Pence, G. W. Bush, Mitch McConnell, and others who came to support, not necessarily Biden, but the peaceful transfer of power.
We survived four years of chaos (“Elect a clown, expect a circus”). I am joyful at the election of someone who understands history, democracy, and the workings of our government. His cabinet picks – yes, everything can be nitpicked – are overwhelmingly qualified, unlike a Secretary of Education who disdained public education or a Secretary of Urban Development who was a medical doctor. Our natural resources might again be protected against commercial interests. Etc., etc. Joy in the restoration of balance.
I remain an optimist despite all the terrible things that have happened this past year and in the past four years. I live in a place where rich white people control public offices and policy. But I believe that the time for a minority-controlled government is slowing coming to an end. I hope for a future where people of color do not fear law enforcement. Where poor people can find support to improve their lives. Where human beings cease to eliminate other forms of life on this planet.
Looking forward to the next four years.