Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. -John Adams
Are we there yet? Seems we’re closer than ever before.
Those of us old enough to know, know that we have been here before. Republican vs. Democrat. Liberal vs. Conservative. Vitriol. Slander. Venom…are words that come to mind almost daily. And, let’s not glorify the past too much, politics was as dirty then as it is today–only then, they settled disputes in a kindlier gentler way–in a gentleman’s duel which inevitably left one disputant dead. Death to the finish yesterday, today a musical. Oh, the irony. But, I digress.
I blame the conservatives. I blame the liberals. I blame the gun lobby. I hold responsible the patrons for immigrants, refugees, women’s rights and right to lifers. I blame them all because, as I watched them all march around DC this last week, it was clear that we have become a nation of private and special interests all jockeying for attention to our cause. Many, if not all, have banded together in the “enemy of mine enemy is my friend,” fashion and our newly elected President is the glue that binds them.
By some lucky coincidence all the liberal interests number about 50 million and the conservative interests too, 50 million. In the middle possibly only 5 million or so who don’t really care to enter this very particular fray–because there interests weren’t at play in this go-around. There is real comfort in those numbers because it says that for every person whose voice is heard, there is a person of opposite view. In the 60’s there was a popular poster that made its way into every flower child’s dorm room “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.” The incorrect assumption in this last election was that which failed at interpreting the silence of 50 million people as everything other than the heartfelt righteous indignation it was. And the people, I might add, are good, god fearing, country loving people. Good like you and I good.
Lifelong friendships are beginning to stress and crack. It is as if there were only one view and any other, an anomaly, the unfathomable result of millions of New York’s rats and cockroaches who found their way into voting machines (outside of NY) and, when no one was looking, voted. There’s the rub. The 50 million whose candidate did not win the election would have one believe there is no other side. There is but one correct world view, theirs, as improbable and illogical as that sounds. Those who adhere to a values and priorities different from their own are, simply and utterly, in one Facebook pal’s words, “despicable.” In the past, thanks to the poetry of the ultimately tarnished Spiro Agnew, yesterday’s “deplorables” had an equally caustic descriptive for the liberals: “an effete corps of impudent snobs.”
And, there we have it. The dance between the “arrogant intellectuals” and the “deplorables” has begun. For the fourth time in my short life, a Republican has been elected President. For the second time, those whose candidate did not succeed have hit the streets. Both times, liberal democrats. Both times, I stayed home.
This weekend, the lawyers came out–headed to the airports not to protest, but to attempt in their very special way, to temper the impact of an extraordinary Presidential fiat with rule of law. Thank god for the lawyers. Rule of law demands this: 1) that we have lawfully transitioned to a new president whose ideologies may differ in extreme ways from yours and 2) we have a system designed to tolerate that and check and balance it. Our judges and courts are there for a reason. Let us put our faith and stock in the system–the system that gave 50 million people a voice and elected Donald J. Trump as President of the United States of America and the same system that will provide endless opportunities for the other 50 million to challenge it and him when they deem it necessary. I accept this. I accept the current holder of the office of President of the United States and I accept peoples’ right to work with the system to change those actions which they consider constitutionally offensive. I envision there may even be times when I join in those actions.
I will not unfriend you, as perhaps you will me when you read this. And, if that’s the case, then I am really very sorry about the sad state of affairs in our world. I can only then ask this: Let us not wait until we are on our deathbeds, like Jefferson and Adams, to mend the fence upon which our friendship has been built all these last several years.