Photograph from Metro UK
My letter to you is due today. Outside it is dreary. The rain is falling and being whipped around by a cold northerly wind. Every beast with a heart is hunkered down, hopefully nuzzled in the bosom of a loved one. But, alas, not for me. I’m left sitting at this computer looking at the gray screen that is the world outside and contemplating your existence.
Heretofore, my letters have tried to be outlandish in order to impart some sense of what I think you are while at the same time urging a laugh, but not today, not today. The moment is too solemn, the world outside my rain splattered window demands more.
It’s been a little over a year since your ascension to the most powerful position in the world. Not, I should add, the most morally powerful, or economically powerful, but rather the most destructively powerful. Each day our heavy foot stomps across the globe crushing those who would deny our greatness and slowly choking off the life-blood of our very existence – the viability of our planet. With a shudder, I am reminded how close the nuclear football and launch codes are to you every minute of the day.
According to the Washington Post, who has been tracking this, as of 3:00 a.m. on November 14 you have told 1,628 lies, an average of 5.5 per day, seven days a week. This matters not to you, your apologists, your voters, or congressional and state Republican politicians. Evangelicals are at peace with you, because of their dull-witted interpretation of the gospel. God, they say, moves in mysterious ways and uses instruments of His choosing to deliver His brand of justice to the world. And, for evangelicals, it’s all about divine justice: punishment of and because of gays; punishment for straying from their version of God; punishment for women wanting dominion over their bodies; and punishment for our having lost “the way.” Republican politicians at all levels fear your base and want to hold onto power no matter how far down the moral and ethical rabbit hole it takes them.
The most disheartening thing for me since your election is the realization that close to half of my fellow citizens find you palatable. Even accounting for a steep decline in your approval polls, there are a substantial number of believers, among them the alt-right and salt-of-the-earth good old boys and gals. The dispossessed and forgotten to hear their tale.
I keep hearing from progressives, journalists, and well-meaning politicians that you and a significant portion of your followers don’t represent America’s true character and who/what we are. Bullshit. This vile undercurrent has largely run silent and deep since the sixties when the peak of the new-way crested and, began to recede; a progressive tide being pulled back to the deep sea of human history. The problem is, the tide never returned to the same shore. Instead, it continually stopped short and with each passing day gradually established a new high tide mark. Occasionally, the old high water mark can still be seen, still waiting for the sea to catch up.
My favorite writer, Hunter S. Thompson put it this way:
“We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out our way, or we’ll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all of this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking-halfwits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush [Donald Trump]? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Klu Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.”
He was speaking at a different time and of a broader theme, but the sentiment still holds true.
We can no more deny the ugly underbelly of America than we can the highpoints of our history. They often, however, march hand in hand. America was created and taken from the lands of the native people of this continent. We waged a systematic and lengthy campaign of extermination and marginalization that still exists today. We are all immigrants. Propertied white males and only white males established our Constitution and forms of government. Slaves were counted as three fifths for purposes of representation and power, which assured the continuance of slavery in the land of the free where every person is endowed with certain inalienable rights. Slavery existed for almost 250 years and Jim Crow existed another 100 years, into my lifetime, before Martin Luther King and countless other Black leaders and citizens brought about a change. The residue of de facto and de jure racism still plague our nation. Immigrants to this country have historically suffered at the hands of the “pure” citizens of America. Women had to fight to get the right to vote, gain dominion over their bodies and get an equal opportunity in the workplace and yet there is still much to do, including re-fighting the same battles year after year. Every revolt from below, from some marginalized sector of society, has been met with brute force, unjust laws, repression and vilification by the majority. Movement forward has been bought and paid for only by those pushing for change. Further, we have and continue to wage illegal wars and prepare for the ultimate destruction of mankind with nuclear weapons – the ultimate weapons of mass destruction. We cloak these wars under patriotic jargon, but they are no different than those carried out under European colonization.
So, I reject the notion that we, as a nation, aren’t reflected in you and your followers. It’s an ugly and depressing truth. Despite that, I hear politicians and commentators opining that we must find a way to dialogue with your supporters, because we have somehow ignored them and failed to understand and see their needs. And, that not all of them are bigots, racists, xenophobes and religious fanatics. Perhaps there is truth in that. I suspect there are legitimate grievances just as there are with the African-American, Latino and immigrant communities (not to mention the LGBT community and anyone else who has suffered at the hands of those in power and/or the majority.) However, those who cannot see, or see but choose to ignore the moral and ethical problems inherent in what you say and do and what some of your ardent followers espouse, cannot be reasoned with or appeased without lending credence to some of those abhorrent views. And this I refuse to do. It is you and those like you who must come to the higher plane. I will extend a hand and listen to anyone willing to make the journey, but I resist the argument that I must compromise the human values so many have sacrificed to establish.
Martin Luther King said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I admit my many moments of doubt during this past year. Your election I could almost understand, if after your election, the mass of American society and its leaders turned against you once they saw what they had actually done, but that hasn’t been the case. Even if the forces of good prevail, it will remain deeply disturbing that a large, malignant force remains in the shadows for the next chance to darken our world.