As a parent, we know we have to say no to our children to help them learn right from wrong, moral from immoral, ethical from unethical, empathic from indifference, lawful from unlawful. Children will push the boundaries until we show them the boundaries.
When we do the above as best we can, our children usually learn how to be good people and good citizens. They learn to live within boundaries that benefit us all (this does not mean we teach them to conform no matter what, but that boundaries are pushed in ethical and moral ways for the betterment of us all).
In many ways the same is true of adults who believe they are above the law or want to take power from others at any cost because control and power over others is their ultimate goal. If that means hurting people along with breaking the law, the end justifies the means in their minds.
We are witnessing an era of doing whatever it takes to drag our nation back to a time when straight white men had total control of everything: Wives and kids as property, people of color “in their place”, best jobs, best pay, and could do just about anything to keep anyone not conforming to their lens of the world down.
Here is a small sampling of what is being tested right now because those with the power haven’t told them no:
- Voter suppression: People of color, but mostly blacks, have had their names purged from voter roles when Republicans control Statehouses and Attorney General positions; early voting becomes limited and sites favor white precincts, limited number of voting machines in non-white precincts, electronic voting machines registering votes for candidates automatically with no paper ballot to confirm vote choices, gerrymandering districts so finely to ensure one, and only one outcome (recently courts have finally started to tell States to redraw this type of districting).
- Reproductive rights: All over the country, Republicans are passing draconian legislation to limit the rights of women to control their own bodies; this is not limited to abortion, but also to reproductive rights as a whole and health decisions.
- Supreme Court nomination: Blocking hearings to fill a Supreme Court vacancy; going against the Constitutional right of a President to appoint a judge; and not fulfilling the Constitutional duty of the Senate to confer and consent to the nominee.
- Not following election norms in releasing tax returns.
- Coining the phrase alternative facts: Using this term when actual facts do not support a claim to make a lie seem true.
- Muslim ban: There were protests when this was introduced, but the courts have allowed it to be enacted; recently expanded to countries outside the Middle East.
- Emolument Clause: Mr. Trump defying the Constitution by not placing businesses in blind trusts as in required.
- Military ban on transgendered people: This was done without any studies and without input from military experts.
- Coining the phrase fake news: Used whenever the media does not support a lie and is fact-checked.
- Closing the southern border to refugees and immigrants: Made up lies about who wants to enter the U.S. including saying a caravan of bad people was on its way towards us.
- Children in cages: Separating families at the border; losing children in the system; sending parents back to country of origin without their children; not treating those in the system with any sense of human decency.
- Charlottesville: Mass march by white supremacists ending in tragic death, with a President saying there are good people on both sides.
- Puerto Rico: Withholding aid to a U.S. territory; awarding a contract without vetting the company to ensure they could do the work necessary.
- Meeting with foreign leaders without aides: Not allowing for notes or U.S. translators during secret meetings, or confiscating any notes to prevent any outside knowledge of what occurred in these meetings, which were usually held with enemy states (South Korea and Russia).
- Ignoring Subpoenas: Stating no one in the Executive Branch will honor a lawful subpoena in terming of providing testimony or documents.
- Republicans and Impeachment-House: Lying in statements made to witnesses.
- Republicans and Impeachment-Senate: Coordinating and bowing to the wishes of the White House; voting not to allow witnesses and documents to obtain the truth; Counsel for the White House lying and accepting contributions prior to the start of the Impeachment Trial; are not listening to the wishes of the people in terms of calling witnesses.
- Virginia “Lobby Day”: Pro-gun rally in which guns were open-carried into the Richmond and around the grounds of the Statehouse.
- We Are KY Gun Owners: Armed and masked gun holders were permitted to bylaw metal detectors and walk into the Kentucky Statehouse. (Side Note: It is legal to carry a gun into the Statehouse, but not an umbrella or a cane.)
Each of the above are tiny steps to see what one can get away with and where the boundaries are. It is like children pushing to see if the rules (laws) are really the rules (laws). So far, there seems to be no one to say no, the law is the law and laws will be enforced. Nor does there seem to be anyone saying no, that is not a law to pass for the common good. There also doesn’t seem to be anyone that will say no to the mistreatment of other human beings.
From my perspective, each time no one is held accountable for not adhering to laws, morals or common decency, there will be someone who will then see what else one can get away with when there is no accountability.
Here are couple of examples of what I mean:
- The Muslim ban. Now those in power know they can ban a country or group of people based on religion, as long is it masked as something else, or not masked at all.
- Children in cages: Since there was a bit of an uproar that died down, they know the next group that is decided should be in cages, there might be a little bit of an uproar, but then it will die down and those in the cages (concentration camps), will be forgotten and normal life will continue.
- Guns in Statehouses: Kentucky showed anyone may now enter the Statehouse, in a mask, carrying a gun, and no one will stop them. What other Statehouses allow this and who knows if the next group coming in will be there to peacefully protest or to take a government down?
- Impeachment Trial: We have learned the Republican Party, nay the Trumpists, believe Mr. Trump has the power of a monarch or a dictator, does not have answer to laws, and can do whatever he or she wants (the end outweighs the means) to be re-elected, and also do whatever he wants as the person who is President can do no wrong.
For me, it is scary to see all of these examples in one place. To see how far down the rabbit hole we have gone. To see how short a time it took to lose our Republic.
There is one hope, those we often forget have the most power (at least for the moment)—voters. If we come out en-masse in November, vote the Trumpist’s out of office in a dramatic fashion, we might yet save our Republic.
The power remains with We the People. The moment of truth is upon us. Will we decide our country is worth saving, for all its faults and all its glories?
If it is, we’ll get out and vote blue, no matter who!
If it isn’t, vote for a Trumpist or stay home (which is the same as voting for a Trumpist), and accept the consequences of those actions knowing those consequences will not be pretty unless you are rich, mainly white, and straight.
I chose to help save the Republic. Won’t you join me?