I was going to write about how we already live in a dictatorship of sorts. You know, because a single person in the U.S. House of Representatives can say, “Nah, I don’t want to work over the weekend,” and the House apparently can’t be called into session. On the other side of Congress, one person can halt any action being taken on legislation (hint: he has the nickname, “Moscow Mitch,” and “The Grim Reaper”), by just letting a bill languish on his desk. How either of these things remain possible, to keep important work to help the nation, from happening is confounding me? How even did this come about?
But, all day long, either on Twitter or on the news from local and international leaders and influencers, I keep hearing, “This is not who we are.” When I hear this, I wonder if they too are living in an alternative reality with the lame duck and the trumplicans.
This, sadly, is who we are. We are a nation that:
- penalizes you for being poor
- tries to kill you if you are black
- hires undocumented workers to keep business afloat, but won’t give them a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic
- won’t tax religious organizations who are in the business of politics
- believes it is okay to discriminate against gays, transgenders, Muslims, doctors who perform abortions, and so on and so forth
- thinks health care (physical, mental, dental, vision) are profit centers, not a human right
- approves of billionaires and large corporations paying less taxes than an administrative assistant
- fights the use of a mask that has proven to save lives
- elected someone who is an autocrat, sexual predator, liar, and cares about no one but himself, and still 74 million people voted to re-elect him
- wants us to “move on” from an attempted coup
- relinquishes the moral, and legal, authority to penalize and sanction seditionists
Now, is the above true of everyone? Of course not, but it is for far too many of us. It does not take 74 million people to attempt a coup. It only takes a few thousand, as we learned all too well this past Wednesday, with the implicit approval of millions of people.
Does it have to be who we are? Most definitely not. However, we cannot move forward without acknowledging, and owning, where we are right now.
It’s like the 12-Step Program. We have to be honest and admit we have a problem, then begin going through the steps to heal, knowing we can’t rush any one of the steps.
To continue to deny who we are as a nation keeps us stuck.
I’d really like for our elected leaders to actually start leading by being honest about where we are. Then, and only then, can we meet people with where they are and start the healing process, to move us to the point of actually meeting the ideals set forth by our Founders, and to actually live up to our values.
Can we please start doing so today?