April 21, 2020
Whether or not you like this president, you have to admit that he has had an outsized impact on our country. Donald Trump’s decisions and actions, some of which have released the uglier aspects of our nature, will have far-reaching consequences for our country’s future.
From a country that embraced the words etched in the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” we have become a nation that will accept only the few who meet our strict criteria and who can support themselves.
Far from being proud to recite the apocryphal story of George Washington and the cherry tree, we have forgotten the value of honesty and just shrug when we hear the President say things that are simply not true. We are a nation based on the rule of law, but we now shrug when our laws are routinely flouted and seem to accept that one can pick and choose which ones to follow.
Freedom of the press has become an enemy of progress, rather than something to be cherished.
In fact, so many of the basic principles of the documents we purport to hold dear- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights- are being successfully ignored that we barely recognize them anymore. Worse, it doesn’t seem to matter to so many.
When pro-life supporters can argue that it is more important to open the economy than to slow the spread of COVID-19, because those who are dying are old and would die anyway or have made lifestyle choices that have put them at risk, we have lost the moral compass that used to be one of our great strengths.
Yes, the impact of this Administration is and will be far-reaching. We can’t, however, let it be the final word. We have to start caring again and holding our leaders accountable for their actions. We need to support those who respect the rule of law. We need to remember that while we may be passionate in our beliefs, it doesn’t mean that those who hold a different opinion are our enemy. We also need to remember that, while we may shrug at abuses of power now because we like the direction they’re taking, there may soon be a different administration that, to our horror, will do the same thing to different ends. We are establishing the precedent for future disdain for our country’s rule of law.
It would behoove us to remember the word of Pastor Martin Niemoeller:
First they came for the socialists, and
I did not speak out-
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade
Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jew, and I
Did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me- and there
Was no one left to speak for me.
Photo by Dennis Maliepaard on Unsplash