Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Land of the Noble Free

in considering the direction of this year's election is the united states, i am astounded at the level of hatred and bigotry that's been unleashed.  the racism and fear that many feel free to express is surprising to me, and it seems that, while much of it is directed at and prompted by the evil playing out in iraq and syria, our home-grown anti-democratic and intolerant outbursts are much like those expressed by the "islamic state" and the syrian dictator's forces.  the desire to "make america great again" by turning back the clock to a time when anglos ruled without challenge, women "knew their place," and poverty and oppression of racial minorities were standard practices is not unlike the intolerant practices of the forces of repression in the middle east.

the hatred directed at undocumented immigrants, muslims, and the lbgt community during the election and the tacit (and sometimes vocal) approval of it by the republican nominee has shown an ugly side of our country that many of us thought had been left in the past.  the party of the right has played to the undercurrent of racism in the country for many years, and the rise of donald trump and his disaffected followers has let the genie escape from the bottle.  watching trump rallies is too reminiscent of the nazi party rallies that brought hitler to power, and one begins to understand how a man like adolf hitler could have gained control in a country like germany, the same country that gave rise to many of the giants of philosophy, music, and literature.

we think of our democracy as being secure, but one wonders about it when mr. trump praises vladimir putin and his "control" over russia, and many elected republican leaders remain silent.  when both the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the republican party laud putin's "strength" and decry our own president's "weakness," and other republicans fail to call them out for making such statements, we have to ask if those on the right are committed to the principles on which our system is based.  when we see trump's followers attacking those who protest against trump and calling for the democratic candidate's imprisonment, we have to ask if our cherished democratic values are endangered.  when hateful rhetoric and braggadocio take precedence over civil discourse and substantive policy debate, something is very wrong in this election and in this country.

may we decry the hate, bigotry, and intolerance which have given rise to donald trump's nomination.  may we embrace the values of equality, mutual respect, and freedom of thought on which our country was founded.  may the remainder of the election be devoted to serious discussion of the problems facing us and how to solve those problems.  shalom.

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