Wider View

by Tom Swift

I realize I wrote the other day that I had found some level of clarity about the upcoming election — that I was square-jawed in the direction of free and fair elections and doing my small part to bring that about — that as long as we have an election that accurately reflects the will of the people I will accept the outcome. Yet my peace, such as it is, has been disturbed by a fuller awareness that one of our two major political parties is — at best — indifferent to democracy and it’s not a stretch to say that the party that supports the current occupant of the White House is, by all outward appearances, not committed to the continuation of the American Experiment. If given the choice between losing democracy and the possible retention/expansion of their power we know which they would — unflinchingly — choose.

Think of that: if the choice is to save the country as it was constituted or win the upcoming election Congressional Republicans — and the people who emotionally, intellectually, and financially fund their campaigns — would not choose George Washington. They would not choose Tom Paine. Or Abraham Lincoln. They would not choose — would not! — the tens of millions of men and women, many of them self-identified ordinary citizens who in acts large and small over 244 years risked their emotional and physical safety and stood up for what was right and in many cases gave the last full measure of devotion — gave their very lives — in support of the idea of America. In support of democratic institutions. One of our two major political parties is not with the veterans who fought to defend the freedom we have at this moment.

How many ways do you have to be disrespectful to your heirs to take such a posture?

I am tired of the outrage over the current occupant of the White House.

I am done wondering what corrupt thing the Attorney General will do next.

If they cared about democracy, Republicans in Congress — and the people who put them there — would show it in their words and in their deeds. I will keep at my modest efforts but when I stop for a moment and accept that it’s very clear, and has been for some time, that a large swath of Americans are no longer committed to America I lose my breath.

I try hard to not concern myself with matters that are outside my control.

I do not wish to allow my beliefs to take hold of me in ways that lessen my functioning — and don’t do anyone else any good, either.

Yet there is power in recognizing what already is playing a role in your daily fears and future plans. When you step back and regard the moment — some forty percent of the country, including those with the keys to the halls of justice, are down with the destruction of our founding ideals and shared laws — it is nothing short of stop-in-your-tracks stunning.