I remember watching a movie with my children when they were in middle and elementary school. The movie was titled Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze about the start of World War III and the invasion by Russian and Cuban troops of America’s heartland. My children were quite disturbed by the plot and in an effort to placate their fears, I remember telling them that as long as they made it their business to keep abreast of and understand current events, and exercise the critical thinking necessary to hold elected officials accountable for their actions, they would never have to worry about a foreign invader. But without that ability, they wouldn’t have to worry about Russia taking the country by force of arms. Our politicians will just hand it over to them.
My understanding of the recent Russian hack is that it is so severe that Russia for all practical purposes can hold our country hostage if it chooses, and in effect, has successfully invaded our country. Because the lame duck president of our country is a Russian agent, we are powerless to do anything about it. As a country, we continue to bury our heads in the sand while that and other much more serious catastrophes, such as the quality of our air, water and food supply continue to deteriorate on a daily bases, and while we still seem powerless to take the necessary measures in mass to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time in my life, I’m beginning to wonder if we haven’t passed the point of no return as far as saving our country is concerned. We are, for all practical purposes, engaged in a cold civil war, in which at this point, at least almost half the country is willing to see the country end rather than unite to solve our county’s problems. I have a sense that most of us are reaching the point where we don’t believe our country even deserves to be saved.
I’ve been racking my brains to think of words that would give us pause to consider what we would be loosing if we continue in our current direction of racial and ethnic partisanship and cultural divide. Aside from the obvious horrors of a Syrian style civil war, (which the defeat of Donald Trump would indicate the country for the most part understands), I don’t think most of us truly understand what we will be giving up if we destroy our country or let it die of the neglect we are currently engaged in. For example we take for granted that the food in the cans and packages we open every day is not poisoned and we don’t have to wonder if we have the electricity needed when we switch the lights on. These are relatively small conveniences we take for granted. They pale in comparison to knowing that every minor dispute you have with another human being will most likely not end in some kind of life changing catastrophe for either of you or just having the sense that fairness and justice will determine your fate in everyday life. These are morays that can only be taken for granted throughout the world because of the example America has set. If America dies, all of that will go away, not just in America, but also in most of the civilized world. Without America, only the mighty will be right. Justice and individual freedom will be things of the past.
As we approach the New Year, we must consider that time is getting short. If we don’t start behaving like we value democracy and individual freedom soon, we will loose them forever. If we allow our elected public officials to do nothing on our behalf in the name of some false idea that America belongs only to white people or some religious concept that only a small minority of us believes, we will loose it all. The last time America stood up as whole, and demanded politicians do what was best for them was when the Republicans threatened to end Obama Care. Loyal Republicans ranted in town hall meetings throughout the nation that their healthcare would not be taken away no matter who put it in place. I remember shortly after that feeling that democracy was safe and Trump would not be able to ride rough shod over the Constitution as he was threatening to do. Shortly after that, he passed a tax bill that quite obviously did not serve the majority of the country and those same Republicans stood by and did nothing. That may have been the beginning of the end for America and its democracy. It is the idea that only certain Americans are entitled to clean air, water and food that make it possible for the fossil fuel industry to deny them from all of us. In a democracy, your vote must primarily be an expression of your demands to satisfy your practical needs and only partially an expression of your personal faith. Practical needs are where democracy and compromise live. There can be no compromise where faith is concerned. If you want true religious freedom, keep it out of politics. Or to put it another way, “render unto Cesar that which is Cesar’s. Render unto God by faith that which is God’s”.