Two events on Tuesday of this week occurred which prompted me to write this article. The first was an excellent program last night on Public Television, which was about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the culture and politics of attempting to keep the Chinese out of America. The second was the very bad taste and racist “joke” spoken by actress Roseanne Barr at the expense of Valerie Jarrett, a key staff person during the Obama presidency.
Why are those events even close to being alike you might ask? Simple, both events were not only racist, but also, very unkind and mean at their core.
It finally dawned on me why I am really opposed to the Trump Presidency and many of the folks who surround him. Yes, policy positions matter, as does a President who doesn’t listen to advisors, said many times he was going to “drain the swamp” and yet has actually polluted it more then it ever was and, of course, “Russia.” Those issues and many more are reasons to oppose the Trump presidency, but yesterday I finally figured out my opposition is all about a total lack of kindness, goodness, and empathy vs. meanness, hatred, and bias against others.
Since World War II and the rebuilding of Europe through the Marshall Plan, we have been a country made up of leaders with those traits. We are far from a perfect nation, but we have worked hard at the goal. Yes, we had slavery and still feel the remnants, but the nation went to war to stop it and even changed the Constitution to better reflect our values, as well as passing major legislation such as the Civil Rights Act.
Since the turn of the last century, we have been generally on the side of immigration and recognizing that everyone here except our Native American population is an immigrant or the offspring of immigrants. The immigration into this country of people looking for a better life is at the core of our foundation.
This administration has taken us back almost a century and a half. It is riding on the backs of a middle class that feels it has lost it’s place in society and has tied it’s future to a charlatan who cares about no one but himself.
Luckily, there is another side to this story. It is made up of movements all across the country trying hard to make this a better place. The ME TOO Movement, the Kids from Parkland, the LGBT Community, the Take a Knee Football Players, are all trying, in their way, to make this country better-again.
At the end of the day however, this democracy depends upon the election process to determine our direction. Hopefully the upcoming fall election will tell us the country is on the side of kindness, goodness and empathy.
PS: As I was writing this in came an email from the Democratic Party with comments from Khizr Khan, an immigrant who lost his Muslim son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, while fighting for this country in Iraq. He and his family, immigrants yes, and the key to American exceptionalism!
by Dick Goodson