Being a member of the “senior population,” we’re faced with changes every day. New ways of doing things, new genius electronic devices, changing social morals and a host of others. Constant change.
As older folks, we’re often reluctant to accept the new because of a lifetime of doing things the “old way.” Fact is, in some cases, many of us continue the “old way” because it’s more comfortable, more sensible, familiar and - in many cases - more reliable.
Remembering clear back to elementary school, high school, even college, we were taught to believe in the flag, in our country, in government and, especially, in our President. It wasn’t an issue of right versus wrong. Those institutions - those people - were what made us great, we were told. We matriculated into adulthood with a sense of permanence, of truth, of believing we lived in a nation with worldwide credibility and acceptance.
Now - this day - I sit in my home, looking at the institutions of government and our President, not feeling confidence or comfort or even security as events of recent days play out. I clearly remember all those years of training - of believing - of fully accepting what I’d learned. And now, trust has been replaced with mistrust. Confidence has been replaced with skepticism. Comfort and security have been replaced with a sense of fear and anxiety.
The “representative” government we were taught to respect is no longer “representative.” It’s become an angry, divided place filled with men and women more concerned about continued employment than truly representing folks at home. We put them in office with the expectation they would respond to our civic needs and honestly conduct the affairs of national government.
Both houses of Congress have become so angrily divided there seems to be no way of bridging the gap or to expect members to return to their original responsibilities in the foreseeable future.
In the House, one party, with an advantage of 20 or so out of a total membership of 435, managed to find the President guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and narrowly passed a bill of impeachment.
But, in the Senate, in the “trial” prescribed in the Constitution, 53 of the 100 members voted to have no witnesses or documents upon which to fairly render an honest verdict. That was followed by 54 members voting to acquit without witnesses or documentation. Fifty-four out of 100. Case closed. Justice denied. They acted despite taking an oath “before God” as they were sworn into office and a second oath “before God” to conduct a fair trial and to render an honest verdict.
Now, we have a President unrestrained. A President who has, on many occasions, talked of being “President for life” and who’s conducting the affairs of state as though he were a dictator.
He is defying laws and the Constitution. He’s abandoning or demolishing laws and regulations enacted to protect the environment, assure even-handed immigration policies, opening sacred and protected lands to developers and fossil fuel companies. And much, much more.
He has admitted to repeatedly lying to Americans about affairs of state - most notably conduct of his “personal representative” and issues regarding Ukraine. He’s lied under oath. He’s lied in countless interviews. He’s violated laws dealing with national security. He’s caged at least 55,000 children taken from parents who crossed our southern border seeking protection from violence in their homelands. Now, we are told at least 7,500 of those children have been adopted and will likely never again see their birth parents.
We seniors grew up in the security that government “of the people, by the people and for the people” was ours. Many of us fought in wars believing those words and thousands have perished believing the same.
We were taught government was created to serve the people. That government would protect us, provide security, care for our needs and assure liberty and freedom for all.
Now, it seems, government has become, not the servant, but the master. In many instances, government has become a threat to our freedoms. Its power and reach are now in the hands of people determined to act in their own self-interest to, as the late Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus put it, “Rape, ruin and run.”
We’ve got members of Congress who lie, cover their own backsides, travel worldwide on our dime, conduct affairs of state in secrecy and some who won’t even meet with constituents. Voters.
I remember well the John Birchers and other conspiracy crazies of the 50's and 60's who railed against “big government” and found conspiracies behind every tree and bush. “Nut cases” we called them then. A lot of ‘em are gone now. But, I can’t help but wonder what the few remaining “nut cases” think of current federal affairs
I’ve lived through 13 presidencies, disagreed with several while developing a life-long interest in politics. Disagreed, yes. But, feared none. Until now.
Some very respected voices have warned our Republic, as we know it, is in danger. And, should Trump be re-elected, several have predicted it will take generations - if ever - to recover the national government and institutions we’ve all lived under.
Our institutions are failing us and some have actually become something to be feared.
And, I do.