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November 21, 2017

11/1/2017 4:34:00 PM
Room for a View: This Is, After All, America
By Charles Wilkinson

I was, admittedly, quite upset about the outcome of last November’s presidential election, not because the Republicans won but because the process was so ugly and demeaning and the president-elect so divisive and obsessed with self. Almost a year later I remain sad and embarrassed by a process that came up well short of respect, good taste, and my idea of what America should mean to its citizens and represent to the world-at-large.

This is America after all, a country that can overcome just about anything, and I am grateful for all that it means to me and, I believe, to much of the world. For all of my life I have trusted, not without concerns, our system of government, its many voices and its built-in checks and balances, despite its foibles and failings. When I pay income tax, I feel I am investing in the still too young vision of our Founding Fathers, in the heart and strength of our Constitution, and in the commitment and integrity of our elected officials.

But these days, a year into the already too-long term of this administration, I am tired, mistrusting, and fearful of the posturing and ping-pong speak of our Chief Executive. His policy of “America First” is arrogant and bullying. The superlatives he applies to himself, his staff, and the progress of his agenda are self-serving puffery. His attacks on the media and accusations of fake news (except his own) provide the headlines he thrives on, as do his double-speaking tweets.

 With the recent criticisms and actions from some members of the President’s own party, I find hope that America will, after all, survive the fear-mongering, bellicose, and untrustworthy rhetoric of his leadership. Americans deserve better. They also need such courageous and vital voices to remain in office.

These are not the best of times. Fear is eroding our free way of life. There seems to be a “divide and conquer” mindset in Russia’s meddling with our politics that should clearly outrage our unified leadership. Instead, we have a House and Senate divided and a country as well.

 But this is America, after all. There is nothing we cannot do together. Our history has proven that and will continue to do so. But in these still young years of our nation’s ideals, a unifying voice is essential. True leadership does not live above but among, rallying the power to confront challenges we all face. That is not happening in Washington these days.

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