I chose to write about Democracy in each of my books. In Ten Years and Change: A Liberal Boyhood in Minnesota I cover how I grew up with it being challenged from the local to the national level in a effort to end the Vietnam War. In To the Front of the Bus: Movement toward a Fair Democracy I bring the issue from its violent, opaque beginnings to the current destruction, desecration and manipulative configurations. Hope is eternal, largely due to what I revealed in the first book. I refuse to imagine an America without a hope of Democracy, of “a more perfect union for ourselves and our posterity,” regardless of how unfair it may be. It is, and always has been, most likely always will be, a work in progress, an aspiration, precisely what I say in the second book.
The short sprint to unfair has been gaining ground of late. Although, as I describe in To the Front of the Bus, the last three Republican administrations tendered the ground for this one. They paved the way, enabling a witless hate monger. They, collectively, beginning with Watergate and ending with Bush and Cheney’s shameless profiteering from the Iraq War, brought issues like the obstruction of justice, torture and war crimes to be openly accepted on the free thinking market. It is normal in the early 2000s, having long since been regarded as an anomaly. The heroes, the greatest generation, the veterans who fought a legal, moral war, represented the last real hope of anything. Ever since war has had motives, with an honest calculated peace and freeing of a people, a simple surrender, now being a secondary goal if at all. Since the “police action” in Korea, which turned in a casualty report of over 33,000, wars have progressively supported the premise that it is negligible to not hold Congress to the power of making them, to lie about motives (or actions altogether), or to have ulterior motives, to be “carpetbaggers” to borrow a term from Reconstruction.
DNC chairman Tom Perez, in organizing the first two debates, incessantly spoke of each of the 20 candidates having a “fair shake.” All met either the donor number or had percentage points. They all got in, from the least recognizable (Marianne Williamson) to the most (Joe Biden). The point is to narrow the field, presumably with each debate, as qualifying for them becomes more stringent. Make no mistake, allowing Trump another term will irrevocably alter America, its fundamental principles, and the willingness to grow toward a fair Democracy. That being said, the Democrats must make this election singular in focus, ignoring the missteps of each others past politics to pool their talents, acumen, and finances to save the American way of life. The past three years have presented a politics so far from anything this country has known in its 248 years, so diametrically opposed to concepts held fast, ideas that were the basis for wars and peace, for nuclear disarmament and economic treaties, any kind of primary election must be approached from a different point of view. It is not Democrat versus Republican, and therefore cannot easily be Democrat versus Democrat. That is in no one’s best interest.
The Democratic concept of government that I wrote about in my memoir has been threatened many times in history. Woodrow Wilson brought us into WWI to make the world safe for Democracy. In the second world war congress voted to go to war to quiet a Fascist threat in Europe. Then came the decades long battle to keep the Communist element from infiltrating Democracy, manifesting itself in a 40 year cold war and a 15 year hot one in Vietnam. The effort to keep the red menace out began with a hunt by Senator Joe McCarthy to weed out communist sympathizers, to blacklist those who participated in activities deemed “UN-American.” In a self-imposing, redeeming contrivance, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were waged in the name of Democratic preservation. In 2016, out of frustration of the ineffectiveness of the system for a handful of Republicans, a street hustler came to be president. All of that Democratic preservation is now squandered, decades of military service, sacrifice, blood and treasure.
I would expect all Americans, especially veterans, to be acrimonious at the squandering of Democracy! These are Republicans, the GOP, the hawks with righteous intentions to preserve the Democratic republic. 600,000 Americans died in the Civil War to preserve that republic. The idea that all the efforts in courts, on the streets, on the battlefields were in vein should be reason enough to impeach this president and/or vote him out of office. He is now a pathetic man who now is clinging to a ravenous base dead set on doing everything that is truly UN-American. He is fanning the flames of bigotry, doing nothing to stem the availability of guns, and giving a green light to white nationalists. Even if, given a choice, Donald Trump were to act more like a leader with some moral compass, he is a chronic narcissist whose lack of conscience tells him only to placate his base. It is an instinctive reaction, a narcissistic paranoid compulsion. He is totally incapable of feeling anything for anyone, twisting the resentment towards him from the El Paso victims into a rally for himself. Shameless. He is desperate for the continued adulation of his minions, although I sincerely think he wants and needs this more than the job of POTUS.