I have been experiencing the longest period of writers block ever. I can usually put my finger on why I go through these phases rather quickly and then the gates open soon after. This time I have knowingly been in denial as to why, I have lost my patriotism and it has left me speechless.
This loss of patriotism didn’t happen overnight. In my lifetime I have seen the assassination of a President that to this day has never been conclusively solved and the people have been fed story after story none of which would be believed by anyone of sound mind. I have seen the Viet Nam war and all the crimes against humanity committed by our own military and government leaders. I have seen the Civil Rights movement and the assassinations of its leaders, the shameful and criminal treatment of black people in this country that is still there today that has brought no action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen a mass shooting practically every day for years and years with no action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen the discrimination against women that has still not brought action from our Congressional leaders. I have seen Watergate. I have heard the lies and conspiracy theories about 9/11. I also grew up in Los Alamos N.M. where the atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of people; and the hydrogen bombs that were tested for decades were built. I know the atrocities committed by human beings against our own kind.
All these things and my knowledge of history chipped away at my patriotism all my life, but I still had a hint of pride in the country I lived in.
I had an idea of what we as a nation could be and it gave me reason to keep up my activism. Sometimes with a fervor.
When I went to D.C. and stood before the Lincoln Memorial; on the spot where MLK gave his famous speech my eyes welled up. I felt a sense of awe at the majesty of the Capitol Building and felt inspired at the engraved words on the walls of the Library of Congress. Standing in front of the White House I felt humbled.
Then I walked up to the Jefferson Memorial. And though I had formed my opinions of Jefferson long ago, written many words expressing my anger at his hypocrisy, it wasn’t until I saw the larger than life marble statue of the man and his words engraved in stone that stood dozens of feet high that my anger made me question my patriotism.
Martin Luther King Jr. was memorialized by a square block the size of a doormat that one could walk over without even noticing it was any different than the ones around it; you had to be looking down as you walked to see it and it was in front of a magnificently large figure of Lincoln that one couldn’t help but be looking up at as you walked across the stone of the peaceful black preacher who influenced our country as much as the man who freed his ancestors from slavery.
And there was Thomas Jefferson. The size of mythical giant. An entire building dedicated to a man who owned hundreds of slaves when he wrote the words ‘all men are created equal’. A man who refused to free his own slaves. I have heard all the defenses of why he would not do so; the loss of income would have left him poor, he would lose his plantation. That is what great men do. Great men deserving of such a monument sacrifice fortunes and even their own lives to do the right thing especially over something like slavery. And this glorified slave owner is known to have fathered many illegitimate children through the rape of his female slaves. Thomas Jefferson was a serial rapist and there he is larger than life in front of the words that immortalize him and prove his hypocrisy at the same time.
Those words are hollow. Those words are an insult to my intelligence. Those words were also very carefully chosen.
Many days and many hours were spent at conventions with debates over those words. Each and every word was considered as was it’s placement. Those words were meant to be the bond between the people and their representatives. Those words dictate our very lives and the rights we have to them. Those words define what patriotism in America is.
Patriotism is learned. Patriotism is taught in the lessons of the founding of America. Lessons that are taught through the words of the founding fathers and those documents that are encased in glass, preserved as if they were sacrosanct. The words ‘endowed by their creator’ bring the reverence of scripture to those words. It also makes a belief in god part of the doctrine of American patriotism.
I still felt a sense of patriotism, maybe diminished but it was there.
Then Trump became president.
My patriotism turned to cynicism. Cynicism turned to poco-curantism.
All that has happened in this presidency has done more to erode my patriotism than everything up to his being elected. Not just because he was elected but because Trump has brought to light all the many many many flaws in our Constitution. Trump has not made a mockery of it he has merely shown what a mockery it already was.
There is no uniting this country. The Constitution itself sets up the divide that has always been there. The Constitution is the perfect script for a reality show and America finally cast the perfect man for the leading role.
In a true democracy where the majority rules, only the majority rules. The minority is not considered what so ever. Their voices are not heard, their wants, needs or demands are ignored, they have no right to be protected from injustice resulting from the majority rule. A Constitutional Republic is meant to be more ‘fair’ than a true democracy. Here we have representatives that speak for us. We have representatives that fight for rights of the minority; to protect us from injustice of the majority rule.
Our government is meant to assure that not one person or office has absolute power over any other. Three separate offices of equal power; a balance of powers. All these offices are made up of the representatives we the people put there by the process of elections. Every vote counted.
Sounds fair right?
Read the fine print.
Let’s break it down. The Legislative Office. These are all elected officials. Congress which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate consists of representatives from each state. The House consists of representatives from every district within each state. Though both are one office they are separate bodies of power. Both bodies have representatives from both parties. Both bodies have ranking members that come from the majority party within each body. The House must vote first and what passes then goes to the Senate for a vote.
A vote that will only be taken if the Senate majority leader brings it to the floor. The Senate majority leader has absolute power of what gets a vote and what doesn’t.
The Executive Office. These are elected officials. Every citizen gets to vote for this office. However we do not get to directly elect who holds this office. The Electoral College does. The Electoral College is made up of people who are voted in by party committees. These committees consist of members of the House and Senate. So the House majority party and the Senate majority party get more votes resulting in their party having the majority of electorates. In short if Republicans are the the majority party in the House or the Senate then the Republican party gets more electorates. Which means the Republican candidate will most likely win the electoral vote and become president.
The Judicial Office. The Supreme Court. This office is made up of judges appointed by the president. These are lifetime appointments. The must be confirmed by Congress. If the president is a Democrat and nominates a judge, and Congress has a Democrat majority the nominated judge who will most likely also be a Democrat will most likely be approved. However is the president is a Democrat and nominates a Democrat judge but Republicans are the majority the judge most likely won’t be approved.
Now, judges that are approved hold a seat on the court that are there to rule on laws that are passed and whether or not they infringe upon our god given rights. (No there is no separation of church and state when behind the bench of the highest court in the land it says In God We Trust underneath the sculpted face of Moses who is also engraved in the wooden doors to the court room holding the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.) They are there to interpret the Constitution as it applies to we the people and to the other two offices of power, one of which appointed them and the other of which approved them.
Then we have the other offices of the administration. The Department of Justice for one whose head is the Attorney General who is appointed by the president. The AG goes through the same process of Congressional approval. The AG has the absolute power over what will be brought before the Supreme Court. The AG has the say of what if any charges will be brought against the United States of America which includes the offices of power.
Where is there any balance of power?
Trump is proving every day that the joke is really on us. Because that is how I see those words now, as a joke.
And not a very funny one.