Hodge: Time to focus on American principles
I love my country. I love America. I believe in democracy. And I’m worried for our future.
In the first couple of weeks of the Donald Trump presidency we have seen an unprecedented disregard for democratic American values and lawfulness from the executive branch.
There are many people who have used the mantra “this is not normal” in order to outline a framework for the coming weeks, months, and years. We are entering a time in history where we must be constantly vigilant and protective of our American principles. We must be persistently cautious and protective of our humanity. We must never get comfortable when it comes to the blatant or covert subjugation of any marginalized population in our country. We must never compromise or sacrifice the integrity of our moral thread work, even though we are facing a time when it is constantly under attack.
It has only been a couple of weeks since President Trump took office and we are already seeing a dangerous shift in consciousness in America. I hope that we, as a society, can continue to stay watchful and adhere to our democratic values. I hope that Americans can maintain our principles for inclusion amidst the turmoil and aggression. As we move forward, watching policies that tread on human rights, witnessing regulations that keep Americans safe be repealed, listening to white supremacist sentiment in the highest offices of our government, we must move forward with unity and dignity.
These first couple of weeks of the Trump presidency have seen some of the most morally reprehensible, chaotic, and poorly-implemented policies from any administration in recent history. Some people have questioned if Donald Trump and his advisors are implementing “shock event” tactics in order to blur the lines of regular American politics, confuse citizens, and overthrow the democracy we all hold dear. Some people have wondered if Donald Trump is lacking constitutional knowledge, worrying that he has no idea what he is doing, speculating that maybe he is incredibly ignorant about the constitutional foundation of American society. Several medical professionals have questioned President Trump’s mental health.
During the election, we heard bizarre and divisive language from Donald Trump’s campaign. Many of us dismissed such rhetoric, failing to believe that such a maniac might be elected to the highest and most esteemed office in our country. Many Americans, myself included, doubted the possibility of Donald Trump’s election because we naively believed that quality, kindness, dignity, equanimity, and inclusivity as principles, by themselves or collectively as ideologies, could win elections.
We are now watching the very fabric of our every moral fiber as an American society unravel in front of us in a series of quick and swift gestures. Whether it is strategy, stupidity, or insanity, the core values of America are being challenged at a fundamental level.
Now, more than ever, we cannot back down. Now, more than ever, we must stick to our integrity without compromise.
It is hard to maintain our kindness and our moral compass against a constant barrage of assaults. When we are constantly having to fight for our basic human decency, it is hard to maintain perspective and resist lowering the bar.
But we must be vigilant. We must resist normalizing the assault on democracy and the American people. We cannot resolve ourselves to a scarcity attitude when it comes to morality in America. We cannot get into the mind-set of, “Well, at least he didn’t do this.” Or, “Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as that.” Or worst of all, “Well at least it wasn’t me.”
When we allow fear to lead us, we sacrifice our integrity. When we lower our standards, we have compromised our values and have given away our power.
We are not safe until all of us are safe. We are not human until all of us are human.
We will continue to see dangerous policy implemented by Donald Trump and his dangerous cabinet. We must become no less principled in our actions and no less unified in our resistance.
President Donald Trump has shown a contempt for American democracy, a disdain for constitutional checks and balances, and a neglect for American principles. His Republican Congress, including our local congress people Tom McClintock and Doug LaMalfa, have almost unanimously unified themselves with the immediate and sweeping orders handed to them from an ideologue who is dangerously advocating for and implementing un-American policy.
We must continue to fight for our democracy and we must continue to fight together.
Hilary Hodge lives in Grass Valley. Her column is published by The Union on Tuesdays. Contact her at email@example.com.
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