Ever get so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of corruption, lies and dismantling of democracy these past 18 months that you can’t wrap your head around it?
It is helpful to remind yourself of who you are and what you, your country and your family are supposed to stand for.
It’s also helpful for me to remember my children are not yet fully grown and that if the planet survives 20 years from now and they with it, I want them to know that we were not complacent during the rape and pillage of our country and planet.
I’ve sat and stared at the wall a good deal lately trying to figure out responses to the Trump Administration’s atrocities.
One person can only do so much. Trump might be a giant baby, but his babysitters are supposed to know better and so far they are proving they don’t. Here’s what I’m able and willing to do: stand up and say something and not be complicit to evil. I’m for manners and civility, but I’m not for excusing bad behavior. I’m for voting out Doug LaMalfa. I’m for fresh faces on our local boards. I’m for defending our country against its foreign enemies and domestic (the spineless people in office complicit in Trump and his administration’s treason and crimes against humanity).
May this column serve as some inspiration and a reminder of what we stand for — these aren’t in a particular order, but just how they hit me last weekend.
The problems of education, history and a sincere lack of empathy
We have a serious deficit in civics and history. Administrators and teachers need courage and support to just tell it like it was. Teach it hard and don’t worry about whether it “disagrees” with the myths they are learning at home. We are witnessing right now what happens when we have no grasp of the history of our own country. Remember that often there are not two sides to a story or two sides that need representation in the classroom. Sometimes students need to know emphatically just the facts.
Sometimes history isn’t pretty. Sometimes it is self-serving. Sometimes our ancestors did some pretty hellacious things. We are a country founded on genocide, opportunity and greed even as we are a country founded by democratic ideals and egalitarian aims. We need to own both and learn both.
For the sake of my own sanity, I have to believe that when given actual history, geography and the opportunity to confront one’s own bias and prejudices, Americans would behave better toward each other and others.
The big issues
One cannot defend treason. Treason is open and shut. I don’t know why Trump is selling us out to an 18-year dictator who punishes and or kills anyone who stands in his way anymore than you do. I don’t know why he’s enamored of a former KGB agent. I just know my grandfathers fought in wars so we didn’t have to live in a dictatorship. Someone who trusts dictators more than his own intelligence agencies should be removed from office. We must remember why our allies are our allies and why dictators are not supposed to be given a world stage and treated as if crimes against humanity do not matter. Because they do.
Speaking of crimes against humanity, we do not condone ripping babies from their mothers and separating asylum seekers from their families. It’s not defensible. Shush. Stop it. It’s just not.
Separating families seeking asylum is wrong. If you’re a religious person it is definitely wrong in the eyes of your God. If you’re an atheist like me, we know it’s just wrong. You don’t steal children. Period. You don’t take babies from their mothers. If you think this is OK in any circumstance, there is something wrong with your heart and soul. Perhaps your soul is missing.
It’s not illegal to seek asylum in the United States. People grammatically cannot be illegal, only an action can be. There’s no such thing as an illegal human. There are undocumented peoples. We have two land borders and two sea borders. If we’re serious about border security, all four should be monitored. Immigration from Latin America to the USA has been on a steady decline since NAFTA.
Please learn geography. Refugees coming from Central American countries are not from Mexico. Maps are your friend. American foreign policy of overthrowing democracies in Central America in the 1980s is not your friend — that creates (wait for it) refugee crisis.
MS-13 is an American based gang founded in Los Angeles, which was then exported to Central America.
Americans do not have to respond to questions about where they were born; nor do they have to show ID or be searched without a warrant. Having an abundance of melatonin in your skin does not mean you are not American.
Speaking of misplaced origins, the Confederate flag is the flag of a defeated treasonous nation that broke away from the union in order to protect its perceived right to own melatonin rich people and rob them of their labor. Period. This flag frequently flies in our area. You want to have proud “southern heritage?” Make a flag with the faces of Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Tennessee Williams — some of the finest words ever written come from these white, male southerners.
We have a serious domestic terrorism problem that can no longer be ignored and it’s made worse by an administration that seemingly condones it by its silence. Crime statistics tell us the demographic we need to worry about is not immigrant but domestic. Is not female, but male. Etc.
The planet itself
We just experienced record sustained triple digit weather. I just traveled the state. We can film Mad Max here next time. No administration ever has been so wanton with the environment and our children’s future. It’s too overwhelming to comment. Legislation to protect our families from toxicity, protect water and air, protect endangered species? Gone. I don’t want to return to the 1970s, do you? Laws are a reaction to something that’s taken place already. Nearly all environmental protections operate this way.
But I’m here to offer solutions not just tell you what you already should know. The solution? We need better representation on all levels of government. We need education that commits to the diversity of our state, that makes our graduates competitive and knowledgeable. We need to develop or redevelop empathy.
Our federal representative is a yes-man for Trump. District 1 might not be able to do anything about Trump, but we certainly don’t need to send Doug LaMalfa back for another rubber stamp term in office. In representing exclusively his own interests he does a great disservice to our region. I blame him as well as our state representatives of this region for doing a lousy job of representing our shared interests.
Did you ever stop to think that State of Jefferson may not have gotten so much traction had our Republican representation (for there is no other representation in our area) done a better job of representing our interests to the state? Perhaps it’s time for some innovation, other people who are perhaps interested in bringing economic prosperity back to the region and upholding the civil rights and liberties of our citizenry?
In the most non-partisan way, we are a region of strong independence and live and let live attitudes. Let’s demonstrate to our grandchildren what this should mean.
Oh, and those interested in running for local office have until Aug. 10 to file paperwork at the courthouse. Please do. We need you and your ideas.