…toward Donald Trump and these inhumane and immoral pardons he feels justified to impart like a fake monarch surveying his realm. His pardon of four thugs from Blackwater who murdered 14 completely innocent Iraqis, including men, women and children, during the invasion was particularly deplorable. One was in jail for first degree murder and life, the other three were serving 30 year sentences. Trump released them with one swirl of his sloppy signature, slapping the face of an entire nation who still mourns.
Beyond anger, I feel a deep embarrassment at the actions of this immoral so-called human being, Donald Trump. I am embarrassed to be connected with him as an American, embarrassed that I’ve lived here under his rule during these last four years, embarrassed to be connected, even remotely, with those that voted for him and those in Congress who enabled his reign of his attempt to dismantle our democracy. I am embarrassed that some 74 million people voted for this charlatan. I am embarrassed that a significant number of those voters still think he was not legally elected. I am embarrassed that though Trump lost, Republicans gained seats in the House, and held their majority, so far, in the Senate.
A better word still, is distraught. I am distraught that over 315,000 people have died due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are still a significant number of Republicans who think, along with Trump, that the pandemic is a hoax, that these people actually died of other causes having nothing to do with the virus. I am distraught that Trump continues to dispute the results of a fair and honest election, affirmed as such by many courts and judges, even judges who were appointed by Trump. I am distraught that his actions are undermining faith in our government, in our democracy, in our way of conducting elections so basic to our freedom. I am distraught that Trump can carry on like this unrestrained, uninhibited, unburdened, unprosecuted, as if he were a despotic king, as he were a Putin, an Un, a Xi, a Duerte, a Castro, a Bolsonaro, an Erdegon, and need I say, a Hitler or a Mussolini.
Yes, I am angry. I am embarrassed. I am distraught.
And yet, as the morning light breaks through the fog rolling in from the mighty Columbia River, I am proud. I am proud to have been part of the Blue Wave that defeated Donald Trump in the historic 2020 election. I am proud to have supported Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, two brave and honest Americans who dared to oppose the wannabe dictator, dared to defy death threats and vilification and lies and threats to speak their minds and answer those lies and threats with steadfast truth and honesty and integrity. I am proud to have openly supported Joe and Kamala.
I am proud too of having supported Black Lives Matter, after the killing at the hands of police of George Floyd. I am physically unable to walk the streets, but my wife and I did join a car march, honking our horn and showing our home made signs to fellow marchers on the streets of our town–a town, btw, that is rife with white nationalists and supremacists and Trump Republicans. I am proud that I continued to write about my support of BLM and the need for police reforms towards more humane community policing that respects people of color and treats them like full human beings.
It is Christmas time, and thoughts of Jesus and what he stood for arise in my consciousness. I was born a Jew, had a Bar Mitzvah, shifted to Unitarianism during the Vietnam years, became a Buddhist, and now in my older age…what am I? No religion, really, but am a spiritual man, still and always a cultural Jew, who considers each day upon awakening, Who am I, my purpose? Where am I, how did I get here? What am I, and what will I be after my death?
These thoughts focus my attention to the moment at hand, to the day ahead, and living that day in a conscious way, with Death over my shoulder, as Castenada wrote of Don Juan’s instructions. It may sound like a morbid thought, but it’s not really. It gets me to consider what it is, what I can do to make this a better world, to make myself a better, more sensitive and aware and responsible person. Sure, I want too to enjoy the day, to honor this planet by spending time in nature, feeling a stiff breeze sting my face and tussle my hair. I want to watch birds soar and clouds float by. I want to feel the rain, and breathe in fresh air while my body is still able, and my mind is still sharp enough to let me know when its time to get the hell inside!
Responsible to what, to whom? To myself, certainly, to my wife who has chosen to spend these precious moments of life with me. To my fellow human beings who I share this planet with. To the other sentient beings on this wonderful planet. To this community called America, that has granted me life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I will fight, through writing, and voting, and donating, for the continuation of this great experiment in democracy, and against those who seem bent on destroying it.
Henry R. Altschuler says
Keep writing. Stay well. Enjoy the holidays with Ruth. I love you.
Stephen Altschuler says
Absolutely. The fight continues. Love you too, my Brother.
Nan Kimmelsman says
Eloquent- thank you for voicing what so many of us feel.
Stephen Altschuler says
Very much appreciated, Nan. I’m glad it struck a chord with you.
Much peace and happiness.
Frances Rose says
So important and well written text.
Speaks clearly for so many of us
Would love Ruth to translate it and publish it in Portuguese , I believe could help point out many similar comments about the unbelievably terrible president here.
Love and blessings.
Robert Mattson says
Be positive, test negative! Was certain that America’s best days were in the rear view mirror. This is not the country that I was born into in 1945. NOW, as we retreat from the brink, I feel that the struggles of 2020 will strengthen not destroy our way of life.
Stephen Altschuler says
I would agree with that, Bob. What doesn’t destroy us, can make us stronger. But Trump showed us we must be ever vigilant of tyranny, deceit, and power-hungry meglomaniacs who can dupe and con the public into a cult mentality, as we’ve seen with Trump.
Thanks for commenting.