November 2, 2020
By Arthur H. Gunther III
It should be un-American to hate, to be a bigot, to let fear and want from loss of job and community change to bully others from speaking, to let your religion tell you it is right to exclude non-believers. It should be un-American, but it is not.
Trump has said such thought, such behavior, IS American, a not-so-subtle reaffirmation that white is good, and only white is good. And his way of boosting his ego. Trump is only about Trump.
No matter that except for Native Americans, we are all immigrants on stolen land, paved over in the march for “progress” and white manifest destiny.
It has been wholly convenient in our short U.S. history to deny our racism. Cities were built. Industries rose. Opportunity increased. Great advances were made in technology, medicine, the standard of living. And, admittedly, in human relations. But all at the cost of ghettos, the poor, the disenfranchised, the drug-addicted, the mentally afflicted, chased from sight so we could live the white version of “progress.”
When, in the course of growing maturity in this American democratic experiment, the one envisioned by the founders, we saw leaders like Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy trying to cast light on the neglected, telling us the debt must be paid for paving over paradise and putting in a parking lot, we shot them.
Now in the age of Trump, who would never sit down at Mar-A-Lago with the white victims of job loss and poverty, the crowds he lies to in false promise, there must be a reckoning. We must face our sins.
Far-right, greed-driven politicians, long-removed from the Dwight Eisenhower era of progressives and compromisers, today join special-interest lobbies ruling from K-Street offices in D.C., deliberately obstructing change that would help the middle class, the generational poor, minorities and the fully forgotten. While this influence is at work in both political parties, it is truly sinister in the hijacked GOP. The Democrats are flawed, yes, but they are currently capable of seeing the error of their ways.
The nation’s bleeding offers perhaps the last moment to turn the tide in special-interest influence, in a Republican Party that has lost its way, in a Democratic Party that offers decency, and thus hope, in Joe Biden.
We must, in this election, begin to reclaim government for the people, to defeat racism, to educate, train and provide jobs for forever-neglected African-Americans, Native Americans and other minorities, including poor whites.
The money is there — in the vaults of the super-rich. The “hope” is there in articulate voices, particularly women today. The means are there in this nation that overcame a civil war, the Great Depression and led the world 1941-’45. We can devise a plan of action, as FDR did, as the Marshall Plan did for post-war Europe.
The timing is right. Flip the switch Tuesday. Begin the gathering of decency.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. firstname.lastname@example.org