"She was asked what she had learned from the Holocaust, and she said that 10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and that 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and that the remaining 80 percent could be moved in either direction." Kurt Vonnegut
Please spare me the media hysterics and the outrage and the hypocritical double standards of those whose moral conscience appears to be largely dictated by their political loyalties.
Anyone who believes that the injustices, cruelties and vicious callousness of the U.S. government are unique to the Trump administration has not been paying attention.
While we squabble over which side is winning this losing battle, a tsunami approaches.
Case in point: in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, champion of the Bill of Rights, and the nation's third president, city councilors in a quest for so-called "equity" have proposed eliminating Jefferson's birthday as a city holiday (which has been on the books since 1945) and replacing it with a day that commemorates the liberation of area slaves following the arrival of Union troops under Gen. Philip Sheridan.
In this way, while the populace wages war over past injustices, injustice in the here and now continues to trample innocent lives underfoot. In Charlottesville, as in the rest of the country, little is being done to stem the tide of the institutional racism that has resulted in disproportionate numbers of black Americans being stopped, frisked, shot at, arrested and jailed.
Just recently, in fact, Phoenix police drew their guns, shouted profanities, assaulted and threatened to shoot a black couple whose 4-year-old daughter allegedly stole a doll from a dollar store. The footage of the incident, in which the cops threaten to shoot the pregnant, young mother in the head in the presence of the couple's 1- and 4-year-old daughters, is horrifying in every way.
Tell me again why it's more important to spend valuable political capital debating the birthdays of dead presidents rather than proactively working to put a stop to a government mindset that teaches cops it's okay to treat citizens of any color with brutality and a blatant disregard for their rights?
It doesn't matter that Phoenix and Charlottesville are 2100 miles apart. The lethal practices of the American police state are the same all over.
No amount of dissembling can shield us from the harsh reality that the danger in our midst is posed by an entrenched government bureaucracy that has no regard for the Constitution, Congress, the courts or the citizenry.
We've got to stop with all of the excuses and the hedging and the finger-pointing and the pissing contests to see which side can out-shout, out-blame and out-spew the other. Enough already with the short- and long-term amnesia that allows political sycophants to conveniently forget the duplicity, complicity and mendacity of their own party while casting blame on everyone else.
This is how evil wins.
This is how freedom falls and tyranny rises.
This is how good, generally decent people--having allowed themselves to be distracted with manufactured crises, polarizing politics, and fighting that divides the populace into warring us vs. them camps--fail to take note of the looming danger that threatens to wipe freedom from the map and place us all in chains.
While left-leaning Americans are determined to believe that the world has become a far more dangerous place under Trump, and right-leaning Americans are equally convinced that Trump has set us on a path to prosperity and security, nothing has changed.