Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. In the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, social and economic upheaval, and political dyspepsia, Americans will nevertheless celebrate the birth of their republic. As they should.
One might be forgiven for thinking there is little left to celebrate, that Donald Trump and his Republican lackeys have so ravaged America that no hope remains. But that would be a mistake.
America thought she was getting a fierce Doberman to protect her, only to find he thought he owned the place. He lunged at the neighbours, dug up endangered plants, ate the children, and (except when he was chasing golf balls) wouldn't stop barking. But when the really tough dogs came around, he lay on his back and dribbled in submission. Humbled before Putin, Xi and Kim, and having peed on the shoes of longtime friends, the "tough guy" left America looking foolish, weak and alone in a dystopia of his making.
One might point to Donald Trump alone as the canker on the soul of America, but one would be wrong. Blame must be shared by the venal gang of Republicans who not only enable and protect his perfidy, but by virtue of their history of voter suppression and gerrymandering, made him possible, a kind of Weimar redux.
Dishonourable mention must also go to the vaudeville of megachurches and strutting preachers who have the audacity to call themselves by the name of the One who cared for the poor, drove the merchandisers from the temple, and brought solace to the broken.
One could fairly fault Western society's inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. And there would be some truth to that-- you can only absorb so much Hollywood and Madison Avenue before your compass begins to spin.
You could call out politicised medicine which provides the lucky with best-in-the-world health care, but God help the unlucky. And you could wag a finger at the megacorporations who buy and sell politicians on the PAC market.
You could castigate the super-rich who, having been born on third base think they've hit a home run, and who pay protection money to their politicians so they don’t have to share any of their purse-snatched wealth.
One could point to the cabal of misfits and moral failures that passes for Trump’s revolving door cabinet-- pyramid scheme queens, failed investments bankers, robber barons and some who conduct foreign policy on the basis that "the Rapture is imminent, so why bother?" Not to mention an Attorney General who seems unaware of Rule 8.4 of the DC Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct.
Yes, you could blame any and all of these, and close the book. But then you’d be left in despair, and you’d miss the best part of the story.
Because the real story of America is that she is a remarkable and resilient lady who will shake off the rags of this Trumpian distemper. America will stand up and become great again, perhaps this time dressed in robes of righteousness.
Great not because of her military or her industry, but great because of her people. At their core, and as individuals, Americans are far better than Trump has made them out to be. As individuals, most Americans care about their neighbours, and understand that injustice for one is injustice for all. As individuals they can be as tolerant of dissent and nonconformity as anyone. Their courageous public servants, particularly the military, understand the depth of their duty to care for their nation and their democracy. Americans are industrious and ingenious, problem-solvers extraordinaire. Americans know how to turn a dollar, and they know how to make the wheels turn.
America is so much better than the tawdry whore Donald Trump pretends she is. She will be great again because there is a groundswell of young people who have had enough of division, treachery, double standards, self-dealing and shameless opportunism. America will be great again because of seniors who remember that half a century ago, they too believed in a better America, and they too marched for a better place. It was right then, and it's right today.
Will America ever become perfect? Of course not-- with three hundred and thirty million souls, there will always be plenty of grifters, sleaze merchants and snake oil salesmen. But when the crooks are no longer in charge, America can stand tall again and take her natural place as leader of the free world.
America gave us rhythm and blues, electric lighting, Elvis Presley, the assembly line, Mickey Mouse, Tesla, the iPhone, the telegraph, the hot dog, manned flight, cold beer, the internet, a man on the moon, and the world's first large stable modern democracy, and a whole lot more.
She's a smart, talented, tough, good-hearted lady. She doesn't need to hide in her room and hate the world. She'll be back, she'll be welcomed, and she'll do fine.
July 3, 2020
Norman Bowley teaches the Alignment Doctrine and the Client Code-- secrets to building the professional practice you and your clients deserve.