A Post-July 4th OpEd

Now that the firecracker sky has paled to morning mist, I take a deep breath to process why I felt so sad yesterday. The answer requires little rumination. As a nation, over the course of the last eighteen months, we have become less than we could be, and I am heartbroken. The battles we fought as women, as people of color, as union workers, as environmentalists, as patriots, must now be waged all over again.

This is not a partisan rant. This is a deep-seated cry for all of us to wake up to what is happening. The alarm is sounding, people. We can ill afford to hit the snooze button.The pond scum has risen to the top of the food chain. Men and women with no expertise, no concern for anything other than their own deep pockets, have been placed in charge of the most critical departments of our administration. The speeches given by our president echo those of the most notorious madmen to occupy the world stage. A promise to make the nation great again smacks of Germany pre-World War. Don’t believe me? Do yourself a favor and read the addresses given by Hitler. Better yet, read the fiction novel White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey. “Enemies of the state” is not a term invented by our contemporary president. The press was vilified prior to the cataclysm that threatened the entire world. Scapegoats were created. Mass rallies where people chanted slogans intended to inflame and incite took place much as these ‘campaign rallies’ do today. The rise of ICE as a police force reminds one of the rise of the Gestapo. It is not enough to wring your hands, or bury your head. Every citizen is called upon to be vigilant in the face of this onslaught. Our Constitution demands that we hold government accountable to us.

Every American who understands that freedom doesn’t exist just in the moment, but exists as a legacy we pass on to future generations is tasked with defending our freedoms. Therefore, in the spirit of Independence Day, I call upon all legislators to examine their very souls, find the courage to stand up for their convictions, put aside the one-issue politics, and defend our values. Will we agree on everything? Of course not. But the essence of our nation is compromise. The document we hold most dear evolved out of a congress of compromise.

I have tasked myself with the following, and I ask you to consider doing the same:

  1. I will not stand silent in the face of injustice. I will lift my voice in defense of the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.
  2. I will work to register voters. The laws being passed make it increasingly difficult for even the most adept of us to stay registered. I must help those who cannot navigate these new requirements.
  3. I will work the polls. There are never enough volunteers to man the stations. It’s only one long day. You can do it! Businesses: I suggest you offer time off without consequence for employees willing to serve in this patriotic process.
  4. I will VOTE in every election. I only have one vote, but it matters. One plus one plus one adds up to a groundswell of support.

P.S. To each party – Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian – I ask that you abandon the negative ads and tell us what positive actions you will take to make good change happen.

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