America – Right and Wrong
The United States of America has been a beacon of hope – starting with the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the founding of the United States of America and the enduring principles of the United States Constitution. We fought a Civil War to end the unspeakable crime of slavery. We welcomed immigrants fleeing poverty, persecution and violence. We fought the First and Second World Wars to protect democratic governments in Europe and across the Pacific. We helped Europe and Japan get back on their feet and re-build their economies and build stable democratic governments. We pioneered public education, the right to vote for women, civil rights, the progressive income tax, Social Security, the freedom to marry the person you love, worker’s rights, gay rights, and women’s rights.
We have many episodes of our history that we must remember with shame, and we must acknowledge our grievous harm to many innocents. This began with the genocide of Native Americans across the continent in which they were living. The torture, abuse, rapes and killings of women from Salem to the modern day; the enslavement, the Jim Crow laws, the lynchings, the mass incarcerations of African Americans; institutional racism against Asians, Mexicans, Jews and Muslims, and the killings of workers and union organizers. The overthrows of elected governments throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, the lies and invasions of Iraq, and the lies, terrible bombings and wars in Southeast Asia. The robber barons, monopolists, purveyors of unsafe food, air, water and climate change, the fraudsters, the corrupt politicians and dishonest corporate leaders. The terrible mistreatment of immigrants and asylum seekers from Latin America, the turning away of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler, the laws restricting Asian immigration and the internments of our Japanese citizens.
President Trump personifies for me these shameful aspects of America’s past – the lies, the racism and intolerance, the misogyny, the nativism, the religious hypocrisy, the greed and the fraud. But we must recognize that he is a big part of the sides of America that we’d like to sweep under the table, the American skeletons we’d like to keep in the closet, and the disgraceful part of our past we’d like to forget about. He reminds me every day that not all our Presidents have been greats -- a George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, or Barack Obama. We have elected our fair share of incompetents, misguided fools and corrupt individuals -- James Buchanan, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and others. And we have survived, and we have replaced them with great leaders to match the better angels of our national psyche.
Which side of our nation’s history are you on?
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin