Toward a renewed America with vision, purpose

Letter to the editor from Richard Joel Holmes, Hays

On January 20, 2021 President-Elect Joe Biden is supposed to be inaugurated as our 46th president, yet one can look around anywhere and sense there is crackling tension in the air. This tension ranges from a second wave of COVID surging while the logistics in administering a vaccine are being worked out at, yes, "warp speed" to whether something as extreme as martial law will be imposed to keep Trump in the White House.

   At 70, am I naive to still think that a grand America of renewed vision and purpose is still possible? Am I naive to still think that people from many walks of life and politicians who can wriggle out of their constrictive partisan cocoons to "get things done" is still possible? Can these many "essential" people and politicians unite to at least try wholeheartedly to find wider political paths to walk, jog, run--whatever pace is necessary — to forge legislation to benefit many more Americans?

   Naive? I sometimes feel sadness at what I see in a world of too many people denying the facts of racism, climate change, medical science, and the inglorious mistakes that American history demonstrates clearly have been made, but which are too often ignored, forgotten, not believed or plain cancelled.

   No doubt one might think Winston Churchill was being a snoot when he said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."  Yet, admittedly, a penetrating education is exactly what we need to hold our politicians accountable and not just relying on their promises, which, let's be honest, can be camouflaged in this maddening and toxic social media environment people have succumbed to.

   How about visions that exceed our dreams only if we imprison ourselves in the narrow confines of made-up minds. You know, like not buying into the mega-maniacal bluster of an authoritarian ruler who, as Bolton mused in a recent interview, probably hasn't even read the constitution.

   Am I being a snoot? No. There is enough miseducation and woeful lack of skillful fact-checking to go around among people everywhere, myself included.

   And connected to all of what I'm conveying are also lawyers and judges. We should heed the warning of playwright, Bertolt Brecht: "The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it."

   So what might a grand vision be? I like the visionary words of a blind woman, Helen Keller: "I look upon the whole world as my fatherland, and every war has to me a horror of a family feud. I look upon true patriotism as the brotherhood of man and the service of all to all."

   "Service of all to all." Visionary words indeed.

Richard Joel Holmes