OPINION

America is not in free fall

Letter to the editor: Richard Joel Holmes

America is not in free fall unless the hearts, minds and souls of its citizens are ideologically immovable, meaning welded solidly to the ironclad wills of far too many politicians, most egregiously of late, Republicans who seem to be obsessed with a power grab that could mislead the people in the following ways: by overpowering, not empowering; miseducating, not educating; disabling, not enabling; further polarizing, not communicating straightforwardly with unadorned facts; and enslaving them through a consumerist ethic despite survival wages ("I consume, therefore I exist").

   Yes, something is rotten to the core in an America that is anything but united. The everyday lives of Americans are a faint echo of what our founders fought for and envisioned through both militant actions and passionate reason.

   If one reads with painstaking care the primary sources of those centuries-ago turbulent times, it should become evident that there was a humility behind much of the founders' seeming bravado that signaled just how challenging such a noble experiment into the forming of a new nation, a democracy, was going to be. Human nature, though, was as big a challenge then as now, not one party or the other being an evil demonic presence, hellbent on a grand design of--call it what you will--a totalitarian (from far left to far right) crushing of the human spirit. How? Power over the people, minimizing their input into how that power was wielded. Why? Again, human nature, not because of a demon-possessed party, but because power-hungry men have thought that only they--and a few hand-picked sycophantic loyalists--could lead the nation through their will alone. Its' almost, as with Trump, one is proclaiming, "Thank Almighty God that I arrived on the scene!"

   This sure as hell ain't democracy, no matter how you dress it up. It's a vainglorious descent into a pretentious and hypocritical government that doesn't heed the people, but pays obeisance to corporate overlords. It pays lip service to a segment of headstrong Christians who tolerate no non- or un-Christian religions or any philosophies of life with moral principles. It militarizes law enforcement to protect its vital interests ($$$). It preserves all forms of systemic racism from implicit to in-your-face. It justifies war after war with near religious fervor, always giving reverent due (as we should) to sacrifices for our beloved nation.

   But where does all the above and so much more of the partisan insanity end?

   I worry less that America is free falling and becoming a Third World country than that we are currently not the shining example of an evolving nation built, layer after layer, upon a moral and ethical foundation.

   Yes, and always imperfect, because politics and human nature often combine in malevolent and lethal ways. But always keep in mind and harbor the hope that humanity in all its wonderful diversity cannot be reduced to party, ideology, religion, ethnicity, skin color, geography, job title or where one lives, whether urban or rural.

   It should be no stretch of anyone's imagination to say that America will thrive best and democracy will succeed most when we drop all the pretense of sticking political labels on each other and distancing all of us from reality.

   When politicians spew venom all over the place, scapegoating and name-calling, think of Abraham Lincoln's words: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

   Let's end the free-for-all malice toward people of party and face each other as humans with wonder and goodwill.

   With malice toward none.

Richard Joel Holmes

Hays