State of Disunion

Assessing Trump's first year

This past year, our country has witnessed the Iraq War phrase of “shock and awe” almost daily in the news. This is appropriate, given the war mentality reflected in the political maneuverings of Mr. Trump and his cronies, both in domestic and foreign policy, as they begin to shred the social/economic safety net many Americans rely on, and to remake a new world order. Quite an agenda!

Let’s see: passed tax “reform” legislation; repealed medical care; repealed environmental regulations; repealed banking regulations and consumer protections; questioned, repudiated and defunded evidence and science-based research; continued belligerent rhetoric toward foreign leaders, governments and foreign policies—and toward our own government and free press. Anything left out? Probably.

But wait! Past progressive political legislation has shown that our government, with bipartisan, congressional support, can respond to our nation’s most pressing issues. The New Deal programs of the 1930s and ’40s brought Social Security and other government programs to address the plight of the poor and improve and safeguard working conditions. The Great Society’s mandates of the 1960s and ’70s, ushered in civil rights legislation, Medicare, Entitlement Acts in education, and environmental and consumer-protection laws. Both these eras of government assistance and involvement in the lives of its people had positive outcomes, despite the fact that wars were being fought concurrently as these programs were being implemented.

Our isolation, division and fear have grown—both within the confines of our own borders, and beyond. We see through a glass darkly now.

There is a Native American story of a grandfather talking with his grandson. The grandfather states he has “a terrible fight going on inside his heart between two wolves—one has anger, greed, resentment, lies, false pride, arrogance, superiority, ego; the other one has faith, generosity, hope, humility, kindness, joy and love. The grandson is quiet for a moment, then asks, “Which wolf will win?”

The grandfather simply replies, “The one I feed.”

E. G. Singer lives in Santa Rosa.

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