I had to take a vacation from writing this summer. Work was a bit more hectic. Life in general picked up a bit of speed. But mostly, I grew sick and tired of President Trump’s ability to suck the oxygen out of the atmosphere and manage to be THE attention whores of all attention whores. So, instead of posting daily “tributes” to Trump, I unplugged and refocused on my personal well being. Silly me for thinking that would solve everything.
Love him, hate him, or indifferent towards him, Donald J. Trump IS the president that America rightly deserves now. In the seven months that he has been in office, he has simultaneously energized and angered the masses. He has worked hard to change the definition of what’s presidential in terms of actions and behavior. His administration and governing position is the living, breathing definition of chaos. And, in my honest opinion, he is the embodiment of the worldwide perception of America, Americans, and Americanism. He is famous, attention getting, controversial, wealthy*, and arrogant all wrapped up in one package. *true amount of his wealth is not known
Trump is what America deserves because we rightfully need to have an open and honest dialogue about who we are and what we stand for. In the 1940s, our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents went to war against Nazis and the belief of white supremacy abroad while we openly engaged in the same practice at home. We’ve always considered ourselves to be a society where anyone can achieve that “American dream”, but we’ve continually fed into a political and business class that continually make that dream more impossible to achieve by each passing generation. We love to tout our society based on freedom that every other country should emulate while constantly fighting to curtail the freedoms of those we don’t agree with.
Based on what we claim to be about vs what we actually practice, America is a fraud. What better way to perpetrate a fraud than to elect one to run the fraud?
Now, before I get accused of being anti-American, I am not. I am 100% red-blooded American as it gets. I work to defend the country of my birth, and I take my oath to defend the Constitution very seriously. I simply call things as I see it. America preaches one thing and practices something altogether different. Sometimes, it is for the better, and sometimes it is not. It also varies from person to person based on their beliefs and perspectives. That’s just how life operates.
The reason for me writing this is because of the Charlottesville fiasco. I’m of the belief that he blew a serious chance to get America into a discussion to heal animosity and racial strife. I also believe that he did not intend to lead America down that pathway as he showed himself and his beliefs on race in the words he chose. His history has shown his racial attitudes, and I doubt very seriously that you will get a 71-year-old man to suddenly change now.
That said, this does not prevent the rest of America from engaging in that dialogue on our own. We don’t need the president, a rabbi, pastor, or even a parent to give us the permission to start that conversation. We can do it on our own.
At some point, we have to be honest that America was founded on the belief of White Supremacy. It was written into the Constitution as a compromise to get slave dependent states to ratify it. White Supremacy drove America’s westward expansion as well as our world expansion of influence as well. Some people may not agree with that, and that’s their right to do so. It does not change the history that has already passed. None of us can change that. We can only change the future.
Destroying statues and memorials does not erase history. History is only lost when it is not taught and passed down in its entirety. We have to learn to love our warts as much as we love our exceptionalism. We are not a perfect country, and all of our actions in the past were not honorable. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the past in order to better shape the future.
I’ll go on record as being one that believes the statues and memorials in question still have a relevant place in our society. They simply do not belong on public grounds or areas where our current government operates. We do not erect any remembrances to the British, French, Spanish, Mexicans, or Native Americans who previously ruled lands that now belong to America. We should be the same across the board for all nations.
Private property and museums should be free to display any and all remembrances of their choosing, without controversy, so that we can study and learn from history. There will always be someone who will feel hurt by such displays. That is unavoidable. What we should be doing is ensuring that we understand and empathize with that hurt so that history does not repeat itself.
If we cannot talk openly and honestly with each other about this, then we will never learn the lessons of the past and will continue to repeat them time and time again.