Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country


The Constitution Will Hold
Agent of Influence
Some of Us Have Arrived at an Extended TLJ Moment
You Know a Lot of Trump Voters
A Few Thoughts on the Subject of Patriotism
Granny Strings
What we might want to Consider
Some thoughts on Opinion Control
Correction and the Subject of Ranting
Payroll Taxes and Other Matters
Nancy, Joe, and Chuck: Destroying America
A Second Term
Delaying the Election
November 2016 and November 2020


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The Constitution Will Hold

BMy late friend Mona was not a fan of Donald Trump. But she was a huge fan of the United States Constitution, and in my moments of greatest despair over what was happening in the country during the first two years of Trump's Presidency, she would stoutly proclaim that no matter what Trump did, "The Constitution will hold." More than once I pointed out to her that the Constitution is merely words on paper and those words are only as good as the people who swear to uphold them. Some people are truly struck by the gravity of placing their hand on a religious tome and taking an oath. But the truth is that some people count oath-taking as frivolous, merely a few phrases "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

What we've seen since January 2017 is the slow but steady deterioration of those elements that made America a decent country. Note that I don't say a great country because it's my personal belief that America has never been a great country although it could have been and it could still be. Aside from the awesome, incredible, and heroic sacrifices made by young men and women during the liberation of Europe from the Nazis and during the war in the Pacific, I believe there are more moments of disappointment and despair, cruelty and ugliness, gross injustice and indifference than there are moments during which the US has lived up to its potential to be great. Consider, if you will: the genocide committed against Native Americans, the enslavement of African people, the internment of Japanese Americans, the stealing of land from native people, the persecution and impoverishment of freed slaves, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the governmental eyes turned away from their crimes, the bombing of churches going unresolved, the uninvestigated lynching of black men and boys, the denial of voting rights to women and to black people and to Native Americans, the continuation of school shootings encouraged by the governmental refusal to outlaw weapons capable of multiple killings in minutes...The list goes on and, indeed, this list of mine did go on until I figured I'd made my point.

Thus, when Donald Trump chose as his campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," I was one of the people who, frankly, didn't know what the hell he was talking about as it was my belief that America had never been "great" in the first place. It had, however, been largely decent, with the exception of nearly everything done by Dick Cheney and George W Bush and most particularly their blatant lie about "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and their approval--tacit or otherwise--of "enhanced interrogation", a supposedly palatable word for the unpalatable reality, which is torture.

As Americans, we have lost a lot in the past three years and eight months of Donald Trump's presidency. Oh, the well-off haven't lost very much. Neither have the super rich. But the things these two groups have managed to hold onto are mostly associated with money: stock portfolios doing well; bonds earning lots of bucks; 401Ks growing and growing. And these are elements of life in America that have come to equate to improving one's position in society or securing one's future or securing the future of one's children or grandchildren. The transitory nature of them demands not only one's devotion and attention but also one's ability to cling to them in the face of anything that might remove them from one's grasp.

But what gets lost in a person's desire to cling to the transitory is the willingness to dedicate one's life or one's time or even one's brief effort to the intangible.

Patriotism is an example of an intangible. It has several definitions, but the one I prefer is: "Devotion to the welfare of one's country," and for me, welfare is the critical word. It usually means "well-doing or well-being in any respect; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; the exemption from any evil or calamity." So put together we can define a person's patriotism by examining his/her devotion--and perhaps his/her commitment--to the well-doing or the well-being of his/her country; by examining his/her devotion to the country's health and to the equal participation in the common blessings of life; and by his/her devotion to the country's freedom from any evil or calamity that may come to it. With this in mind, I believe we can also say that if a putative leader does not personify the definition of patriotism, that individual is not suitable for election to any office in the government.

If you've received other essays from me, you will not be surprised to know that I do not see Donald Trump as a patriotic individual. You will probably be able to conclude--quite accurately--that I do not see anyone who votes for Donald Trump as a patriotic individual. For Trump has not shown devotion to the well-being of the country, nor has he shown a determination--fierce or otherwise--to prevent evil or calamity in the country. To vote for him means one approves of his actions; it signals to him one's indifference to his lack of patriotism or, perhaps, one's willingness to turn a blind eye to those qualities he possesses which glaringly demonstrate his lack of decency towards his fellows who inhabit this planet with him. To vote for him is to be like him, which is to say to choose self over others. It is to demonstrate a lack of concern for poverty and suffering, an indifference to injustice, and a conclusion that the rule of law is a bagatelle honored only by fools and stooges. To vote for him is to say that equality among people--no matter who they are or where they live or what they believe or whom they love--can and will never supersede raw power. It is to say that the concept of equal treatment under the law is the ever-unfulfilled dream of losers. Indeed, to vote for him is to say that the acquisition of power is the highest achievable good possible and that anything else--from personal sacrifice to moral backbone--is a sign of weakness and lack of character.

Let me conclude with this: America has been through terrible times, ugly times, horrific times, inexcusable times. America has had ignoble leaders who have hurt people and have done great wrongs. But America has also stepped up to show the world a core of decency and honor, acting not as a belligerent and bullying superpower but as merely one country among many countries, with leaders whose decency, compassion, and intelligence have been recognized and admired worldwide. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is not a man of decency, compassion, or intelligence. And unless you have lived under a rock since June 2015 or unless you have sat transfixed in front of your television watching Fox News since June 2015 or unless you've been captured by those individuals on social media promulgating conspiracies, you know that what I'm saying about Trump is the absolute truth. You know it because you've seen it in his actions. You've heard it in his words. And you're left with a decision about what you want to see and experience in the next four years.

Most of you have already voted. I myself voted the day after I received my mail-in ballot. But the attempt to put the United States back where it once was--a leader among nations--does not end with the words, "Hey, I voted." So I'm asking you to forward this to anyone you may know who lives in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. For voting is not just a right and a privilege. Voting is a duty. And in this particular election, voting is the only way people can show the government in which direction it ought to be heading.

Thanks for reading these essays. Thanks even more for passing them on.

Elizabeth George


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