By WAYNE D. KING, The View from Rattlesnake Ridge
Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together. ~ Eugene Ionesco
There’s a change in the wind here in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge. For months after the 2016 election there was no change in the public polling. Even today, pollsters are still finding the responses from voters reflect little change in the support for the President among his base but they are missing the winds blowing here, that I suspect are blowing in small towns all across America. There is a force beginning to develop that may just bring Americans together after our long winter of discontent.
Among Republicans I sense a newfound respect for the corruption-free presidency of Barack Obama. Among Democrats, a newfound respect for presidents George H.W. Bush – even George W Bush – who believed in the rule of law and appreciated, respected and lived by the norms of Democracy – those unwritten rules by which our laws and our constitution are translated into our American anthem, above the din of partisanship and the divisions of tribalism.
In this shift lay the seeds of hope for our Republic, and for a world that too often, of late, seems to be sinking in a sea of despotism. World leaders inclined toward authoritarianism have been emboldened by a president who has abandoned the traditions exemplified in the past by American moral leadership. A president who telegraphs his approval for those leaders who flout the rule of law and the civil and human rights of their citizen – turning a blind eye to the excesses of nations like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey and Philippines. These countries are only the tip of the iceberg. What lies below the surface are not only other countries taking their lead from Donald Trump’s rhetoric but also those simply taking advantage of the fact that they no longer feel constrained by American leadership.
In 1997 I spent five hours in a Nigerian jail with my team, held at gunpoint by five automatic rifles in the hands of the Nigerian secret police. They arrested us, ostensibly, because one member of my team took a photograph of an old woman selling fruit on a street in Lagos, but we believe it was because we were working with pro-democracy, environmental and healthcare NGOs to bring the Internet to West Africa’s civil society community. Nigeria at the time was living under military dictatorship. Yet, largely because of pressure from the United States within a year Nigeria held elections and a democratic government began a deliberate and steady climb out of the authoritarian darkness.
Within only a few years the corruption, the bribery, the fear had dramatically subsided. However, after nearly two decades of improvement and a growing confidence about the future among the Nigerian people, in the last two years Nigeria has spiraled down at the hands of a president unconstrained by American authority and a State Department crippled by inattention and demoralized by indifference and ignorance. This tragedy has been repeated in countries from Brazil and Nicaragua to Venezuela.
Here at home the walls are closing in on Donald Trump. Most political scientists will tell you that this is likely the most corrupt administration in American history – sadly and finally a real apex achievement for a president so fond of puffing himself up and telling us that one achievement or another is the “biggest, longest, best ever.”
In a previous column I warned that a storm is coming. Weathering that storm will require all hands on deck. Local, state and federal governments and agencies, law enforcement, advocacy groups and most of all citizens will be needed to save the Republic from the excesses of Donald Trump.
If we are strong we will prevail, despite a Senate that still remains in Trump’s corner and is regularly bullied into submission, a House crippled by partisanship and a Supreme Court that remains an enigma. There will be growing calls for impeachment despite this but replacing a tyrant with a sycophant who will likely pardon him is no victory for the Republic. It will only prolong the agony and anguish.
My advice to those who would be inclined toward impeaching the president is this: America’s best hope – Democracy’s best hope – resides in our people and their capacity for knowing in their hearts and in their minds what is best for our country and for our world. We need to have this change brought about in an election. Not in the partisan bickering of a Congress that has lost touch with the people and the times. We need to send a strong and unambiguous message from the people of the United States of America across this land and to the rest of the world. A liberty love letter. A message that this is NOT who we are. That we are taking back our country, warts and all, and committing ourselves to rebuilding by talking with, and listening to, one another as we face the real challenges of building a brighter future and another American Century.
About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor, former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now host of two new Podcasts – The Radical Centrist ( www.theradicalcentrist.us ) and NH Secrets, Legends and Lore (www.nhsecrets.blogspot.com). His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel “Sacred Trust” a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline all available on Amazon.com. He lives in Rumney at the base of Rattlesnake Ridge. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing . You can help spread the word by following and supporting him at www.Patreon.com/