Related: Political Issues, Politics, Social Issues, Social Justice Issues

This is NOT us. NOT the U.S.

 
 

President Trump speaking at police rally(screenshot from video of speech)

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

In a speech to a group of police officers on Long Island on Friday (photo above), the president of the United States said it was ok for police to rough-up suspects.  “Please don’t be too nice,” he said as he urged police to throw suspects roughly into the back of the paddy wagon and to stop protecting the heads of suspects getting into police cars.  Police departments from Suffolk County to those across the nation and even around the world have responded quickly and firmly:  police do NOT rough-up suspects; police receive training in handling suspects and treating the accused with respect and care is a fundamental expectation of civil and human rights.

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

In that same Long Island speech, the president of the United States repeated an ugly, vicious trope he used earlier in the week in a campaign-style speech in Youngstown, Ohio, in which he ranted that undocumented immigrants are “animals.”  The president’s unhinged rhetoric would be shocking but for the fact that we seem to be growing numb to the utterly inhumane, degrading, truly appalling words that come out of the White House with increasing frequency.  And these statements did not even make headlines because of so many other chaotic distractions emanating from the most powerful man in the free world.

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

Boy Scout Jamboree(Boy Scout Jamboree photo credit)

The night before the Youngstown speech, the president of the United States gave a speech to the annual Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.  Before tens of thousands of boys and troop leaders, the president gave a stunningly inappropriate performance, telling a crude story about a rich guy and a yacht, trashing his predecessor, using language that had no place in that setting.  The speech was so bad that the CEO of the Boy Scouts had to apologize for what the president said.

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

Sometime during the week, early on a morning — it’s hard to remember which day, there’s so much utter dreck — the president of the United States once again took to Twitter to make a shockingly inappropriate statement, this time proclaiming that transgender individuals may no longer serve our country.  Whatever political or moral views a person may have of the very complex issues surrounding sexual identity, the president’s tweets violated some very fundamental rules.  First, the Commander in Chief cannot give orders by tweet, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made clear.  Second, persons who have devoted their lives in service to our country deserve respect and honor, not trashing and dismissal.  Third, the president’s motivation was a “snap decision” rooted in political desire to secure funding for the border wall — he was trying to win conservative votes for the military budget bill that includes the wall.  But his intemperate early morning tweet took the Pentagon and his party by complete surprise, touched off a firestorm and generated remarkable pushback.

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

Even as the president of the United States was ranting about animals and the sex lives of moguls and trashing his attorney general, among many other distractions last week, his brand new chief of White House communications aka “the Mooch” gave a completely unprintable interview to the New Yorker in which, among many mind-bendingly awful things, he threatened to fire and even kill every single person reporting to him.  Profanity aside, every employer and labor advocate in the country had to find the statements appalling — the simple words “hostile work environment” came to mind immediately.

This is not us.  This is not the U.S.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance for millions of Americans survived one of the most bizarre, unconscionable and utterly corrupt displays of manipulation of legislative processes anyone has ever seen.  Ultimately, the Senate Majority Leader’s cynical and debased methodology for trying to repeal the ACA failed thanks to two very brave women — Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — and the final act of a true American heron Senator John McCain.  But none of that drama should have happened.  The utter disrespect for the rule of law perpetrated by the very people responsible to uphold the law revealed a level of political treachery and corruption that threatens to wreck not only our government but our way of life as a free people.

This is not us.  This is NOT THE U.S.

I could go on.  The current situation is unsustainable.  Regardless of political party or voting preference, every single American has to be alarmed and preparing to take whatever action is necessary to restore a sense of balance, common sense, fairness and fundamental respect for humanity and respectful processes to our national political leadership and system of federal governance.  We must demand an end to the racism, attacks on immigrants, homophobia, wanton rejection of concern for the poor and displaced, self-dealing and corrupt abuses of power.

The list above is just skimming events of the last week.  The actual list of abuses of power and attacks on human beings is much, much longer.  Every day, it seems, the president and his staff find a new way to insult and attack another whole group of people.  It’s a weird way of governing, to attack the very people whose interests your oath of office says you must protect.  Their language is crude, demeaning, threatening, an affront to human dignity.  A president and administration that pretends to embrace conservative religious values reveals a profound amorality on the most fundamental moral values of respect for human life across the lifespan.

This IS us:

Placard at women's march We Too Sing America(Women’s March January 2017)

Americans cannot continue to remain silent for much longer.  What’s at stake is not just the still-vague threat of some Russian takeover, alarming though that seems.  What’s at stake is not just the way our country will respond to the real threat that North Korea is posing.  What’s at stake is not just the way we address the ongoing and likely chronic presence of terrorism and crime in human society, it’s a problem we must deal with all the time, and we must deal with it firmly, sanely and without sacrificing all of our other values.

But what’s really at stake is who we are as a people — what’s a stake right now our OUR values, OUR sense of morality and humane treatment of others.  What’s at stake is not a threat from without but a rot from within, the creeping concession to the corrupt rhetoric and scare tactics of an amoral regime that seems to have no grounding whatsoever in any fundamental principles of governance in a free society.

What’s at stake is the entire premise of “We, the People” coming together to “form a more perfect union.”  What’s at stake is justice for all, the blessings of liberty, and the life our children and their children will enjoy in the future.

We, the People — we must take up our inherent power and confront the sickness that is making all of us exhausted.

This IS us.  This IS the U.S.  We must reclaim our national soul.

Placard at women's march statue of liberty(poster from Women’s March January 2017)

Let Freedom Ring!

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8 Responses to This is NOT us. NOT the U.S.

  1. ROSEMARY Pezzuto says:

    I am in total agreement Pat McGuire. We need all Notre Dame we Namur alums in dc to gather and have our voices hearx

  2. Lori Shpunt, Trinity '69 says:

    Excellent analysis of the terrifying and inhumane reality that this president has created. We must reclaim our country and all that it has stood for in the past.

  3. Lori Shpunt, Trinity '69 says:

    Excellent analysis of the terror that is the current presidency and what must be done to reclaim our identity and our country.

  4. Luanne Ricozzi Stevenson says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting all of my feelings into words. Trinity and what it stands for makes me proud. Never back down, never give up. Resist and persist!

  5. Lee McNally says:

    Thank you for channeling your outrage in such an intelligent argument that expresses so well what so many of us feel. We are indeed better than this. Lee McNally ’81

  6. Gretchen McMullen says:

    Thank you for this eloquent statement of our current situation. I agree wholeheartedly. Gretchen McMullen Trinity Class of ’84

  7. Brenda Daley Carr says:

    Thank you for speaking out, President McGuire.

  8. Ann Howard says:

    Brava! It was an outrageous week in politics; summarized so well here. What will this week bring?

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: president@trinitydc.edu