Essay Non-Fiction posted February 8, 2020

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A simple act of subjugation

The Making of Caesar

by Marisa3

"An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man" Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quote is an excerpt from an essay Emerson wrote on "Self-Reliance". What he meant by this, is that organizations are shaped by one person.

Given the political environment of today, I would apply this definition to the current presidency. The argument that no one person or persons can completely control/shape the power of government has been nullified by this administration or more to the point by Donald Trump. Through the voluntary submission of authority by those in congress, i.e. the Senate Republicans, this president has been given carte blanche to do as he pleases. By virtue of their complete subjugation to this man they are subverting our constitution and contributing to the demise of our democracy. Trust me when I say that this is an ongoing reality. It is not high drama or hyperbole. Take a look around you at the existing atmosphere of hate, fear mongering and complete lack of empathy for fellow human beings. The entire toxic cloud of homophobia, xenophobia and racism is being perpetrated out of the highest office in the land. It is giving voice to those in the extreme camp and emboldening them to spew their hate speech in a public forum.

To quote Dickens ... "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness ...."

In these supposed enlightened times, we have, as a country, fallen prey to our own worst selves; the darkest part of human nature has surfaced and has a stranglehold on our society. Greed and corruption abound in the halls of government and no one is willing to step up and speak truth to power, which has always been what we as Americans have prided ourselves in doing.

As Emerson further states we must avoid "the smooth mediocrity and squalid contentment of the times." I believe it goes much deeper than just being content with the status quo, we are allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by fear. Trump preys on our worst nightmares and twists them to his favor. He has a cult-like following, but they are far from a majority of the American people. They are just the loudest ones in the room.

In order to take our country back we must be willing to take a stand and speak out against the injustice that is permeating our government and threatening our way of life.

Presently, we are dealing with a group of politicians that have forgotten why they were elected. They have lost all sense of direction and are blindly following an amoral, self-serving individual to the peril of all Americans. Their silence and complacency is nothing short of treasonous. This was borne out in the side show we just witnessed in the senate known as the trial of the president. It was a kangaroo court and the senate republicans were the court jesters.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." MLK

In wanting and expecting our leaders to be great, we have simply made it impossible for them to be good.The one element that should prevail above all is our ability to implore reason at the voting booth. This is the one powerful collective voice we have. Not being wooed by bravado or overcome by words of fear and dread, but seeking middle ground and the voice of reason and one who is open to bringing people together. Polarization is tearing this country apart and if allowed to continue, it will diminish us as a country and a people. We will be viewing American greatness in the rearview mirror.

The fundamental tenants of our democracy are still in place, we just need to make the necessary corrections to our current political crisis. There needs to be fundamental change in the presidency. We also need to elect members of congress that are not owned by corporate money and that will be there to do the bidding of their constituency.

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." MLK

If we want unity to prevail in our country once again, then we must come together for the common good. As John McCain once said when he was attacked for being the voice of compromise ...

"You're damn right, I'm a champion of compromise in the governance of a country of 325 million opinionated, quarrelsome, vociferous souls. There is no other way to govern an open society, or more precisely, to govern it effectively."

In this age of "tribal" politics and extremist ideology where there is simply no one who will speak up against outrageous and destructive political policies, we need more politicians like McCain; those that will go against the tide if necessary; doing what needs to be done and not allowing what others think to guide them.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK

The silence in the halls of government is earsplitting and it will remain so until we as a people come together and demand that balance be restored; that our needs be placed above those who are there to serve us.

We are in desperate need of a governing body that has the best interest of the American people at the forefront of its agenda. Those elected to govern need to have the strength of character to enable them to speak up when the ship of state is veering off course. Currently, this ship is about to run aground. In a two party system, we have one party that has gone completely off the rails. The other party has a faction that is trying to overcorrect. We need to come to the center and allow reason to prevail. Our way of life, our way of conducting ourselves in the world is being threatened from within. We must wake up and pull our heads out of the sand. If we continue down the destructive path we are on, one day we will wake up and find that we are no longer a democracy. Compromising for the greater good does not mean compromising ones core values. It is understanding that progress is made through give and take. No one gets all of the pie. This has led to our success in the past and it is a recipe for our continued success going forward.
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