On Being Safe In America

So much for making America great again.

For all of the bravado, all of the acclamations on how policies being enacted by the new administration will keep Americans safe, the truth is, fewer and fewer people in America are safe, be they citizen or not. Surely, the alienation of our allies, and the agitation of our enemies, does not make for a good, safe feeling.

It feels like, as former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev said, “the world is being made ready for war.” There is no comfort in the world order; it feels like all we have known as the world order is being destroyed before our very eyes. The thought of a war between this country and any of its enemies, who have itched to get at us for a very long time, is daunting.

The lack of safety resides within our own government as well. Many are having less and less confidence in our democracy; Steve Bannon said this week that the administration is engaged in deconstructing the administrative state. What does that mean, exactly? Who benefits from it? And who gets cut off at the knees if and when regulations put in place to help the masses are done away with? Bannon said that agency secretaries were put in place to destroy those agencies.

It feels like the American people are being put before a political firing squad in the middle of a field where there is no place to hide, no place to seek protection.

We used to have some comfort in the American government structure. The three branches of government were put in place by the Founding Fathers to make sure there was no absolute power…but the Republicans now control all three branches of government, so there is no protection there. We cannot depend on a Congress to rein in the antics of the president; the Congress has been, for the most part, cowardly and quiet as they have let this president run roughshod over basic American democratic principles. They will not fight him or challenge him; they are closing their eyes to the Russia/America arrangement that obviously has some troubling truth to it. They, Conservatives, who were thought to be patriots, are silent.

There is no protection there.

Illegal and legal immigrants are afraid. Black people are afraid. Muslims are afraid. Members of the LGBTQ community are afraid. Public school teachers and administrators are afraid. Environmentalists are afraid. People with serious health challenges are afraid they will lose their health care. The Congress will not say anything, will not step up. Many of them are running from town hall meetings. The son of the late Muhammed Ali was stopped and detained at a Florida airport because officials had problems with his name. They were told he was the son of the late great athlete; his mother, with him at the time and detained until she showed the agents a picture of herself and Ali, could not vouch for her son. They kept him for two hours. And no Congress person has said anything about it.

Who is safe here anymore? Our principles are not safe. Broad swaths of American citizens are not safe. Honor and truth are not safe. The press is not safe. The Constitution is not safe. Our government as we have known it is being dismantled, one step at a time, and there are no people in power who are willing to fight for it.

So much for making America great again.