If you are not scared these days, perhaps you should be. Our President has engaged in a childish name calling game with the leader of another nation that has nuclear power capable of being delivered at least as far as Japan. Pelosi, the Democrats’ minority leader, thinks that her career and that of her party’s leadership were saved by Trump because he deigned to meet with them at the White House. Republicans had 7 years to design a get-well card for America and yet there is no delivery of effective changes to our health care system. Russian contacts are looking more and more like they’ve influenced our 2016 election and may still be manipulating our political system. President Trump just cannot decide whether he likes white supremacist demonstrators or not, even if they are Nazis and weirdos.
Around the world, journalists are being slaughtered. Aung San Suu Kyi has turned into stone on the way to Rangoon doing very little in the face of the systematic purge of the Rohingya their homes in Burma. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt cannot imprison enough dissidents and the same suppression is ascendant in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In Turkey the death of two Syrian activists, Orouba and Halla Barakat, adds to a prevailing environment of political authoritarianism there. Iran continues to keep innocent people in jail. Corruption in South Africa is selling the legacy of the great Mandela. Rape in the Congo is so egregious it is hard to talk about. Mexico and Honduras are under the power of the drug cartels and thousands die there because of that. Refugees are floating, and sometimes sinking, in overcrowded boats all over the Mediterranean. It feels like an ominous time.
Gandhi once said that revolution begins with oneself. My guess is that we need his sort of wisdom, considering the feeling that things in this world seem to be spiraling out of control. While I have no major thoughts like an Oprah or a Dr. Phil, I do believe that it is time for us to see friends. It is time for us to seek new friends. It is time to speak to anyone about the problems we see in the world and then, just as importantly, listen as best we can. It is not a panic time, but rather a time that demands a focus to eventually correct the mess that we are in. Anger and mean-spiritedness will not correct what ails this time.
A few suggestions for the American government might work towards this end. How about sending a high-level diplomatic delegation to North Korea? How about the leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties going to Camp David and not returning until we have some serious health care solutions for those who are sick? And maybe a joint reaction to climate change? Why not think big? We seem to have settled for doing small things and that approach is very much wanting.
For each of us as individual, how about compassion and decency to everyone as best you can for a while. Settle a relationship that just needs more directness and less anger? Parents to study with their children daily? Find a way to make new friends across any line you have not been in. Each one of us must register to vote and check with one another until the voting participation rate in America is above 75%.
This all might sound Pollyannaish and stupid; but, to me, all I see is lots of scary or demeaning things at work in our society. The negativity is coming at the expense of a nation that knows how to make things work. We do not need to be perfect, just better. Give it a shot. The Republic needs help from each of us.