Thursday, May 4, 2017
"Shining City" a Little More Dim Tonight
The United States House just threw some 24 million Americans off the bus and left them behind without health insurance and then celebrated with the President on the South Lawn like giddy teenagers. They did it without truly understanding the bill or without truly understanding a cost. They did it over the majority of Americans saying do something else.
But that was only one thing that happened today.
In a signing ceremony, President Donald Trump signed a RFRA-like executive order surrounded by religious leaders and next to an adoring Mike Pence who essentially tried this same crap in Indiana. Thankfully, it seems a little toothless per the ACLU.
As I think about these two events, I get madder and madder and madder. I feel as if this isn't some attempt at making better policy. It just feels like it's an attempt to further divide us based on our politics. It's more about wiping out every vestige of President Obama's eight years in office not because what he did was wrong but just because Republicans think they can.
I am also struck by the great song "America" by Neil Diamond, a somewhat schmaltzy 1980's era song from a largely forgotten film called the Jazz Singer. The song's lyrics talk about huddling together on boats, planes, and trains to be free in a new country. It's a dream so many Americans who once called another land home can relate to now as they have begun that new life here.
We used to be that "shining city on the hill" that Ronald Reagan talked about.
Sadly, I can't help but feel that our shine is a little dimmer tonight. Our way is a little more muddled, and I can't help but shed a little tear for what we have become and for what the rest of the world must think of us.
Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud to be an American. I'm very proud, and I understand what it means. I understand that in other countries that I could be imprisoned for being gay or be thrown in some Gulag-like work camp for opposing the government. I understand that as an agnostic, I could be persecuted or murdered. I understand that my status as an American citizen gets me in most countries around the world and that our society has advanced to the point that my water comes from a faucet and my food is plentiful. I get it. I'm very blessed to be an American. I'm very thankful for all those that have died to make my life as free as it is today.
It's that pride and that thankfulness that makes me sad tonight. I fear that other Americans or other folks may not have that same experience. Unfortunately, we have a party and a President in power that doesn't seem to care about this,