Unfollow The Leader (2017May19)


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Friday, May 19, 2017                                               8:01 PM

Oh how the proud are humbled—our president has prompted the world to baby-proof their embassies prior to Trump’s arrival—short sentences, plenty of calm—and that is not the usual prep for a visit from (whom we can hardly any longer call) the ‘leader of the free world’. Because America’s preeminence has never stemmed from its military or wealth—in fact, those things cause more trouble than they’re worth, often as not—but from our dedication, to a citizen, to the founding principles of this place.

The rest of the world is not all bad—but it’s not all good either—and for a long time, America was the best place to be. Other countries didn’t care about our tanks and planes, or our banks and factories—that stuff, quite frankly, fits into whatever culture it finds itself in—and eventually gets warped in the same way, making things worse instead of better.

No—people wanted to come here—to live as free people. And most of them were not being oppressed by their laws—they did not suffer for a lack of our Constitution—they suffered from their friends and neighbors—even their families—deciding what their lives would be, what work they would do, who they would marry, how they could live their lives. Most foreigners want to come to America for the same reason young people want to leave home—they want to live their own lives.

The Melting Pot took them all in (I should say took us all in—my grandparents were Irish and English). Making a living isn’t any easier here—in some ways, it can be more difficult—still, what you do with the rest of your life is entirely up to you. That’s freedom with meaning.

But an important part of that freedom is not giving other people grief over their choices—that’s just being a dick. Don’t start none—won’t be none. You can’t claim freedom for yourself and take it from someone else. It doesn’t work that way—that’s like stealing. Freedom doesn’t just enable us to respect each other—it demands that we respect each other—or it isn’t real freedom.

That is why freedom of religion is the bedrock of America—and free speech a close second. We cannot hold each other captive to dogma or censorship. An American can walk away from his family, his faith, and his hometown—not many do, but the choice is there—no one is classified by birth in America.

That is why racism is so divisive—some of us are raised with a hate that is born of old tradition—and some of us are raised to despise racism for the betrayal of America that it represents—and we will never agree to disagree, because hate is not something a person can just ignore—and it becomes a source of injustice and misery.

People talk about the history of the Old South, the Confederacy—I say Fuck that shit. We used to be a British Colony, too—but you don’t see a bunch of New York yahoos, proud of their Tory heritage, yearning to be back as part of Great Britain. How stupid are these people? And to link it with racism—as a cultural touchstone? Fuck me, but there’s more stupid in the world than I can deal with.

Pardon the digression—the idea of bigotry makes me ill. Where was I? Oh yes—the rest of the world looked up to America as a better place to live—a better place for their children.

But now we have a president who doesn’t respect America. He hasn’t studied—he’s been too busy making deals, cutting corners, wheeling and dealing—he doesn’t really even know what the presidency of America is, beyond it being the ‘prize’ at the end of the election.

We have a president who dismisses our sacred vow of religious freedom. We have a president who questions the value of free speech—and of transparency. People can stay in whatever hell-hole they’re already in, and get the same lies, corruption, and incompetence as are presently on offer in the Great United States—land of the free—for now, at least.

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