Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A world turned upside down: the United States

I'm 72 years old and I never expected to see such radical--or is it reactionary?--changes in my lifetime.  But the incredible changes that I've seen in my own country since roughly the beginning of Donald Trump's first presidential campaign have been shocking and disheartening, to say the least.

First and foremost, our would-be emperor won the 2016 presidential election by using the classic divide-and-conquer tactic:  Instead of trying to help heal our wounds and bring us together as Americans, he tore off every bandage and reveled in--and profited from--the resultant infection.  Now we can hate anyone we want, and we can say so in public, without worrying about "how it looks."  When I was a kid, my parents threatened to wash my mouth out with soap if I ever used "the N word."  These days, there's a large chunk of the country that doesn't give a d@mn.  When did diversity become a dirty word?

Second, our would-be emperor tried to destroy the republic from the inside out, quite literally--he made it his personal campaign to dismantle the U.S. Federal government.  Hundreds of hard-working public servants were driven out of the government, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and were deliberately replaced by people who either had little or no knowledge or experience regarding, or were openly hostile to, the department or agency that they were appointed to lead.  I never expected the federal civil service to be treated as if federal employees were personally responsible for trying to ruin the country instead of trying to ensure that it worked.   Full disclosure:  Both my late father and my husband spent decades as federal employees, so I take this insult rather personally.

Third, our would-be emperor took what should have been a completely apolitical subject--science--and weaponized it.  As a result, thousands of people have died unnecessarily because the mere wearing of a face-mask during an air-born pandemic became a loyalty test, and a large swath of this country believes that climate change is "fake news."   Next thing you know, they'll declare Galileo a heretic all over again.  :(

(For better and/or for worse, I can't hold Trump entirely responsible for this country's seeming inability to legislate gun control.  Unfortunately, the U.S. has had an open season for human-hunting for years, as tragically demonstrated by the recent mass murders in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado.)

Trump may be gone, but the poison he laid is still killing this country.  Hatred, distrust of government, and disbelief in science will be here for years to come.

And this is the world that I have to live in during my later years.

Next up:  A world turned upside down:  Zionism


Anonymous Kid Charlemagne said...

is America turning upside down?

two recent books I found quite interesting by Kurt Andersen

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (2017)

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America (2020)

Fri Mar 26, 09:19:00 AM 2021  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

My 4-semester Context course at JTS ends this month. The class has been fascinating, but I, personally, have found the reading assignments--usually at least 50 pages a week--a bit much. (One major thing that was confirmed by this course is my sense that I am *not* a scholar. Not for nothing I've always said that I wanted to go to *cantorial* school, not rabbinical school! Scholarship is more my husband's thing than mine--he loves to study, but my eyes glaze over after a while.) By May, I'll be free to read whatever I jolly well please. So thanks for the book recommendations.

Thu Apr 01, 12:04:00 PM 2021  

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