Where Does America Go from Here?

11:30 AM, Saturday, November 7, 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were proclaimed President and Vice-President elect of the United States of America. This election was called a referendum on Donald Trump. Actually, it was a referendum on the values espoused by the Trump administration and its followers vs the values of center left Americans. Even though the center left has won this referendum , we still have to live on this continent with 74 million neighbors who value the love of living neighbors over the love of not yet born fetuses, and 71 million neighbors who value love of the unborn above love of the already born. It is an excruciating dilemma. We still have 71 million neighbors who value owning a gun to defend oneself and one’s family in this jungle of America, and 74 million who refuse to believe that we live in a jungle. We still have 71 million Americans who refuse to wear a mask because it impinges on their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, while 74 million of us are afraid that their neighbors’ freedom not to wear a mask may kill them. So far 235,000 of us have been killed. We still have 71 million neighbors who want a closed wall, while we have 74 million neighbors, all from refugee ancestors, who want a legal path to citizenship for those who humbly beg for assistance.

Last Sunday, Paul Krugman wrote in the NYTimes: “But even with the best will in the world this egg (referring to the MAGA America first and last doctrine) can’t be unscrambled. No matter how good a global citizen America becomes in the next few years, everyone will remember that we are a country that elected someone like Donald Trump, and could do it again. It will take decades, if not generations to regain the lost trust.”

In the same issue of the NYTimes, Marcel Dzarma writes about “When the American Dream Died for Me.” She quotes a dozen or so disillusioned Americans, among whom, one wrote: The American Dream died for me when I realized just how many of my fellow Americans valued selfishness over community, power over justice, prejudice over fairness, greed over generosity, demagogy over science.”

Now, most of the 71 million who voted for Trump will never admit that they consciously subscribe to Trump’s values. But these same people have told us for four years, “Don’t listen to what Trump SAYS, just watch what he DOES.” That is what I am saying here. Trump DOES selfishness, Trump DOES power, Trump DOES prejudice, Trump DOES greed, Trump DOES demagogy. These are the true values that the 71 million who voted for him are espousing by the ACT of voting for Trump.

I now invite the 71 million followers of what Trump DOES, to point out where my values are wrong. If we can begin to talk about these values with respect for each other, then maybe we can begin to live like family on this continent.

See you at virtual Thanksgiving. We are being asked to love one another. This is the hardest thing we have ever been asked to do. Let’s pray Biden/Harris can pull it off.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tim Flood

    Sal, You write:
    “I now invite the 71 million followers of what Trump DOES, to point out where my values are wrong. ”

    I’m thinking that we need to work on the invitation.‘Tell me I’m wrong’…? A bit aggressive. My struggle is that I don’t want to understand ‘them,’ or worse, am convinced I already do.

    Re my conservative (I want to say flat-world) sister, a story: when I asked her why she was so impassioned about a big bad government issue x, she could not or would not answer, and instead snarled something about how private US charities provide more foreign humanitarian aid than the US government, which A. turns out to be true and B. does not remove my wanting to hear why her emotions were so high, AND why she would not address that. I think… conservatives have no hope in communicating w liberals whom they consider to be judgmental and hostile who presume they own the moral high ground… and as a result are so angry and hurt by that that they cannot, will not speak their hearts. Let’s start somewhere like this?


  2. Tim Flood

    Tim, I honestly appreciate your suggestion: “conservatives have no hope in communicating w liberals whom they consider to be judgmental and hostile who presume they own the moral high ground…” This is true.
    But I have agonized on these values for over 80 years, and am convinced that I am on the right side. I used to give a workshop/retreat on values: 1. What values would you die for? 2. What values do you hold that you would not die for, but would proclaim to all the world with all your might? 3. What values do you hold, but would not proclaim publicly, but only to your circle of intimates? 4. What values do you hold privately, but would not tell even your best friend or partner?
    A couple of years ago, Scorsese’s film “The Silence”, based on the best Japanese novel of the 20th century, portrayed the dilemma of Jesuit priests in the 1600’s asked to step on the image of Jesus Christ and leave the Church, or die.
    If ever we were to have a national dialogue on values, what would Americans be ready to die for?

    Sal Umana

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