My Turn

Opinion: The disunited states of insanity

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Last fall we elected America’s first clearly insane President. Nixon was a scoundrel and a crook, but at least he was sane. At the very least, Trump suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, and he has undergone several bankruptcies during his business career. He plays fast and loose with the truth, and he contradicts himself on a daily basis. What does this say about our nation?

And, with the Republicans in charge of the Senate and House and five Supreme Court justices ready to support anything they pass, our constitutional democracy is in deep, deep trouble. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, led the charge to repeal Obamacare which provides health care to thousands of his fellow Kentuckians and to millions more across the country. Amazingly, he turned his back on his fellow citizens. Thankfully, so far his efforts to overturn Obamacare have failed.

In many ways our country functions as 50 separate states rather than as one united country. There are huge differences among the states in terms of average income, average wealth, and attitudes on a wide variety of social issues. We are not like many European countries where the populations are far more homogeneous than ours. With the notable exception of Native Americans, we are an immigrant nation. And, the idea that we are a “melting pot” is much more myth than reality. The sad truth is our history shows that the dominant white majority has discriminated against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and people of the Islamic faith for a long time.

For example, we have “ghettoized” blacks in many of our cities so they live in sub-standard housing and their children are provided with inferior schools. With no prospects of getting a job that pays a living wage, no wonder so many young black men resort to selling drugs. Then they are arrested and sent to prison with extremely long sentences.

We have 800 military bases around the world. Exactly who are we defending ourselves from? We have the world’s most expensive military while the quality of our educational and health care systems lag far behind many nations far less wealthy tha ourselves.

And, it seems likely that our current Supreme Court may accept a case that will allow them to overturn Roe v. Wade which guarantees women access to a legal abortion.

Trump played on racial and ethnic fears and hatred to win over many white voters and the election. Fear of the “other” is sadly alive and well in our country today. Trump and the Republican Congress are not interested in equal justice for all and equal opportunity for all. So far, the fear mongering has worked and our country is paying a terrible price. Witness the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia where white supremacists and neo-Nazis boldly paraded through the town.

Are you worried that an insane person has his finger on the red button and is itching to use nuclear weapons? North Korea may be a likely target.

Trump and his cronies are systematically disabling long established and vital departments in the federal government such as the EPA, the Department of Education, and the Department of Energy. Thousands of federal employees have been dismissed. He fired the Secretary of Energy and replaced him with Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas, who knows nothing about energy policy. Only the millionaires and billionaires will benefit through massive tax breaks Trump is planning to give them.

Germany in the 1930s elected a clearly insane leader named Adolf Hitler, and we know how well that turned out! War is a great way to distract the citizenry from the troubles at home.

The question is, can Trump and his Congressional cronies be stopped before it is too late? What we really need is a serious citizens’ revolt, but we are apparently too disunited as a nation to take such needed collective action.

Ferguson is a resident of Taos.

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