I Believe

Oct 31, 2018

To the Editor:

I believe the 2018 midterm election on Nov. 6 is a referendum on Donald Trump and MAGA politics. I also believe the fate of the republic, American democracy, hangs by a thread in the balance.

I believe the current Republican Congress has prostituted itself to Donald Trump’s whim. It has lost its way and now plays a bit part, a minor supporting role, in his theater of the absurd.

I believe the current Democratic Congress is anger-avoidant. It wants to be liked too much. It stands impotently by while the mad king spins his narrative. Democrats fail to understand they carry a more interesting, more thrilling, more accurate narrative in their own back pocket. 

I believe the fourth estate, the free press, has been undermined by modernity.

Donald Trump creates news at the speed of light, bypassing all editorial filters. The proliferation of multimedia outlets, the multiplication of narrative voices, and the expectation of Americans that they be entertained by the news have diluted the “power of the press.” These days, it’s hard to say who is wagging the dog, the press or the president.

I believe the American people, you and I, when we are not working like dogs to earn a living, wish to “work out,” “veg out” and  “check out.” Most of us have the attention span of a 2-year-old. We are in information overload, and it doesn’t help that the incessant news arriving on our cell phones is nearly always bad and scary. By scary, I mean life threatening.

Many of us watched the Twin Towers slide into a hole in the ground in real time. Our eyes and ears are assaulted daily by sounds and images of mano-a-mano violence: the world’s children being bombed to bits and our own children massacred in their classrooms with military assault rifles. As if this were not enough, we have to watch the ice caps melt and feel the planet change under our feet.

The world we live in is mad, chaotic and dangerous. Our political leaders are as confused and stressed as we are; the only thing they know to do is spew vitriol across the aisle while Rome burns.

I believe America needs to calm down. I believe I need to calm down. I want us to take a deep breath and get back to basics. Recommit ourselves to the enlightenment principles upon which America was founded. It’s easy. Voting is an either-or, binary choice.

Either it is better to live in a democracy than an autocracy, or it is not.

Either it is better to live believing “all men are created equal,” or it is not. Either it is better to work toward “justice for all,” or it is not. Either it is better to rely on reason and empirical testing of ideas (science) than superstition, or it is not. Either America is a Shining City on a Hill, a refuge of freedom, or it is not.

Up or down the ballot, whether voting for dogcatcher, mayor, congressional representative or senator, the choice is the same. It’s either-or.

Don’t forget to vote!

Susan Cummings

West Creek

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