Even as I slip on my brand new “Impeach 45” t-shirt, I feel prompted to use this time to remind and assure everyone that we will be okay. America will endure well because it was constructed to endure well. Our dead white fathers were many things but, above all, they understood human nature and built a nation that could withstand tremendous shocks to its system and could repair damages in due time.
My “Impeach 45” shirt displays my concern that Trump threatens systemic elements of our constitutional republic and democratic processes. That is it. Wanting him out of office has little to do with his often-insane level of ignorance about freedom. Americans have survived a whole bunch of leaders who fit that category. The real concern is threats to freedom’s support system.
Not since the Civil War has America witnessed a Trumpian level of threat inside our government. And yet, we have endured much greater hardships as a nation.
The American Revolution was not a sure thing. Our founding rested on the backs of a handful of leaders against overwhelming odds. America truly is a miracle in that sense. The Civil War redeemed the blood of earlier patriots. It was necessary. The divide threatened our system of government. If divisions rested upon disagreements alone, there would have been no war. At stake was the nation itself.
Six hundred and twenty thousand people lost their lives in our Civil War – half of all American war deaths since then. World War I witnessed the deaths of another 116,000 Americans and 18 million people worldwide. It was a world war – everybody was at war.
By 1930, America faced economic collapse. Unemployment today is just under four percent – what most economists consider full employment. That number was 25 percent in 1933. One in four Americans were out of work. On the heels of the Great Depression came another world war – the most tragic results ever felt through war in the modern age. Three percent of the world population died in World War II – 60 million human beings.
Think about that happening today. How would you feel about the state of your life and the world if tomorrow’s news announced 60 million people were just killed in war?
And the crazy just seemed to mount. Less than ten years later, we were back at war and another 33,000 Americans died in Korea. And, even before we could take a breath, more Americans were dying in some place called Vietnam – 58,000 in all. In fact, from our nation’s founding to this day, one and a half million American men and women have lost their lives in war.
Add to war extreme social unrest and the very fabric of America has survived gross injustice after gross injustice. Why do we still even exist? In a span of ten years, we witnessed the assassination of a sitting president, as well as the assassination of our attorney general of the United States and the country’s most beloved civil rights leader – only to be capped by a sitting president resigning office for corruption. As comedian Louis C.K. puts it, the president just got on a helicopter and flew away.
So why are so many Americans today bothered by an incompetent nincompoop in the White House? Yes, he is a liar and man of ill-repute. But he has kept his campaign promises. He has nominated conservative Supreme Court justices. We wanted a tax cut and he gave it to us. We needed regulatory relief, especially in the field of energy, and we got it. Yes, he is rough around the edges and disrespectful of authority, process and tradition. But aren’t these disruptions good for us once in a while? Regardless of who comprises the swamp, it really could use a regular draining.
Why are so many alarm bells going off? If you listened alone to MSNBC and congressional Democrats, you would think the world is about to end. We wring our hands over emails, trade tariffs and the latest person dismissed from the West Wing. All of a sudden the president’s tie is an issue and we wince when he is less than smooth on a teleprompter. Before my elderly dad passed away, the doctor asked him who the current president is. Dad said, “That orange guy! And I love him!”
Maybe one reason we call my dad and his peers the Greatest Generation is because they lived through much tougher times than today and they do not sweat the small stuff.
We will be fine. Meanwhile, I will wear my “Impeach 45” t-shirt with pride because that “orange guy” is still a threat to our freedom.