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Make America Grate Again

by Confluence
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By: Lee Eiden, “Musing from Two Miles Outside the Capital Beltway”

I just can’t believe it!

Comrade Trump has perfected his reality television role as “The Manchurian Candidate.” The Gilded American Marionette dances for the Russian Bear in a pas de deux with strains of Haydn (another supreme leader’s favorite composer) in the background.’ His facile diplomatic style to place American Intelligence assessments on a par with the FSB and SVR is beyond alarming.

Although I grew up in Washington, DC (Anacostia SE) in the 1950’s, my family is from Scranton, PA, one of the Nation’s hardscrabble bedrock (actually anthracite coal) cities. One grandfather was a boiler inspector on steam locomotives and the other was an electrician.  Their bedrock were my grandmothers, both very strong ladies, who were able to scratch out a home during difficult times asking for little and providing much.

My forbearers went to war, worked hard, went to church, enjoyed sports, and raised families with a no-nonsense and loving approach. They didn’t expect much; but they did expect that their President would support their country.

So do I.

I’m an independent kind of person.  Disliking and liking the Democrats and Republicans in pretty much equal measure. It wasn’t always this way. I am a child of the 1960’s. My real political awareness came from John F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. His Inaugural address caused my soul to soar with a focus on following and studying politics.

I loved it! I loved the mellifluous tones of Republican Senator Dirksen from Illinois, the nasal pronunciations of Democratic Speaker McCormack and the vowel lovers from the South.  Most of all, I loved it when they worked together to accomplish goals – sometimes imperfect; but, with a sense of “Excelsior – onward and upward.”  Back then, we didn’t have cable news to examine the ancestral crimes of each living cell; but we had the same expectation as my grandparents; and, one of those bedrock expectations was that the President was our leader who first and foremost would always support our country.

Now, I have watched an American President stand next to a Russian President and shilly-shally about the role the Russian intelligence services in the most recent American Presidential election.

It just grates on me.

Many in my family supported Donald Trump in the last election.  Generally, most of my lineage is a more conservative group.  I tend to be socially liberal, fiscally conservative with a strong inclination to steady towards the reasonable.  There is one major, major caveat; my heart and soul are wedded to democracy.  A child of the 1960’s, who went to college, got a degree in Government and worked in the federal government for 35 years.  I was heart-broken when Jimmy Carter changed the name of the U.S. Civil Service Commission to the Office of Personnel Management. Work was all about providing “civil” “service.”  It was personal to me. I believed, no believe, as Abraham Lincoln spoke during the Gettysburg Address, that Americans have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people…”. 

Now in light of current events, I wonder if the last portion of Lincoln’s quote will sustain… “shall not perish from the Earth.”

I’m worried.

If you have ever been to Washington, DC, you might know that the U.S. National Archives, the home of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are just off the Mall.  I worked just across the Mall from this national treasure and for many years made an annual pilgrimage to view these two documents just before July 4th.  This year, just prior to this holiday, I purchased a dozen copies of these charters and distributed them to visiting family members.  We need to embrace our collective soul, particularly when pulled apart by visceral inclinations.

Like many other folks, I have become disgusted with our politicians.  I have NEVER become disgusted with my fellow Americans.  For several years during my career, I was required to do a lot of traveling visiting forty-nine (49) of the fifty (50) States [sorry Utah].  I met folks who truly inspired me. They are hard working, love their country, kin, and neighbors; but today there seem to be distractions.

An aging population sometimes appears more focused on 401-Ks than their Constitution.  Millennials know more about ‘Apps’ than Civics.  The Democratic Party is a cacophony – a symphony in search of a conductor, a score and instruments with the collective backbone of a planaria. The Republican Party requires a Webster’s Dictionary to understand the word “compromise,” focusing little on legislation while maintaining a laser-focus on the Supreme Court.  The Executive Branch can take a lesson in dignity from the original ‘Man Who Could Be King” George Washington instead of the ‘Man Who Would Be King.”  I just prefer a Washington ‘peruke’ to a Trump ‘pique.’

Before the 2016 Presidential election, candidate Trump promoted his slogan to “Make America Great Again.”  His current demeanor of insulting individuals, alienating allies; and, supplicating himself to outlandish strongmen makes me rethink his slogan as “Make America Grate Again.”  For a man who never met an adverb he doesn’t adore, I “strongly” recommend this change.

I put my faith in our democratic ideals and the vast bedrock population across this country.  There is much to do in this experiment we call “democracy,” then again “democracy” isn’t for the faint of heart, just visit Arlington Cemetery.



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