During the Viet Nam messes in the 60s and early 70s, America was torn apart by the disagreements over our involvement in that civil war. It became more clear every year that the war was pointless, unwinnable, and terribly costly.
Nonetheless, conservatives tended to think we should fight and die there because the president said so. It was considered disloyal to protest against the war. One popular bumper sticker in those days was, “My Country, Right or Wrong.”
To my shame, I admit I lacked the courage to take a stand one way or the other in those days but even then I knew there was something awfully wrong with that bumper sticker. In a democracy, one of the responsibilities of every citizen is to make sure our country is always on the side of the right, the good, and the true. It is against the American spirit to say we value our country more than we value justice. America is valuable precisely because we are a nation founded on ideals, high ideals. To deny those ideals in the name of loyalty is a betrayal of the very meaning of America.
Now, all these years later, I am hearing the same sort of mentality in an even more petty way. Without actually making a bumper sticker (yet), many people seem to be saying, “My Party, Right or Wrong.”
The flaws and shortcomings of Donald Trump are well known. No one actually pretends that he is competent by any measure to be President of the United States. But he sounds roughly conservative and claims to be a Republican. So even those people who have said in the strongest terms that Trump is not even close to being qualified are now joining the bandwagon.
It is not that they have suddenly learned that Trump is a better man than they had first thought. The more we know of him, the more despicable he seems. One recent poll discovered that he is less liked than lice. Isn’t that amazing? He is being supported even by those who know he is no good.
I am dissatisfied with all three candidates, two on the left and one on the right. But this I know, America is in far better shape than the Republicans have admitted for the last seven years. They have been profoundly anti-American in their commitment to making Obama fail, hating him more than they have loved America. Shame, shame, shame on them.
America’s greatest weakness right now is that we have so favored the wealthy that we have allowed them to suck life out of the middle class. Only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren seem to be honest about that.
Can America no longer come up with good and competent leaders on the left or the right? Then we need to do some deep soul searching, some very deep soul searching.