As we, as a people, careen deeper into the time of Trump, it never hurts to take a deep breath, lean back and contemplate, and try to gain some context and perspective.
There’s a natural tendency to wonder whether this is the most pivotal Presidency of our lifetime, maybe even one of the most pivotal in the country’s history.
Well, maybe. Too early to know, really. Keep in mind that the Nixon years, especially near the end, when we had a Constitutional crisis that resulted in our only resignation of a President, were tumultuous and trying. And that a widespread criminal conspiracy led by the President himself was at the heart of it.
And just before that were the 1960s, when the nation was deeply divided over the Vietnam war, race and social change (sexual mores, sudden rises in more varied immigration, etc.)
Deeper back in our history were the 1850s and the disastrous Presidency of James Buchanan. Buchanan’s lean in the direction of southern states and slavery, coupled with a pro-southern Supreme Court decision in the Dred-Scott case, led directly to the Civil War.
The point is that we Americans have been through times before when survival as a Constitutional republic based on the principles of freedom and representative democracy hung in the balance, when our ability to remain “..one nation..indivisible” was in serious question. But we managed to not only survive but moved forward to thrive. We did it before, we can do it again.
Will we? In much of the world, especially in places such as China, Russia and Iran, there is doubt. It is up to us, and how we respond now collectively and as individuals, to determine what happens to the American idea and ideal.
Given the present circumstances, it will take all we can muster to echo history and prevail once again.
Being gentle and tolerant with one another, pouring help to our neighbors and communities, and vowing to be active citizens not just bystanders can help us get started. Not a minute to waste. And about this, we cannot, must not waver, hesitate or cower.
We are, as a nation, as a people walking moment to moment on the razor’s edge of danger. Every man, woman and child has a role to play in keeping our balance.