Samuel Adams, one of the most rebellious and rowdy of our rebel founding fathers, ironically, had a profound reverence and respect for those who took on the great responsibility of governing our new nation. He said this in an article written in the Boston Gazette in April 1781 ~
“Every citizen shall see and I hope to be deeply impressed with a sense of it. How exceedingly important it is to himself and how intimately the welfare of his children is connected with it. That those who are to have a share in making as well as judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity.”
Men of singular wisdom and integrity.
Hmm. That single sentence holds much over which we should ponder.
There have been times in our history where we have endured the great crisis, monumental change, deep sorrows, devastating loss as well as moments of swelling pride and grand achievement and national joy and triumph. As a nation, we experience these things together. We cheer our heroes, we mourn our dead, and we sympathize one with another over the good and bad as we live our American lives. Over the decades, we have had cause to flush in anger over the antics of our leaders for behavior which we felt was a poor reflection on us all. We hung our heads in disgrace as the world watched Richard Nixon proclaim that he was not a crook—even though he was complicit in the Watergate break-in. We understood that his resignation in disgrace disgraced us all.
We blushed a little as Gerald Ford stumbled, or tripped or fell but we allowed him a good-natured ribbing because he helped us recover from Nixon and we loved him for it. We blushed a great deal more and lowered ourselves to crude jokes when Bill Clinton’s string of infidelities became the reason for an indictment. When his affair with Monica Lewinsky became front page news making our nation, once again, a tabloid target for cheapening the highest office in the world, we lost our credibility as an honest and moral society.
His impeachment and refusal to step down cemented the world’s view that hubris and arrogance were simply “the American way.” It was embarrassing when Barack Obama began his presidency by apologizing for America being…well…America. And in his first term, his inexperience embarrassed us over and over as he returned a treasured bust to Great Britain, bowed to a foreign prince, and stumbled with his rhetoric causing not the healing of America, but a further divide. Yes, our leaders, at least those in my own lifetime have done their best it seems to forget Samuel Adams recommendation to men of wisdom and integrity.
Now, however, I believe we have entered a time where even these past faux pas by former leaders pale in the shadow of our President Elect. The CIA had a dossier, rumored to have been circulating among high-level officials in Washington D.C. since mid-September. This file, allegedly compiled by a British intelligence officer contained information collected by Russian Intel officials on Donald Trump and some of his associates. They contain purported evidence of Trump’s deep ties with Russia among other unsavory details which I cannot bring myself to write here. They are disturbing and disgusting and unfit for general public view in my opinion. You may research for yourself if you are so inclined. I want to make clear, that as of this writing, these allegations have NOT YET been verified. However, if even a portion of this document is true, if any part is in any way correct, then I will say that this is our country’s deepest shame.
This man, Mr. Trump, has in less than two years, managed to bring our country down to its lowest common denominator. If there is anything vulgar or crass or demeaning or base, he has brought it out in people. If there is a racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, religionist inkling in anyone, he has found it and enhanced it. If there is a gullible, disadvantaged, uninformed or desperate person, needing to believe and hope for a better life, Donald Trump has used them, exploited them, and humiliated them. Indeed, this man has humiliated us all. And if his past deplorable, disgusting words and behavior were not enough, if there is any truth to this latest, he will have sunk us into a humiliation and disgrace that will sully us for a generation. This man is, I am sorry to say, our deepest national shame.