The Shaky Evolution Of America

American ideals backed by the Declaration of Independence and a seriously flawed intial US Constitution provided a rough path forward toward a broad democracy. It didn’t guarantee that the nation would be capable of following that path. Moreover, slave owning founding fathers like Washington and Jefferson knew that that they were commencing from the moral low ground. Indeed, going to where their idealism pointed was going to take time, energy and enormous faith.

As could be expected blasting through the barrier of slavery and then Jim Crow laws — institutions restricting Black first to a virtual non person status and then relagating them to second-class citizenship — has taken a heavy toll on the nation, 600,000 deaths in the American Civil War alone. This is more death — within a much smaller population than today — than all the rest of America’s wars combined. Yet here we are, trying to survive another serious barrier to a board democracy — Trumpism.

But with all Trump’s demagoguery and tossing out of stupid and hateful red meat to his not so better angel supporters — like within the bloody mess that was American Civil War — the core goodness that the founding fathers hoped for is still holding, even if sometimes it seems a bit shaky.

Trumpism in some ways was a Republican (Fox News Party) driven backlash against America’s first black president. (Unfortunately there is money to be made hawking hate, which is Trump’s main attraction to rightwing politics.)

There is, however, in the making, an even much bigger and better, more positive American backlash than the vile Trump lead reaction against Obama. It started with the women’s march following Trump’s inauguration and recently been backed by the 2018 multicultural surge into the US House of Representatives. The pattern continues that for every backward step America takes away from a broad democracy, such a move is inevitably followed by two steps toward it. Yes, it’s a painfully shaky process, but it persists. Now we just have to defeat the Wall Street/Fox news Axis once the Donald and his mob are sent to the slammer.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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