From the November-December 2017 issue of News & Letters
by Robert Taliaferro
J.S. Mill in his 1859 treatise “On Liberty” wrote, “No one pretends that actions should be as free as opinions. On the contrary, even opinions lose their immunity, when the circumstances in which they are expressed are such as to constitute their expression a positive instigation to some mischievous act.”
This is a concept that is lost on Donald J. Trump and his hardline supporters. Perhaps the self-defined “super intelligent” being who currently reigns in the White House is not familiar with Mill and others who define what it means to value freedom and to do so with equity, fairness and maturity.
Perhaps the self-appointed chief antagonist of the nation, and his cronies, should be reminded that, despite its deficiencies, when it comes to universal democratic principles, we do not subscribe to oligarchical governance, or take well to attempts to bully one’s way into a belief that you are the only one who is right.
THE PRESIDENT IS A BULLY
This is not 1920s Fascist Italy, brown-shirted Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China or the family-run nation of North Korea.
The presidency is not a pulpit for bullying with a purpose of payback for real or imagined slights; it is not the place to find redemption for past failures like the United States Football League which are now disguised as veiled attacks on the National Football League and its players who choose to use their forum to protest injustice and indifference.
It is not the place to disgrace the service of U.S. military personnel and their families simply because you take umbrage with the way you are portrayed in the media or because someone expresses a contrary opinion.
Government is not a place for petty and childish actions, something the current administration has turned into an art form; nor is it a personal bully pulpit that requires everyone to bow and applaud every time you pass rhetorical gas.
Government is alleged to represent all the nation’s people and take into account those who make up this country regardless of race, creed, gender, or ideology. Oligarchical and xenophobic fanaticism ignores that concept, and that is something the current administration is attempting to incorporate as national policy.
This country has always been a country of immigrants. Only one culture is indigenous, regardless of the racist rhetoric, which passes for policy by those who attempt to create alternate histories that support their ignorance.
There is hope that the 2018 midterm elections can send a message that people want their country back. That is when youth, the true middle-class, women and the LGBTQI community, when people of all colors can send a message to the president all the way down to the lowest intern that if you don’t get your shit together and start representing the interests of all the people of the U.S, then we are going to send your asses home—period.
Enough is enough is enough!