The past few weeks may appear to be another sad chapter in the senseless conflict between black and white in our country, or as some believe, between black and blue, but the only color Americans like me have been seeing lately is … red.
We’re angry because we tell our children to obey the law, but then watch as our nation’s highest official repeatedly sidesteps our nation’s highest law so he can singlehandedly change our immigration system. So are we now supposed to tell our children that — to put it in Nixonian terms — something isn’t illegal of the president does it?
We’re angry because we teach our children that ignorance of the law excuses no one (“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat,” the ancients said), but then listen as our nation’s top investigator explains how Hillary Clinton clearly broke (cough!) obeyed the law because she didn’t know any better than to spill classified information all across the internet. So are we now supposed to teach our children to plead ignorance whenever they’re caught doing something wrong, rather than to accept responsibility for their actions and the accountability that comes with it?
We’re angry because we raise our children to respect the police, but then we see good cops cussed and killed for simply doing their jobs … jobs that most either couldn’t or wouldn’t perform even if policemen got paid what they deserved. We hear calls for justice, but we see actions that seek impunity. And to add insult to injury, we’re told that these reluctant killers were driven to their murderous rampages by some sort of righteous anger. “Martyrs,” they’re called.
And we’re especially angry because some say that we – those who obey, support, and defend our nation’s laws – are actually just enablers of a sexist, bigoted, and racist judicial system.
During times like these, some of our wiser leaders often quote John Adams when he reminded us that our Founders created “a government of laws, and not of men.” True enough, once upon a time maybe. But when our once storied institutions appease the whims and whines of the wrathful, the envious, and the power-hungry, we might do better to remember another of our second president’s admonishments: “Democracy never lasts long,” Adams wrote. “It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
So go we? If we keep treating our constitution as if it was a living, breathing creature capable of both insanity and dementia, rather than the rigid, clear words of immutable fact that the charter actually is, then maybe.
Eloquent politicians can try to paint a picture of an America where the poor, the powerless, and the weak are constantly getting shafted, but Americans like me know better. You see, most of us were once poor, or powerless, or weak, as well. Heck, some of us still are … but we know this nation is the type of place where it doesn’t really matter who you are, what you look like, or where you came from. All that matters is hard work, and in a land where all are equal before the law, the hard-working man will eventually prevail. They always have.
So when we see the law – that precious system that allows the weak to become the strong – discarded, ignored, and attacked across our country, we get angry.
Pollsters and sociologists have long tried to diagnose, predict, or perhaps even cure this so-called “Angry Voter” syndrome of which we obviously suffer. And politicians and leftwing writers may too easily dismiss us as this era’s Howard Beale, crazily – and uselessly – shouting from the windows, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
In the past, the anger cooled and the Beales of the world eventually climbed in off of the ledge. But that was because saner heads prevailed, adults grabbed the steering wheel and our nation swerved away from the ditch at the last moment.
Will that happen again? After eight long years of unchecked government growth and the promise of more regardless of which party wins the White House, are we finally not going to take it anymore?