For the first time in my life I wake up every morning feeling a sense of shame at being an American.
What has happened to this country? What has happened to American values, to American compassion and generosity? How can we live without compassion for people living in the most dire conditions, deprived of safety, of food, and even their very lives? Why have we as a Nation done nothing to help people who are living below the equator who are suffering beyond belief? And then, having done nothing to help him, why do we turn them away when they come here in desperation?
Trump has exacerbated this neglect. He did not cause it. The US is not alone in failing to attend to obvious problems; the responsibility clearly lies within the entire developed world, most of whom are above the equator.
Every place I look these days, I see nothing but greed. Money, money, money. Money is buying – or has bought – our political system. Money has bought our elections. Money has bought the Republican Senate and this presidency.
We have allowed the Congress to vote themselves a pension for life. No doubt the members care more for their seat in the Congress or the Senate than they do for the good of the country, or for the nation from which they have sprung.
Why in the world should these congresspeople or senators be paid for life? Is it not an honor enough to serve the governing body of the Nation? That is the quintessential center of the Democracy, under which we live. Is it not an honor to stand as the gatekeepers of our Democratic way of life? They seem to only be dedicated to it’s destruction.
Ever since the Vietnam war, this country has been engaged in questionable military action. Ever since the Vietnam war, this country has had no draft, no public service; no one has had to serve this nation in any capacity. Before Senator Jack Javits died, he told me that he had come to agree with me that we should reinstitute public service for 18 months between high school and university. Senior Senator from Connecticut Abe Rubicoff felt the same way, as he too told me before he passed away. It was too late for either of them to take any action.
Every single person (man and woman) should serve. Even people with heel spurs and other disabilities should serve in some capacity. People should be able to choose between the military, the army, the navy, the marines, the air force, medical, or community service. There is nothing in this world that can replace the experience of boot training, shared commitment and service, codependence, fellowship, and the sense of belonging.
No one has ever suffered for learning to fold their clothes neatly, make their bed, and properly polish their shoes. This shared training experience puts service to the country before personal ambition. I believe America needs this.
We need to believe in each other again. We need to understand each other. We need to see and know the people of this nation, and we need to know more about the world. We should know who are ill paid and badly educated. We need to know when people are inadequately fed and when children are starving. We must address these problems as they are dividing the Nation as never before.
We all are suffering from the greed that prevents us from moving forward to correct the glaring inequities in our society and the consequential problems. We all need to become more aware and to take action before these divisions destroy us.