June 20, 2024

Letter to the editor: Can we reunite or fall like Rome

In what seemed like the longest election in the history of the United States, we have come to learn a lot more than just who the next leader of our country will be. 

 We have learned that the division in our country has never, in the modern era, been greater.  The fake social media ads by foreign entities to the very words of the president of the U.S. False information is spreading like wildfire and the elected leader of America is, in essence, throwing gas on that fire. 

“Don’t believe what you are reading or seeing is not what’s happening, just stick with us…” This line may seem like a part of a speech from and Orwellian character from 1984. Those words came from Mr. Trump himself while he was speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2018. 

This obvious diversion should have been heard, then laughed at, then thrown away. Yet, that sentence was the exact concept the people of his overzealous following wanted to hear. The way in which the alt-right follows his commands and words were as if the words were ordained by God herself.

The president is not selected by God, but by the people and he/she serves at the pleasure of the people, not the other way around.

Yet, Trump’s base, seems to think that he was elected and has some sort of divine destiny to lead the world to greatness. They find no fault in his bullying, lying or complete disregard of the rule of law. To them he is a mere victim of the leftist cabal of Hollywood elite and Satan-worshiping Democrats. 

“President Adams had been infatuated with the pomp of the European courts he visited during his time as an American minister during the Revolutionary War.” Recounts Harlow Giles Unger, New York Times best-selling author, and historian. After many calls for illustrious and grandiose titles such as “Your most benign highness” or most “illustrious and excellent president” the talk turned to simplicity. The names that would be associated to modern day dictators like the Kim Jong Un, were thrown out and “Mr. President” was adopted.

This simple and direct moniker was meant to bring the status of the position down out of the heavens and to Earth where it belonged. It was a way of telling the American people, who had just won their independence from a ruler on the other side of the world, that this man (hopefully woman soon) worked for you, the people. 

Apparently, we lost that. The cult-like attitude and actions of the alt-right seem to be so far removed from what the founders had envisioned that it has become a fascist movement.

“Count the votes!” the MAGA-clad demonstrators chant in Philadelphia, bowing and praying like a scene straight from antiquity. Conversely, in Arizona, “Stop the count,” was shouted on the steps of the capitol building. 

In both cases, it was to create a win for Trump. President-elect Biden was leading in Arizona, where the masses were trying to pull extra votes out for Trump to pull ahead. While in Pennsylvania, “stop the count” was to prevent President-elect Biden from overtaking. 

This type of flagrante attempted manipulation of the election goes against the very core values of which this country was founded. 

Trump went on TV in the middle of the night to falsely proclaim he won. This childish behavior would be expected to be seen from a toddler or a half-drunk movie star, but from the leader of the U.S. and its interests?

Still, over 70 million Americans voted for Trump. Even with all the false and  hateful rhetoric, the blatant disregard for the rule of law, and using the position as his personal business builder, people still see him as the best president the U.S. has ever had. 

Will we ever be able to reunite as a country with so much cognitive dissonance affecting so many people? Were we always this hateful or is it a new belief in the last four years? Can we become the land of the free once again or will we be pulled into an authoritarian state where one political side dominates over the other in such a manner that it is equivocal to being a hostage in one’s own country? Christopher Palo