2017-05-12 / Letters

Let’s not sit idly by

To the editor:

Once again I am very supportive of William Fritzmeier’s attempt to open up some real dialogue regarding what is happening to our country under the blundering, manipulative, double-talking and down-right scary presidency of Donald John Trump. His letter to Sentry readers in last week’s paper provided so much accurate and well explained information that I am assuming it could indeed help him open up a creative forum for exchanges of views with other readers. This type of dialogue is crucial to our hopes of keeping democracy alive.

While my views are in agreement with those of Mr. Fritzmeier (what he so eloquently says goes for me, too), I do need to make a point originally made by retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter in a profound and prophetic 2012 interview, three years before the fateful Trump Tower elevator ride ever happened. When asked who he thought was the greatest threat to American Democracy, his answer was a surprising one. It did not involve our usual list of adversaries, such as North Korea, Russia or China. It was, he stated, ourselves. We, the American people, are very poorly educated in the complex workings of our own federal government, with a majority not understanding how it all works (sort of like our current president), a group that could be dangerously drawn, he said, to someone who comes along, especially when there is a struggling economy, and says, “It’s all very simple ... I understand it all, and I will fix it all (sound familiar ?). Our American electorate, Souter said, could easily elect a dictator in such times, who says he’ll use his powers to make our country perfect. Our electorate, with very little understanding of what’s really going wrong, why it is, and what will it take to fix it, bought into the carnival barker style of the President of Trump University, Donald John Trump, a “university” as hollow and fraudulent as the man himself. In 1980 Ronald Reagan taught us all about trickle-down economics, the totally false theory (Right Wing fairy tale?) of how pushing more money up to the top, e.g., corporate heads, will lead to many benefits for the working class, such as higher wages, health care benefits, etc. Did it work that way? No. Corporate investors profit, and the rich got richer, and, well, you know the rest. Our current president is passing along the same self-profiting “remedies” out of the same “Rich Man’s Handbook of Smoke and Mirrors.” He, like his pernicious dictator predecessors, even provides us with a few minority groups to hate and blame. How clever. And how about giving the shaft to the poor and the elderly through a shiny new health care bill.

Yes, David Souter proved to be not only brilliant, but also clairvoyant. So, now what do we do? If we follow Souter’s lead, we immediately start a campaign on the media, in town halls, door to door and for some of us, even at family reunions, designed to educate our fellow citizens on the real facts about our government and the processes in a democracy for fixing things that go wrong. Unfortunately, Donald John Trump is a human megaphone for “alternative facts”, a.k.a., blatant lies, so it won’t be easy, but we must try. William Fritzmeier is doing just that, but he can’t do it alone, so start to use your voices, your words. Can we as an electorate get smart quickly enough to not buy right wing snake oil in 2018 ? Dare we hope that if we push really hard against the King of the Swamp (and General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions), he won’t call upon his military to formalize his dictatorial take-over, and we can once again move forward with social justice and our global fellowship with all peoples of the world? Let’s hope so and let’s get to work.

P.S. My alter ego, Bluto, in the movie “Animal House” once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Ralph Zieff South Portland

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