Ordinarily, I try to convey through my website and the social media to which I subscribe, the things that are occurring in our community and in the City at large. While not always of a positive nature, for example, our public safety notifications, I try to make sure that you get the truth as to what is taking place.
This past week, culminating in nationwide protests in cities and airports across the country, the scope of my communication needs to be expanded. I fear, given the new world that we see more and more of under the new administration, that our communication will of necessity need to be inclusive of current events in general.
Between walls, immigration restrictions and detainment, and the new speak of alternative facts, all of us whose school required reading included 1984 and Brave New World look on with concern, approaching horror at what is occurring. Whether it is happening to you or not, I am beginning to take every bit of news coming out of Washington as being wrong and threatening, even before I have heard it through and had time to think about it. If it comes from the administration, it is harmful to my value system.
I sat down yesterday to compose something for this missive and I started by writing some of the things that the President says he is trying to do, taking his personality out of the equation and just writing the goals themselves. It was an interesting and ultimately frustrating exercise. For example, increasing our safety against potential terrorist attacks, creating more jobs for our citizens, lowering taxes and the cost of pharmaceuticals, and decreasing the violence in our streets are all laudable goals. If you analyze the platforms of Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, all these elements were included to varying degrees in their pitch to the public.
Why then does the current situation cause me and so many Americans such distress? How can these good goals become so disdainful? I have come to the conclusion that the answer is twofold. First, a good goal for a bad reason can be harmful and insidious and second, the stated goals can be pretexts to achieve goals that, if articulated, would be universally rejected as inappropriate for a civilized society.
Achieving his articulated goal has the effect of discriminating against people based upon ethnicity, geographic origin, and religion at least. While we are upset and searching for activist outlets to make our displeasure manifest, he and his supporters revel in our anxiety. I was listening to National Public Radio today to a Washington, D.C. based political strategist. He posted that the President and his supporters in the administration view his collective actions thus far as the wrecking ball “to drive liberal America over the edge.” The more that people protest, the more he and his supporters are certain that they are on the right track.
One might read the foregoing and determine that we should stand down in our actions and protests. Quite the contrary. What stands between us and the actions of the administration are at least two institutions that can certainly slow or derail his train completely. Our congressmen and senators all must stand up and take notice of peoples’ concerns across the country, and our judiciary should continue to curtail the President’s attempts to trample upon basic human rights as it did in several jurisdictions across the country over the past few days.
Locally, we must work to ensure that our targeted neighbors understand that we are supportive of them. We have local mosques and ethnically oriented community centers in our community that you can contact and express your concern and willingness to engage. You can contribute to Planned Parenthood to offset the attempt to cut off funding to assist women in making personal decisions.
You should encourage our supportive Congressmen, Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky, as well as our Senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and tell them to carry the political engagement forward. This next four years may, twenty years from now, appear to have flown by, but for now, I think we are in for a long difficult time in our country’s history.
Alderman, Ward Forty