Today, as the public phase of impeachment hearings are underway, I am watching while reading from the Life of Frederick Douglass. Sadly, I admit to not trusting the American people as much as I might to see clearly, think honestly, and do what is right. I would welcome being mistaken in my skepticism.
However, I am certain not to trust the systems and structures of the American way of life not to corrupt the principled values and decision making of the American people. The socio-political and economic system of big money and world power is both ingeniously and insidiously corruptible and Americans may prove to be fatally susceptible to confusion, convenient misguidance, compromise and corruption. Operating under misnomers, these arepowerful channels of American life and the very fundamentals of democracy, much weakened by narcissism and indulgence instead of being schooled in freedom of conscience and moral character will be needed not to remain numbed into accepting the status quo of limited perception, disconnection, and the indifference that accompanies disempowerment.
This thinking poses a painful dilemma for me. My experience is of a lifetime. That experience is that no matter how much I disagree with policies, or opinions or attitudes, I cannot deny finding most Americans to be good natured and well intentioned. Yet this by itself may not be enough in the democratic crisis the United States now struggles with and is deeply immersed in. When ordinary goodness is divorced from truthfulness and justice, a crisis becomes problematic on the level of ordinary identity, behavior and cohesion.
Perhaps, as the impeachment of Donald J. Trump moves forward, we, to one another but also before the rest of the watchful world, will see if there is honesty akin to Abraham Lincoln and integrity of the statue of Frederick Douglass still alive within us to recall the exiled American soul and reaffirm the constitutionality of the American republic? Long since we ceased to be a nation of naïve innocence, of robust farmers and tenacious pioneers. Are we yet capable of responsible citizenship, of standing up, resisting what is wrong and doing what is right? Events in motion will provide an answer.
David Sparenberg is a world citizen, environmental & peace advocate & activist, actor, poet-playwright, storyteller, teacher and author.