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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sherer

I Want My Country Back

In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, I’m prompted to weigh in with some thoughts that have been bubbling half-formed in my head for some time. As these events happen with increasing frequency, we look at one another in horror, throw up our hands in disgust, and ask, “When will this end?”

Whatever your stance on the Second Amendment, since when did Americans need a gun to make a point? Since when did civil disobedience mutate from peaceful (usually) sit-ins or protest marches to spraying a nightclub, school or any other public venue with automatic weapons fire to lodge one’s complaint about other citizens’ lifestyles, religion, gender, or skin color? What happened to civil discourse?

We have a lot of conversations in our house about the increasing lack of civility in both America and the world. We’re saddened at the loss of morals and manners, the passing of a time when even if you intensely disliked your neighbors and disapproved of their lifestyle or beliefs you acted civilly toward them. You agreed to disagree on how to live your lives, as long as you didn’t encroach upon their freedoms, nor they yours. That’s what being an American citizen is about. Or used to be.

We grumble a lot, as our parents used to, about how this country is going to hell in a handbasket, and we wonder what’s causing it. Television? The media? A loosening of social mores? The Internet? Smartphones?

I’ve noted on several occasions on Facebook how uncivil this election cycle has been compared to the past, and have often wondered what it is about all the candidates, even when the field was thick with contenders, that made me uneasy, that made me distrust their ulterior motives, that made me think none of them truly wanted to represent me. To be elected to government of the people, by the people, for the people. But I’ve wondered this especially about Trump, wanting something more solid to back up my discomfort than the fact that I think he’s a wackadoodle dandy.

An editorial in Saturday’s WSJ put into clear perspective for me for the first time. The author quoted a woman asked by a reporter at a Trump rally why she supports him. She said, “I want my country back.” I feel the same way, but not in the way Trump wants to take it back.

Instead, I agree with what the editorial went on to say: “I don’t believe that this woman is a racist, or that she yearns for immigrants, gays and other minorities to be suppressed, or even that she truly expects to turn back the clock on social change.”

The country we lost, the country we want back is the one in which people valued individual responsibility over a nanny state, liberty over government-directed equality, “the entrepreneurial over the entitlement spirit.”

“Multiculturalism, identity politics, political correctness, victimhood—the progressivist program generally—” the author asserts, “are now in the saddle, and do not figure easily to be dislodged.”

“What the woman who said she wants her country back really meant,” he says, “was that she couldn’t any longer bear to watch the United States on the descent, hostage to progressivist ideas that bring neither contentment nor satisfaction but instead foster a state of perpetual protest and agitation, anger and tumult.”

And right smack in the middle of it is Donald Trump, who instead of offering truly meaningful or productive ideas on how to “Make America Great Again.”

As the author concludes, “Donald Trump who in his vagueness and vapidity is unlikely to provide any solution, is himself part of the problem.” He is, in fact, a product of all that is wrong at present. Morals? Few. Manners? Practically none. Civility? Don’t make me laugh. Trump and his Drumpfers will do far more to divide us than to unite us in common cause for the good of all.

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