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Our National Shame – A Sobering Thought During Thanksgiving Week

November 22nd, 2017

Richard Marker

Those who read these posts exclusively for observations about the philanthropy field may want to stop reading now. This post has a very clear political point of view.

Let me be clear. I find Fake Judge Roy Moore to be despicable. Only some of that enmity emerges from his evident/purported child molestation history although by itself it would justify that judgement. [I personally have little doubt of his guilt but, in anticipation of my next sentences, will acknowledge that he has not yet been found guilty of these crimes – as opposed to others of which he has]. What bothers me at least as much is his disdain for our legal system, the US Constitution, his xenophobia and racism. Found guilty [and exonerated by a president whose own moral compass points due south], he relentlessly pursues an elected office where he can further his unconscionable world view and advances the destructive voices of his rabid supporters. He and his fellow travelers bring shame on our country, his party, his State, and all that decency requires. He and his advocate in the White House have brought dishonor to our international reputation and our political system. Shame.

I guess there isn’t any subtlety in that paragraph!

That alone would warrant a loud plaint. This next item emerged by chance and, by now, is, sadly, less in the public eye, but no less shameful.

Last week, I had the honor to be a speaker/presenter at a philanthropy conference in Orlando. When I travel, I try to speak with as many of the staff at the hotels and the behind the scenes conference enablers as possible. One learns a lot. It seems that many of those who provide those services in Orlando are from Puerto Rico. I had extended conversations with 4 of them. One of the questions I asked was what impact the hurricane had on their families. Shockingly, all 4 of these people, each of whom I met randomly, had lost relatives during or caused by the storm! How many more there must be? My goodness, we on the mainland have no concept of the depth of abandonment our government has wrought. Is it racism? Their disenfranchisement? Their relative poverty? I will leave the analysis to those with more in-depth knowledge of Puerto Rico – all I know is that this is a continuing and profound blemish on our national character. Shame.

The list goes on: The widespread loss of respect for the judiciary and the press reflect a frightening erosion of understanding and belief in our constitutional system… The unconscionable denial of a commitment to saving our planet – under the guise that climate change is only a politically motivated opinion… The perverse and counterproductive belief that the primary responsibility of elected officials is to cut taxes rather than support our citizens… The willingness to consider privatizing Social Security and Medicare thereby abrogating a decades old contract with each and every taxpayer… The cynical erosion of the Affordable Care Act under the proven false claim that they have a better way to provide health care to more citizens more cheaply… The frightening acceptance that racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Islamism, xenophobia, and nativism have a place, any place, in a civil society.

Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.

We must never ever accept that any of this is normal or acceptable. Ever. And especially on Thanksgiving week, a time for an honest consideration of the current state of our national character, these should give us all pause.

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