Birds of a feather do flock together

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We are going through exceptionally difficult times in the nation after the presidential election of 2016.  The old adage is largely true:  birds of a feather do flock together.  This administration seems filled with people who look, walk, talk and think like Trump.
With the president’s approval ratings unable to climb out of the 30s (39 percent is his highest since taking office), the majority of Americans remain dissatisfied with the President’s antics and his never-ending penchant for distancing himself from the truth.  And we all have more than legitimate concerns about the state of the nation’s health care, educational, climate and criminal justice systems in the hands of the GOP.
Curiously, President Trump seems to be almost totally fixated on Barack Obama.  Whatever Obama did as president, Trump seems focused on undoing.  In an allusion to one of my favorite GEICO commercials, I guess ‘it’s what you do’ when you have no idea what you ought to be doing: you use someone else’s accomplishments as your playbook.  Instead of coming up with a real plan to do something as President, Trump is content with focusing on undoing what the former President did.  And he doesn’t even have a real plan to do that.
Trump road a tidal wave of hate, Democratic party division and voter apathy into office. Still, the majority of Americans chose Hillary.  Voters who stayed away from the polls now wish they hadn’t.  Independents who thought he was a better alternative to Hillary Clinton don’t think so any more.  It’s time to revisit the 1969 Petition to Eliminate the Electoral College.
The U.S. is rapidly losing its position as world leader and its moral standing in the world.  Trump yanked the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Control Agreement (to free his billionaire buddies to again plunder the planet), then decided to punish little ole Cuba for having a different politico-economic philosophy from ours– all while he openly embraces Russia’s Vladimir Putin and expresses his admiration for North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un.
Now more than ever it behooves every other American citizen to be vigilant.  “Every other” American because Trump’s supporters are so invested in their candidate-become-President that they have become blind to the man.  They defend him now out of a sense of necessary loyalty.  People generally don’t like to admit when they’ve made a mistake and Trump supporters especially so, because they don’t want to hear those three explosive words that they know are one day going to be loudly proclaimed– words they won’t honestly be able to refute:  ‘told you so.’
Keep in mind that millions more people voted for Hillary Clinton with all of her baggage than those who voted for Donald Trump.  Keep in mind, also, and that the same coalition of voters who elected Barack Obama to office two times can oust Donald Trump in 2020– provided mass incarceration doesn’t strip the black and Hispanic communities of another million or so voters, and provided the Russians didn’t learn enough about our election apparatus in 2016 to actually control the U.S. vote by then.
I keep looking around and I keep wondering what is the point of all of this. What difference does it make if I keep filling up my recycling bin to save the planet, while multinational industries keep releasing billions of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere?  Why make the obviously miniscule-by-comparison effort in the face of this unrelenting profiteering?  But when I stop and think about it, it comes to me that this planet is worth fighting for.  And similarly this nation, the United State of America, is also worth our fighting for.
Sources of joy may be difficult to identify in the new Trump world, but we cannot allow ourselves to become drained of all our energy, enthusiasm and hope.   In the midst of the escalating chaos of our post Obama nation we may find it harder and harder to remember the goals and the calls that pricked our hearts and guided our steps to the polls in 2008 and again in 2012.  I find myself sometimes feeling besieged and hemmed in on all sides; weary and sapped of the strength I need just to raise my voice and do my part to fight against the coming onslaught as millions of Americans lose their health care coverage under Trump.
Then I come across a passage of scripture from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 21 to 31.  It is a beautiful poetic scripture filled with powerful imagery and metaphors.  But I’m not one to see God as some sort of master puppeteer controlling every aspect of our lives.  I don’t see God involving himself in the NBA draft or even caring about Donald Trump’s tweets.  I just see a God that is bigger than all of this– including all of us.
I know there are many who do not embrace God in any form or fashion, and I respect your right to choose.  Respect mine.  I suspect that God expects us to be about the business of taking care of the planet and each other through the decisions and the actions we take.  And I believe no one should ever pray or ask God to do anything he or she is not willing to work to see come to pass.
Proverbs 29:2 says:  “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.”  Within my system of belief, this scripture explains why we must work to change our present-day national circumstance.
Lying, cheating, stealing, ridiculing, demeaning other people– if that’s righteous behavior, my understanding of God’s word is horribly flawed.  But if I’m right, after having had a taste of #45 in action, a better president is critically necessary.  And “the people” will have to move in 2018 if they ever want to rejoice again.
Birds of a feather do flock together.  And sometimes they even go to the polls together.