America is missing compassion, community and common sense

I shake my head in disagreement whenever someone tells me Donald Trump is responsible for the hell that has descended on the United States. He’s not.

He’s amplified it. He’s mainstreamed it. His narcissism prevents him from seeing how monstrous he is. But he’s not the one who started it.

My country’s bitter history of race relations is again on display for the world to see. The cause this time is familiar: white cop, black man, a deadly altercation. I’m not going to elaborate on what one police officer in Minneapolis did to George Floyd; in my mind, he murdered Floyd while three of his fellow officers stood by. You’re welcomed to reasonably disagree with me. I emphasize reasonably.

Multiple American cities again are flash points of violent protest. While all of us know the causes of it, too few get deep into the weeds of fixing it. And as long as that continues, nothing much will change.

Absent in America right now: compassion, community and common sense. We have created segregation by walling ourselves (sometimes literally) from others who call the same city home.

We see either San Francisco or Pomeroy, Ohio (look it up if you don’t know where it is), filled with people who aren’t real Americans.

We see the homeless and the poor, but for many of us they are in the way but otherwise invisible as we walk down the sidewalk.

We turn to social media to verbally harass and bludgeon people who disagree with us, often forgetting the First Amendment comes with responsibility.

We avoid the most obvious right of our democracy: voting, and our feckless politicians on the right do what they can to prevent that right from being exercised. And, yes, you on the left have made pro-choice a requirement for admission, so you’re not exempt from being unwelcoming.

A society that has been brainwashed into equating wealth with success, money with power, and ideological purity with meaningful friendship has earned what it has right now. The United States is not held together by some overarching national purpose; ask someone what it means to be Finnish, and you’ll understand what it means to have a national ideal that the majority seek to uphold.

Until the U.S. embraces a value greater than money or guns, fame or wanton isolation, we before me, then it’s only a matter of time, regardless of who is president, before another deadly event triggers another violent reaction.

Make the U.S.-Chinese relationship great again

China’s rise from a backward nation to a global power has many Americans shaking in their boots. The American who might be shaking the hardest is Donald Trump.

If one listens closely enough, the echoes of the Cold War can be heard in the China bashing emanating from the White House. (Those big, bad Commies are out to get us.) The echoes of anti-Japanese sentiment from the 1980s can be heard. (You can’t trust those Asians!) The echoes about Muslims as terrorists from the 2000s can be heard. (Don’t get too close; they might blow you up.)

America must have a paramount enemy; this country at times seems almost desperate to know where the next potential threat to our “exceptionalism” can be found. (If we can meet ‘em, we can beat ‘em.) With Trump at the controls of America’s ever more wobbly government, China is the new monster lurking in the shadows, hiding under our beds, stealing our secrets and attempting to brainwash our people.

Such gibberish. 

To be fair, the president seems interested more in hammering the Chinese government than the Chinese people. But he’s done little to show respect for the more than 1-billion citizens of the country.

Trump hasn’t succeeded at much as president of the United States. But he has succeeded in setting up the new existential threat to the country. We have a new boogie man!

That threat lives in Beijing, Shanghai, and most definitely Wuhan. His “Wuhan virus” rhetoric reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of pandemics; of course, we shouldn’t be surprised because Trump must simplify everything and abandon all reality in the process. In his often monosyllabic diatribes, someone or something is either “good” or “bad.” He lacks complexity, common sense and compassion.

So convinced is he today that the Chinese menace is everywhere (Joseph McCarthy must be smiling from his grave) he’s prepared to expel Chinese students from the U.S. Don’t ask Trump to provide any evidence to validate his claims; he’ll tell you that his unmatched intellect is enough to prove he’s right.

Meanwhile, China’s leader Xi Jinping slowly and steadily works to make international deals that will advance China’s growth prospects and goodwill in the short and long term. Question his integrity. Question his intent. Don’t question his results.

Trump swept into power with an otherwise unclear but easy-to-swallow promise that he’d Make America Great Again. The longer he remains in the White House, the more difficult a time his successor will have in actually doing that.

And one of the most important Trumpian disasters that will need to be fixed is the collapse in the U.S.-China relationship. 

I am not outraged

I am not outraged by the…

  1. Actions of a police officer in Minneapolis
  2. Rhetoric of the president
  3. Economic disparity
  4. Islamophobia
  5. Fears “those” people have of losing or not having health care
  6. Unhealthy living conditions “those” people are in
  7. Educational inequity
  8. White women calling the police because black men are “threatening” them
  9. Pandering to religion by politicians who lack any morals
  10. Disdain displayed toward people not like me

You see, I

  1. Live in a safe suburb
  2. Reside in a comfortable home (paid for solely by the hard work of my spouse/partner and me)
  3. Take an annual summer vacation (because I need a break from all that stress in the world)
  4. Think people are free to believe or not believe in God
  5. Am surrounded by so many people who agree with me
  6. Give money to a couple charities (see, I’m a good person)
  7. Tip my server at least 15%
  8. Refuse to complain about the hard knocks that come my way
  9. Agree with Ronald (Reggie? Rodney?) King; we must all like each other
  10. Wouldn’t dare joke about “First World” problems (but, come to think of it, my God, my community pool must open now!)

Clearly I am not that “r”-word