President Trump and the National Loss of Honor and Dignity
I write this article on the day our Federal Government executed the first prisoner in 17 years. His name is Danny Lee, and he was put to death in Terre Haute, Indiana. Our state. On top of that, two others face a similar fate this week.
The original Judge, Prosecutor, and victims’ family opposed killing Lee because the Co-Defendant was more culpable and received life in prison. They were ignored while our President had time to commute the sentence of his buddy, Roger Stone. No time for Lee, however.
But why blame Trump when many of his supporters embrace his cowardness and shameful ineptitude. He faked bone spurs to avoid service in Vietnam, but that was okay. He still refuses to make public his tax returns, but who cares. He continues to let our country drown as virus infections escalate, but who really needs to wear a mask.
In addition, his treatment of immigrants reminds me of the treatment of Jews in Germany as described in Peter Fritzsche’s powerful book “Hitler’s First Hundred Days.” Their initial treatment resembled Trump’s herding Hispanic migrants into concentration-type camps where many are separated from their children. Like Trump, Hitler sought to make Germany great again, the main difference being that he didn’t wear a red hat.
Though executions are inconsistent with our Declaration of Independence, Trump supporters yell a version of “Heil Trump.” Despite our founders finding that “life” was an inalienable right guaranteed to all Americans, Trump proudly chants to applause, “Off with their heads.”
Many Americans applaud the Supreme Court when it found that religious principles allow the firing of gay teachers and denying insurance for contraceptives. But doesn’t the Ten Commandments admonishment “Thou shall not kill” forbid executions? After all, if the government killing of citizens doesn’t violate God’s law, don’t you think God would approve women using contraceptives?
But the problem facing our country on this issue doesn’t end there. Put another way, does the Right to Life movement, most of whom support Trump, feel that life begins at conception and ends at birth? If your goal is to eliminate all abortions, by what religious authority do you justify putting a child to death as an adult?
Just as Hitler stoked anger and fear as crowds cheered, Trump is no different. He embraces Confederate monuments as he stokes anger concerning black protestors. I feel exhausted and terrified.
In many ways, I also feel like British citizens whose lives were turned upside down when Germany bombed London in 1940-1941. Read Erik Larson’s magnificent “The Splendid and The Vile” and see if you don’t agree.
Like those in London under Churchill, we have to join hands and take pride in being an American. Our motto should be, “All for one and one for all.” The Nazis were defeated, and one can only remember the significance of voting in November.