One cannot help being depressed as we see our Democracy crumbling, especially as a result of the damage caused during the Trump administration. During, and now, after those long four years, the philosophy of fear and hate, vulgar and disparaging language, disdain for constitutional rules and regulations, and the open display of bigotry and racism has run rampant in our society.
That said, a glimpse of light brightens the darkness when groups and individuals heroically speak up and defy the Trumpites.
One such group that exemplifies courage defending our rights and defying the spreading darkness is the American Civil Liberties Union. They have been the watchdog of our civil rights for over 100 years. Individuals like John Lewis and his followers represent determined heroes, some of whom even sacrificed their lives in their battle for voting rights. Another standout example of light-bearing courage was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She steadfastly fought for equal justice and our constitutional rights. With shining optimism, she said, “Justices continue to think and can change; I am ever-hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow.”
The most recent example of heroism are the four officers who testified before Congress about how they tried to combat the insurrection in our Capitol on that dark Jan. 6 day. They put their lives on the line to save members of Con-gress who were in session at that time. These mad marauders, better-known as “domestic terrorists,” were determined to disrupt and stop the confirmation of the Biden presidential win. Members of Congress, and the Capitol staff and workers were protected because of the brave behavior of these men. It’s ironic and beyond belief that some of the congressmen, whose very lives were saved that day, are now trying to re-write history. They now claim there was no coup attempt on Jan. 6. Rather, they describe it as a day of respectful visitor protest.
Recently, the New York Times released hand-written notes, attributed to Trump, which urged Attorney General Barr, his replacement Jeffrey Rosen, and the Justice Department to simply announce that the election was corrupt. Then, said Trump, he’d take care of the rest! Fortunately, they declined.
The folks who blindly follow Trump, even in his coup attempt, call themselves Republicans. They are not Republicans in the true, traditional sense. True Republicans would not believe Trump’s “big lie” — that he actually won the election. They may not be speaking out against Trump, but I think/hope they would not fall prey to Trump’s lies, nor be supportive of his lust for power and greed. However, it has been reported that Trump has a huge war chest at his disposal, in excess of $100 million. It is tempting to be a Trumpite when there is the possibility of gaining some of his war chest treasure if they are one is one of his favorites.
This Trump-induced evil of power and greed has indeed darkened present times and our future. Perhaps those who are true Republicans will finally denounce Trump and what he represents. Why not follow the lead of Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and Democrats who want to seek out and shine a light on the truth, thereby honoring their political party and the nation?
Can we bring light to the darkness surrounding us and adopt Justice Ginsburg’s optimism, believing that right will overcome wrong and strengthen our democracy?
Harriet Hausman is a longtime resident of River Forest and a member of the ACLU.