This morning, as I watched Sandra watching Zandy the cat watching the squirrels, on the other side of the glass-paned door, the real world seemed a million miles away.
Here on Post Lane, our major activities include feeding the cats – four inside and two still stubbornly outside. And the possum. And the squirrels.
Now that the weather has warmed up, I go across the grassy drainage ditch to hit golf balls on the church grounds next door. The church people don’t mind. If they happen to be around, they always say hi and sometimes we chat.
It’s been that way for two decades. I’ve watched Pastor John’s son grow from a polite preschooler into a polite young man. He’s a great kid. When he was ten or eleven, I used to marvel at the way he drove his dad’s truck and even a small tractor they had over there. In high school, he played in the band.
I don’t share their politics, of course. So we talk about other things.
America’s first black president has come and gone, an episode that now seems entirely unbelievable. Did Americans really elect and re-elect a black man as head of state? Really?
With a white supremacist in the White House, this is a different America now. A powerful tide of white resentment has been revealed – along with a surprising tolerance for authoritarianism.
In this America, you are accused of treason if you fail to stand and applaud when the president speaks. And you are pilloried if you protest racist policies by refusing to stand for the National Anthem.
In this America you must pretend to believe things you know are not true, to honor people you regard as despicable, to accept corruption as ordinary and routine.
In this America, the obviously unworthy president has decreed a massive military parade in his honor.
Congress and the courts, designed by the Founding Fathers to limit the president’s power, are becoming mere tools of that power. The credibility of the press, once considered the Fourth Estate, has been undermined and a raucous propaganda machine is supplanting legitimate news media.
No, this is not yet Russia. But the signs point in that direction. Are Americans – the majority of Americans anyway – OK with surrendering their democracy as the price for making America white again?
Thomas Jefferson observed that:
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
Have we become timid in the United States of America? Time will tell, I suppose. The wheels of government go round and round, political factions go up and down…
Here on Post Lane we watch it happening from far, far away. And we feed the cats. We feed the possum. We put out raw peanuts for the squirrels.
In November we get to cast our votes. There’s not much else we can do.