17 September 2018

[Ellis Millsaps] - Light in August

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
-Hosea 8:7

The last week in August the best and worst of America were on display. The week started with the death of John McCain and the president’s petty refusal to lower the flag until the American Legion forced his hand.

We saw three memorial services for the American hero, each profound, moving and occasionally quite funny. There were a number of brilliant eulogies, but not even Barack Obama matched Joe Biden in capturing John McCain’s America.

As the week of mourning unfolded the current president tweeted away, mostly whining that the Justice Department wasn’t acting as his KGB. He did this throughout the services for McCain and Aretha Franklin, but the stations I watched didn’t break to tell us that “news,” saving it for their end of the day “oh, by the way…”

I don’t know how they handled it on Fox.

By the end of the week I imagined I could feel a shift in the national psyche, a ray of light piercing one of the republic’s darkest hours, a recognition that the time has come to shoulder the burden of making America great again in the eyes of the world. We have lost so much prestige and leadership in the last seventeen months that it will take a long time for us to be trusted again.

This morning I saw a brother and sister lobster fishing team being interviewed. The rosy pair were asked if they knew who Paul Manafort is. No, what about Robert Mueller. Who’s that?

When I see things like that I wonder if it’s only we “elites” who care about the future of the American experiment in democracy, but these kids probably won’t vote anyway. I see signs that young people in general are going to register and vote. If they do, the self immolation of the Republican Party will be manifest, the party that brought us Donald Trump whom they lack the spine to oppose when he undermines basic American values.

They have no one to blame but themselves. When we hear a president lying on an hourly basis, not like Johnson on the Gulf of Tonkin debacle that won’t be apparent for decades, but tells lies knowing that we know he’s lying, do we wonder how we got here?

I don’t. I look to the “mainstream” Republicans who have consistently maintained (and still do) when passing legislation restricting access to voting that they weren’t trying to keep voters likely to oppose them from exercising their franchise. No, they were trying to prevent (non existent) voter fraud.

Trump took public acceptance of lying and ran with it. He took their dog whistle racism and made it overt, and now we find ourselves in this dark time when children are taken from their parents and caged. Anyone who truly cares about the Republican party will vote for Democrats.

Ellis is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...