Friday, June 5, 2020

Time to Cool and Unify

The 90 degree heat, experienced for the second day in a row, broke last night as thunderstorms rolled across the area. Much needed rain was received which revived the plants. Hopefully, the rain will cool the rhetoric in the nation a bit.

It was a tumultuous day with statements by a very respected General and former Secretary of Defense about the nation's situation being published. And then, there were corroborating statements from other retired generals. And tweets, of course there were tweets. 

I read former Secretary of Defense James Mattis' statement. While some parts were highlighted in the news, I found two paragraphs especially meaningful towards the end of his statement, one of which was extensively quoted, but the paragraph preceding it provides an important and interesting historical context. I am using the statement as quoted in The Atlantic article, James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.
Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

Despite yesterday's tweets about General Mattis, the president made the following statement about the general at his swearing-in ceremony on January 27, 2017:

I'd like to first congratulate General James Mattis, now Secretary Mattis. Secretary Mattis has devoted his life to serving his country. He is a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action. He likes action. He is the right man at the right time, and he will do us all very, very proud.

I think the statement that I highlighted is more true than was realized at the time. 

We need to heed the general's words and resist efforts to divide us. We must set aside political divisions and also overcome cultural and ethnic divisiveness. We are all different and unique, but we are all Americans and our diverse nature is what makes us strong unlike any other country on the planet. We embrace our diversity.

We American citizens are the "We the People" referred to in the preamble of the Constitution. "We the People" have the ultimate power to effect change and ensure the survival of the Republic described in the Constitution.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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