Our democracy hasn’t recognized the concept of “other” since passage of the 14th and 19th Amendments (equal protection; women’s right to vote) and adoption of Title IX (gender equality in education). At great cost, America defeated Nazi Germany’s Aryan white supremacist eradication of the “other” 60 years ago. Nevertheless, the president fixates on glorifying his “self,” including in the face of horrific traumas suffered by some of us. This distasteful habit soils the “American Us” by resurrecting, from the scrapyard of shameful chapters in American history, the defeated Aryan concept of “other” – any who are “different” from the Aryan supremacist “self” – which his rhetoric unleashes upon the American Us. This callousness was on display in El Paso, a strongly Hispanic community in mourning visited by a president who has character assassinated Hispanics for years and who has directed his ICE agents to be “tougher” on illegal (Hispanic) immigrants. As a consequence, ICE earlier planned and secretly scheduled, then executed raids targeting Hispanics promptly after the presidential visit, resulting in mass arrests and a new chapter in the ongoing, sordid Trump doctrines of family separation and supremacist behavior leaving American citizen – children parentless on the first day of school. The magnificence of democracy, and the extraordinary historical value of the American presidency within our democracy, are pummeled each day by unspeakable behaviors of this president, whose words and actions are disconnected from common courtesy, devoid of basic human kindness, promote “us” versus “them” supremacist language and behaviors, and demean America’s integrity. We, the American people, all of our elected representatives, across all real or imagined “lines,” should seek out ways large and small, public and private, to restore America’s constitutional institutions and separation of democratic powers, and to resist this bankrupted presidency, from today through November 3, 2020.

John Erickson

Brainerd