The Choice Before Us

Published: November 4, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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It’s no longer about right vs. wrong; it’s about Democrat vs. Republican.

It’s not about looking at the facts; it’s about looking at the latest tweet from the president.

It’s not about loyalty to the Constitution; it’s about loyalty to a corrupt president and his die hard base.

That’s Washington, in a nutshell.

What’s missing from that curt analysis is that this democracy is facing a crisis that has only taken place twice in its 243-year history. Which way it goes will depend upon a forthright, sober presentation of the facts, and elected officials who will review those facts without fear or favor.

However, this president and his Republican allies appear to be inextricably entwined, the yin and yang of national dysfunction. What one says, the other defends, and the only fact that matters is getting re-elected.

This is the reality we all live in and the decision-making that’s being made to benefit a man who continues to disparage institutions and individuals and allegedly makes deals with foreign leaders to investigate political rivals in exchange for money Congress has already appropriated.

This is about a president who has so thoroughly poisoned the waters of honesty, respect, and responsibility, that legislators have become stone deaf to the qualities that brought them to Washington in the first place. Instead, they willingly stand by a man even as he continues to tear down the values once esteemed by Lincoln and Reagan.

This isn’t the age of Trump. It’s an age of cynicism, a deeply corrosive suspicion where a small, but electorally significant segment disbelieves a majority of honest, hardworking career government officials and instead places their trust in a single individual who lies and self-deals.

Sadly, Trump is only the latest manifestation of this national acrimony following the likes of Senator Joseph McCarthy, General Edwin Walker and Huey Long; men who used their own megaphones to persuade the rest of the nation of false conspiracies and misinformation in an attempt to push the nation into the abyss of fear and distrust but failed.

In its current incarnation, technology is manipulated to make many believe things like vaccinations cause autism, Sandy Hook was fabricated with “crisis actors,” climate change is a hoax and the press is “the enemy of the people.”

In more rational times, these things would easily be dismissed, but now we have a chief executive with the biggest megaphone in the country who instantly tweets out to his 66 million followers conspiracies, lies and disinformation, even as he tells those followers that “the best people” he appointed and were fired or resigned were inept or “dumb as a rock”; that he knows better than career military generals; that he knows more about intelligence than analysts.

When we allow ourselves to buy into the deceit and cynicism, we lose our faith; faith in institutional leaders who have shown us the truth in the past; faith in our democracy; faith in each other.

The choice before us is clear: either we choose the abyss; or we step out of the shadow of manipulative lies and work through our differences using the democratic processes our Constitution provides.


  1. Even though I get sick, I must not become complacent. Truth, integrity and many other values that you write about are our foundation.

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