Good people and an unrecognizable America

Lamenting the Trump administration and the disappearance of folks with morals

The author, a longtime Paradise resident and retired biologist, moved to the coast after losing his home in the Camp Fire.

I’ve known many good people all my life, and I meet more every day. They are neighbors, store clerks, mechanics, plumbers, medical professionals and civil servants. They have high moral standards and abide by the Golden Rule. I’ve worked with them, played with them, drank beer with them, argued with them and cried with them.

So where are they today? They’ve been absent as the president of the United States continually and purposefully brings the scum within their ranks to the surface; a man who supports those who believe their only responsibility is to personal gratification. Where are they when our government looks more favorably at the current economic and political polls than it does at the immediate and long-term health and safety of its citizens and the environment? Where are they when their president publicly blames ethnic groups for all the ills of the nation?

It scares me to see them sitting in the front rows of the Trump rallies, waving placards and laughing when he condemns those of differing ethnicities, political views and religions. By all outward appearances, they look like “good” people. It scares me to see how many of them are accompanied by children who are too young to vote but already indoctrinated in the hate their parents support. What scares me even more is my realization that some of the “good” people I’ve known for a long time have successfully hidden from me their prejudices and self-serving interests over the rights of others.

The appearance of rational people reminds me of author Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers. But in this case, what we see is belied by a determination to move American society to a herd mentality, a lack of morality, and domination through physical and economic strength.

This is not the America I was brought up to respect. It’s not the place that brought tears to my eyes when I heard the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s not the nation where I can continue to place my hand over my heart and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. This is a foreign country I never dreamed of residing in.