Despite the current administration's overall trending away from the hopeful ideals the country was founded on in both rhetoric and action, the United States of America remains steadfast in its commitment to freedom. Though there may be progress yet to achieve and a disagreement on how to get there, the American people are driven by a desire to - above all else - be better.
Many argue that the current administration's mode of discourse, which is frequently mean-spirited, indecent and uncivil, its disregard for honesty and frequent use of misstatements of fact in attacks on those it sees as opponents and its praise of totalitarian, anti-democratic leaders abroad and tolerance for abusive conduct within its own team (see, e.g., Pruitt Had a $50-a-Day Condo Linked to Lobbyists. Their Client's ...) presents a threat to U.S. democracy that is unparalleled in its history and that risks fundamentally turning the U.S. away from what it has been - a fundamentally honest, non-corrupt people and nation that debates problems and seeks solutions through honest, civil discourse.
The U.S. has faced huge threats before (the Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War), but in each of those instances, there could be no real question as to the strength of the moral compass that ultimately guided it. Imperfections, yes, absolutely, but no real question that good, honesty and decency would ultimately prevail.
Are we facing a different kind of challenge now?
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This is the Issue under which to discuss the fundamental values of the American people - and the importance of not just what is done but how it is done. The issues we face are complex, and good, honest, decent people can differ on their thoughts about what should be done to address many of them. But the manner of getting to the decision is arguably more important - in the long term - to our country. Do we reach our decisions through honest discussion of issues without resort to demonizing? For instance, it's on thing to debate whether better security is required for the U.S. board with Mexico. Reasonable, decent people can come to different points of view on what to do there. But it's another thing entirely to say that a wall is needed because Mexican's are thieves and rapists. When government officials deceive (e.g., assertions that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when clearly there was no reasonable basis to make that assertion) or resort to hate mongering, the very essence of the moral compass that guides us as a people is imperiled.
This is also the place to discuss how we get to a humane resolution of our "illegal immigration issues." Surely we are not a people who rips families apart and surely we are not a people who even thinks of sending away honest, productive members of our community who are no less American than any American citizen because their parents came to the U.S. without legal status. Or are we?
And this is the place to discuss anything that tends toward authoritarianism, like the current adminsitatrion's elimination of Net Neutrality rules. Surely there is nothing more fundamental to our democracy, at this point in technological development, than open access to the Internet, without influence or interference in any way by the telecom providers who connect our households and businesses to the Internet.