America on the Skids by James Lloyd Davis

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The Fourth of July, the day which marks the independence of America. On this day in 1776, Thomas Jefferson sent a letter of intent to the King of England to declare independence from the kingdom after years of oppression, taxes, seizure of property and in some cases violence. The Declaration of Independence marked the beginning of a new era, where American Democracy was created and that everyone was granted freedom and equal rights. It took many years of efforts and even a Civil War in between, but the democracy America has is that of endurance, strength and unity for all. It’s one that has been looked up to by many countries, some with envy and some with jealousy.

Yet this American democracy is on the decline. Especially since the time Barack Obama left the White House, it has been falling apart, bit by bit. Instead of unity we have discord. Instead of a stable system with Congressional, Judicial and Executive Branches having a say, we have a dysfunctional system where two parties collide, the Courts are weakening to rule for the privileged and the White House is being declawed and defanged, left to choose which party to side and not thinking of the common person. Is our American democracy coming to an end?

This is something that well-renowned writer James Lloyd wrote about a few days ago that I would like to share with you today to think about. We are seeing changes that even ten years ago we could not have imagined. It’s a question of whether we like those changes or if we want to return to the good ole days and if the latter, whether we have the strength and the will to do so. Skeptics have claimed that it is too late. But if that is the case, how do we explain this to our children?  And especially as those who have lived through it are leaving us?  

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Dear America,

This is it… and when it’s written, I have nothing more to say about our nation and the way it’s shaking out, losing what little it had in the way of humanity or compassion, cooperation or integrity within both factions of its governance. We’re a nation on the skids in some epic, metaphorical, now losing fight for what it could have been.

Me? I’ve said all this before and more times than I care to remember. Besides, I’m living on borrowed time as it is and don’t have the span thereof or the power with which to make a difference. My voice is pretty much a whisper that few will ever hear, much less pay heed to with any more than a nod or a shrug or a cluck of the tongue. It’s also a very high probability that I won’t live long enough to vote the next election in November, so even that little bit of an edge I could have offered won’t be there.

Either way, given the present trajectory and the caliber of most successful candidates running in November, both Democrat and Republican, the downward spiral will continue at an accelerated pace thereafter. Even lip service to the supposed and unique characteristics written haphazardly into our founding documents that spoke to… if not quite guaranteed… the intent to provide liberty, equality, and justice for everyone seems to have lost its forward momentum. In the beginning, those concepts only guaranteed such ideals for the few, the white, and the wealthy males like those who composed our Constitution, but over the years it managed to grudgingly include, if in limited fashion, nearly everyone else within our borders as we progressed in a slow, but promising pace. 

Today, however, much of that progress has been erased and the forces that drive the reversal have gained more power… greater authority and acceptance… than anyone could have imagined just a few short years ago. Their work has only begun and the outcome is already bad. And what comes next, America, may not be something you can stop and the energy that drives this momentum is strengthened by your own blindness and your curious inability to ever imagine you are wrong. Democracy itself is threatened by clever and cynical concepts of exceptionalism that blind both sides of your warped and bifurcated “political” perspectives. As a people, a nation, you have lost your common sense and won’t admit it, waving your many metaphorical flags… so taken with your narrow perspectives, you no longer see the humanity in those with whom you disagree.

History shows us where that leads and you are, every one of you, so taken up with the certainty of your own “truth” that you no longer have the ability to even understand what is required for that perfect goal that we have, though imperfectly, sought to achieve. Today, whichever side has the ability to overcome by overwhelming force… with one side willing to forego the rule of law and another unwilling to demand its application… lawlessness will succeed. There is no longer, among many in this country, even the pretext of integrity and in that lawless fashion by which the winners will overcome, suppression and oppression, even violent persecution are the inevitable outcome for the losing factions. As it has been in the past, in other nations, so it will be for us.

I won’t be here to see it, but most of you who bother to read this will be here. It’s your future, not mine. Just don’t harbor any more illusions about the inevitable outcome. Get ready… stop pretending… face the facts. Or not. You’ve come this far without much of a plan or the will to alter our course, so maybe this is what you wanted all along.  Democracy, after all, is an awful lot of work, if you want to do it right. Who has time for all that reading… right?

Respectfully,

James

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Something to think about as we reflect on this important holiday laden with grill fests, family gatherings and fireworks.

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James Lloyd Davis used to work in the industry as an ironworker, shipfitter, boilermaker and an engineer before he became a writer. He has written several works including his newest one, The Magic Bullet, which was written in 2021 and is a fictional novel dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Another book, Shrapnel, is a collection of short stories he wrote over the years. He resides in Ohio with his wife, Mary Anne Kolton, who is also a writer. You can find his website here.

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