America Burning

burning flag

Three years ago I posted the comments below never dreaming our national sin and shame of exploitation of the poor and tacit and overt racism would intensify to the pass they have reached in recent days.

Perhaps the civil unrest had to reach this point for the civil rights revolution of the 60s to become truly complete. A sad exigency to contemplate in a nation that promises, nay guarantees, its citizens “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” that in fact was founded on the now tattered principle that “All men are created equal” and deserve equal protection under the law.

The current injustices baked into our society demeaning and degrading non-white Americans cannot stand. As much as reasonable Americans of all races deplore the widespread riots and uncivil destruction of our neighborhoods across the land they are understandable and perhaps unavoidable.

Let’s hope that all the pain and tumult we are experiencing leads to a new awareness of the value of all human life and ushers in a new day that sees the real fulfillment of the American promise.


Originally posted Nov. 9, 2017

Okay, seriously.

In the last several months, my life has been strangely on hold in a sort of suspended animation as I became progressively more obsessed with the news, especially national political news.

My eyes have become stuck like suction cups to my computer and TV screens in glassy shock at what is unwinding in Washington. It’s put me in a hypnotized state of fear and dread similar to the effect of events in classical Greek tragedy. I have become riveted, frozen and fascinated at what is happening. Like so many thousands of Americans of every political persuasion, hue or situation, I am horrified and apprehensive at the seemingly hopeless inevitability of the doom awaiting the principle characters in our national drama and the corresponding civilian little people like you and me.

It’s been impossible to tear myself away. My work and social life have suffered as I intuitively responded to a higher call. Since the presidential election of last year, I have sat dumbstruck, paralyzed, and almost catatonic at the shameless trampling and desecration of basic American rights and values. Yes, in plain sight, in broad daylight, on camera, with no one gutsy or effective enough to ride in to the rescue.

“We the People,” like a Greek chorus, could only moan and mourn from the sidelines at what Fate had in store for the main characters. (I would call them heroes, as is the custom, but there are no heroes here).

           “Fake President”

trump hugging flag

For the fifth century Greeks, their busy whimsical mythology provided the basis or landscape and schadenfreude for their drama, which was a cultural and societal event that served to enlighten and purge the dread from the audience which itself was subject to the terrors of Fate.

In our case, the Constitution, the Judiciary, and our shared American history, if you will recall, form the bedrock foundation for our national drama and function as the guardians of our freedom and way of life. To our horror, decent citizens are enduring a daily drama of smirking violation and desecration of our sacred documents and form of government as they are piecemeal destroyed before our eyes as we watch stupefied from the sidelines. Today it’s a rara avis in Washington who has ever read the most revered and central documents of these United States, much less understood them. The prevailing ignorance afoot in D.C. among our elected officials is an embarrassment to all thinking citizens. The daily disrespect shown to the basic ethos of what it means to be an American, the degradation of our heretofore unassailled core beliefs, is astounding and  was unthinkable just five years ago.

No joke, friends, the barbarians are at the gate.

On and on the travesties go. Now, even after ten months of these increasingly crude disgraceful attacks, I am still chilled and infuriated by each new assault on our judicial system and civil liberties. They are unrelenting, ever more numerous, and show no signs of abating. Cumulatively, if they continue unopposed, they will undermine our republic and transform it into—what? An oligarchy? A dictatorship? A laughingstock before other nations of the world?

Once that would have been a far-fetched if not ludicrous idea. No more.

Yet we continue to blink in disbelief as this apocalyptic scenario plays out everywhere in the media, and ask ourselves, doubting what we see and hear, is this really happening? How can this be happening? I never dreamed—did you? that our electoral and legal systems were so fragile they were vulnerable to a frontal attack by a manifest moron. Did you?

But there you go! Isn’t life grand and full of surprises?

What really curls my hair is the grinning self-righteous hypocrisy of the GOP as it tries to use Trump as a sock puppet to further its own agendas, shamelessly acting as a giant shill for the top two percent of the most wealthy segment of our society.

But enough belly-aching. It’s time to do something about this. Time to get off the couch and go for it. Every adult American citizen with a pulse has a duty to get fired up, extend him/herself, get involved, and protest the warping of our laws and the profaning of the tenets upholding our way of life. It’s a civic duty, a mandatory civic duty, to protect–to fight for– the rule of law, our civil rights and the separation of powers.

This isn’t a responsibility any decent American can shirk. For with the privilege of having American citizenship and enjoying basic American freedoms and liberties come ethical and moral responsibilities, which must be discharged in the public sphere.

Procrastination in assuming this responsibility could spell death to the United States and the American way of life. Today, right now, pick up the phone, send emails and write angry letters to your congressional representatives, write letters to the editor and op-ed pieces expressing your outrage, your  justifiable objections to the way things are going. Call the scoundrels out! Better yet, show up at their offices unannounced with a laundry list of grievances. Organize, get organized, and join up with the many opposition groups that have formed to root out this rot before it undermines everything we are and what we stand for!

Run for office. Support and get out and vote for honorable trustworthy candidates.

We all know there is strength in numbers of like-minded citizens joining forces for the common good. We can beat this if we will. We can turn it around. However, it will take great political will to redeem our country from the rapacious thugs. And heroes, many heroes.

So what are we waiting for? We can’t afford to let the treasonous pols become any more entrenched. Come on, let’s go! We’re burning daylight just sitting here. #




About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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20 Responses to America Burning

  1. Perfectly said.

    Excellent essay.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. dgkaye says:

    Margaret, I hear you loud and clear. I could probably write you a book here on same topic, as many have and are already doing. I felt every word you wrote. The same has taken me over since the orange one has turned the world on its axis. I am a Canadian who has always felt the US was my second home, especially in the winter. My book has been delayed because I can’t stop listening to continuous breaking news and reading several journalists’ and political pages. I see the same writing on the wall, and this is the time to wake up, eerily similar to the late 1930s Germany where jews sat on the fence, unbelieving that something so heinous could happen while many fled with premonitions of what was coming. He is truly a Satan that the people made a bargain with. But from what I’m reading, the call is being heard. Last Tuesday was a taste of things to come to vote blue, vote gay, vote black, vote everyone. There is hope, but never stop using our voices, signing petitions and marching. The republicans stay silent hoping to pass their dirty bills and maybe once they get one passed under their belts, maybe they’ll consider doing the right thing and impeach. But I think trumputin will flee as Mueller gets closer to proof on him, before that happens. The world is watching. We could sure use more McCains, Corkers and Flakes. When a fake president states publicly that he believes girlfriend putin (yes, notice I don’t capitalize any of their names) more than his own American intelligence, that should be a huge flag to the country.
    We’ve had to cancel our annual winter rental in Arizona because I cannot in good conscience cross the border while he’s at the helm. Instead we’re going to Mexico, happy to be on that side of the wall. 🙂 Hugs to you my friend.
    P.S. I’m sharing this article in my private Facebook group called The Truthseekers. It’s a group where just a few of us started where we discuss the politics going on, without trump trolls invading our privacy and conversations. If you’re on Facebook and would like to join the group, just let me know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tina Frisco says:

    Margaret, I LOVE this righteous rant! and am with you 100%. I’ve been involved in most of the actions you suggest, ever since the orange-haired puppet took office.You’re right; we can – and will – turn this around. I refuse to accede to negative thinking, much less to the avarice and ignorance of those in office. Right on, sister! I’m sharing this and sending you a big hug. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Tina! We must hang together or we surely will hang separately. I truly believe we can reclaim our country if only the thinking, compassionate citizens–the majority–would get off their butts, stick their necks out by sounding off, and come together, organize and vote the scum out of office.

      The one thing we cannot do is become accustomed and indifferent to the vile subversion of our laws and civil rights. We cannot just shrug our shoulders if we are personally unaffected by the buffoons in Washington. We are responsible for all Americans and must ensure they are fairly treated, not exploited or ignored.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. annerallen says:

    Brilliant! I think all sane people are feeling the same way. It must have been like this to watch the Third Reich rise to power. Nobody could believe it was real, or that a clown could get that much power. And by the time everybody processed the reality…it was too late. It may already be too late for the American experiment. The thing is, the brainwashing-coup that started with Rush and Faux News, funded by Big Oil and the NRA has now infected 1/3 of the population. They sacrifice their own children on the altar of the NRA, vote to raise their own taxes, increase the deficit by 1.7 trillion and turn the country over to Russia. I’m not sure people this brain-dead and self-destructive can be redeemed.

    Liked by 3 people

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