By Assemblymember Steven Sanders
“Wouldn’t you like to see one of these NFL owners say to someone who disrespects our flag, get that son of a bitch off the field now… you’re fired!”
With that stunning unprovoked rant against professional athletes engaging in protesting what they believe to be societal injustices, the president of the United States proved conclusively that he has no understanding of our Constitution, our history or our American values.
Donald Trump may be president, but he does not speak for me or most Americans, nor does he represent the democracy and sense of decency that millions of Americans fought to preserve over the many years.
It may be redundant, but I guess it needs repeating, that this nation is founded on laws and not the whims (or tweets) of any particular man or woman.
The bedrock of our democracy is built on our Constitution and particularly the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. These are our unique national ethics and statement of principles, and which sets our nation apart from other governments.
The very first precept of the Bill of Rights is the guarantee of free speech and expression. It is what allows citizens to peaceably assemble and protest government policies or leaders and to participate in non-violent civil disobedience if they so choose. It is what separates us from Russia, China, North Korea and so many other repressive regimes in the world. It is the document that gave life to the civil rights movement and other causes that opposed government policies and actions, including the Vietnam War and Watergate.
With Donald Trump’s vilification of the independent press and unfavorable media coverage, now coupled with his offensive against free speech and lawful protest, he has demonstrated his willful ignorance and disregard of what truly has made America great and exceptional and he reveals himself to be utterly ill equipped for the office of the presidency that he now dangerously occupies.
Donald Trump cares primarily for acclaim and applause by whomever is willing to genuflect to his perceived prowess and his persona.
This conclusion is reached with no satisfaction but rather with sadness. However, it also must be met with resolve. Our democratic pluralistic traditions and heritage are at stake.
After 1945 many shell shocked Germans wondered how one man could have brought their once cultured and democratic nation so low. They were reminded that evil succeeds when good persons do nothing.
I pray we need never face such a moment of national recrimination and regret.