The recent presidential election makes clear that we have lost our way.

Our climate is already radically changed by carbon pollution; our present course promises mass migrations, unbearable heat, famine, even human extinction.

Our capitalist economy depletes resources as if they are in infinite supply and globalizes manufacturing to create a wage race to the bottom, supported by our violent world domination – to feed astronomical greed.

Naked racism rejects refugees and continues marginalization, often violently, of dark-skinned fellow citizens. And we move toward a national security police state that reduces or eliminates basic freedoms – rights to life, free speech, privacy, assembly, movement.

The fall campaigns and mass media studiously avoided addressing these challenges. The one candidate who recognized pressing environmental and economic crises was sabotaged by his own party to favor a clueless champion of the status quo. The Democratic National Committee ignored the impetus for structural change, and Republicans chose a narcissistic demagogue who fooled a failed system’s victims. His Cabinet choices of ill-qualified ideologues promise a skein of disasters.

How did we come to this? A natural bounty open for the taking; a history of enslaved, indentured and exploited labor; distance from the realities of wars on someone else’s turf – all have fueled an illusion of exceptionalism. Capitalism inherently fosters consumption and the illusion that wealth is within reach of all. It brainwashes the masses with sanitized news, distracts with entertainment and ignores and demonizes the poor.

Anchorless and self-absorbed, we’ve become indifferent to the suffering, blaming and penalizing the poor for their fates instead of a corrupt system that has abandoned them. Too many are content to breathe the noxious air of Trumpian denial. Confusing belief with knowledge, they reject scientific truth regarding climate degradation, water and food contamination and much more. So much for education!

Whatever the explanations and whatever obstacles we face with a Donald Trump presidency, Republican Congress and even more money-oriented Supreme Court, we have to find our way anew. And we have no time to dally and dither. We have to honor the Constitution’s commitment of our government to “promotion of the general welfare” – the common good. We have to become faithful stewards, if only to survive. We have to:

 Unify nongovernmental organizations committed to public service, demanding as one that all seeking public office commit to promoting “the general welfare” and opposing anything that ill serves the common good.

 Recognize that present climate change is not a matter of opinion or faith but scientific fact. It challenges the continuity of countless species, including our own. Reduction of carbon pollution must take precedence over drilling rights for oil, mining coal, fracking for natural gas, burning wood, refining oil, manufacturing goods, driving, flying and any form of carbon production not necessary to life.

Nonpolluting energy must replace fossil fuel, now! Politicians must prioritize environmental sustainability over needless pollution and profit.

• Resolve human differences nonviolently. Government is responsible for engaging in diplomacy, mediation, arbitration and worldwide disarmament. The U.S. must cease direct military domination of the planet and stop providing funds and arms to repressive regimes.

• Establish an economy that ensures living-wage employment with benefits and meeting basic needs before needless consumption, profit and greed. Heavily tax the over-rewarded.

• Recognize our responsibility for victims of policies and trade agreements that have stolen jobs and dignity and driven economic migration. We are obliged, as fellow human beings, to “welcome the stranger in our midst” – refugees of NAFTA, strife and natural disasters – to the extent our resources allow.

• Honor human dignity and show mercy. Incarceration and its denial of freedom should be occasioned only to safeguard lives and accompanied by rehabilitation.

• Oppose sacrifice of civil liberties. Oppose normalizing a national security state in a permanent “war on terrorism.”

• Demand that churches, schools, media, and labor and business organizations meet their responsibility to educate the citizenry in ethical and social obligations.

• Expose those candidates not fully committed to promoting the general welfare as unqualified. Pay no attention to them. Refuse them support.

This will remind the alienated and victimized who voted for change that government has a moral foundation to which all should commit – that a human community cannot accommodate racism, bigotry and the kind of antisocial economic license Trump has exemplified.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.