We’ve all heard
the rhetoric from Donald Trump. His attacking the City of Baltimore's quality
of life with the term "infestation". Attacking SF & LA for their
homeless problem. Attacks on Chicago for its violence. Attacks on Puerto
Rico 2 year ago while it staggering to recover in the wake of hurricane.
Calling other countries "shitholes"--. and his
worse-than-indifference response families and children seeking refuge at
The leader of
our country, elected to the most powerful office with tens of thousands of employees
at his command, can offer only criticism without offering help or assistance. Nihilism.
This is what
inspired the clergy of Washington's National Cathedral to write a letter rebuking Donald
Trump, asking “Where is his decency?” echoing those who challenged
Senator Joseph McCarthy’s rhetoric in 1950's.. His lack of humanity.
The clergy then
turned it around, asking the rest of the county where is OUR decency that
we tolerate his behavior and rhetoric without speaking up?
But with Trump’s
dark noise filling the media news of progress to fix problems is lost. Positive
acts of good government and decency by leaders and activists are downed out .
We have lost
sight of our better selves as a country. In fact, it becomes hard
to imagine America as anything but a Hobbesian zero-sum game, a negotiation
about getting what is owed you at the expense of someone else. Theories of
corruption and conspiracy in government abound. Ideas like Chemtrails,
Antivaxxer, , George Soros, and Climate Change Denial even the Flat Earth
Society, all based on conspiracy theories are legitimated in this climate. The mentally
ill man who shot Davis officer Corona did it based on a conspiracy theory that
is supported on the internet. And it is to be noted someone made a public
comment at city council just 4 weeks after that shooting affirming their belief
that conspiracy theory the inspired the tragic shooting was real.
But if you were at
City Hall on after midnight Tuesday 7/30/19 you could see decency in action--
how people care for one another, even the stranger.
I was at that
Davis City Council meeting at 12:20am, I was staying to speak on a minor agenda
item on Trees. This was 7 hours into a meeting that began at 5:30pm and had ran
almost non-stop (only a few bathroom breaks). Twenty minutes after midnight
Council & staff began an agenda item on where and what services to put at a
new respite center for our local homeless population.
Still in the
room at midnight were not just council members and city staff—but also 15 Davis
residents who stayed up to make a public comment to council on the issue. To
provide useful input on the different options for the homeless center. To
altruistically advocate for Council to take action to help the neediest in our
the problem and working on it. The opposite of Nihilism.
I thought of the
contrast between the dark rhetoric from the President Trump and how he used
Government, and this scene that was playing out before my eyes in City Council
Chambers. It moved me to tears.
When Trump was
elected 33 months many of us said “this was not normal”. Our local leaders, and
the Davis Community on Midnight Tuesday proved Trump‘s world view has not been
normalized. We still stand up for decency in Davis.
We believe in participatory democracy here