By Bill Barclay
On every one of his first 40 days in office, Trump made false statements in public. They ranged from assertions that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, causing him to lose the popular vote, to claiming that the United States has a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada. (We had an $8.1 billion dollar trade surplus with Canada in 2016.) Then the flood of lies receded – but only for a day.
What does all this have to do with patriotism and the 4th of July? Patriotism, especially around the 4th of July, all too easily and too often, takes the form of “My country, right or wrong.” The best counter, the meaning of “true patriotism,” was articulated by the German revolutionary, Civil War General in the Union army, senator from Missouri and anti-imperialist Carl Schurz: “Our country – when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.” To be in the right as well as to recognize when we are wrong and need to be put right implies the need to speak and recognize and act on the truth, wherever that path may lead us.
In the fact-free world of Trumpism, that seems increasingly difficult. Truth, Justice and the American Way, the catch phrase of Superman, perhaps the best-known superhero, today may appear as internally contradictory, an oxymoron. Maybe it takes a woman to actually connect truth and justice as Wonder Woman does through her Lasso of Hestia that forces the truth from all entwined in its loops.
Isn’t it a Wonder(ful) image to envision Trump caught in the tangles of Hestia’s lasso?
Bill Barclay is a co-chair of Chicago DSA.
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