We read in Proverbs, “without a vision the people will perish.” President Trump fails the leadership responsibility of providing a moral vision for our country. He does not seem to understand that America cannot be great if it is not good, even when our actions fall short of our expressed ideals, those ideals must be stated.
Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, even many who did not vote for Obama, saw his election as a partial realization of the foundational idea of America that all people are created equal. West Virginians in the 1960 Democratic primary when they voted for John F. Kennedy stood up against anti-Catholic bigotry and thus expanded the freedom which is at the very heart of the American experiment. We know in our soul the importance of our belief in freedom and equality to our well-being.
When President Trump draws a moral equivalence between our country and Putin’s Russia, when he takes Putin’s word over that of our intelligence officials (who have taken an oath to uphold our Constitution), when he praises authoritarian rulers such as Erdogan, and Kim Jong Un, for their strength, when he attempts to prevent Muslims from coming into the U.S. (and he tries to make us afraid of Muslims by lying to us about Muslims in New Jersey on 9/11), when he tries to interfere in FBI investigations, when he calls neo-Nazis and white supremacists very fine people, he shows he doesn’t understand the moral foundations of our country and the importance of the rule of law.
In his eulogy of Adlai Stevenson President Johnson said of Stevenson, “He believed in us more than we deserved and thereby made us better than we were.” President Trump believes in us and the ideas upon which our country rests less than deserved and thereby has made us and our nation worse.