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The fight for the soul of the Nation
La Voz Staff Photo

By David Conde

The Latino community on the border is under legal and physical attack. The institutions that have the responsibility for the security of the area have been so politicized that there is not even the veneer of distinction between “legal immigration” such as documented groups and asylum seekers and what at one time in the past was the transfer of undocumented working families from different regions in Mexico to the United States.

Immigrants that have been the foundation of American greatness are now generally barred from making that life-blood contribution to progress. Everywhere you see, there is a shortage of workers that drive the economy especially at the lower rungs of the ladder.

Do you get a sense that the Wall Street bubble and the employment numbers that we are presently experiencing are hiding something that makes you uneasy? Is full-employment closing the gap that the Great Recession caused relative to the reduction in middle-class numbers?

What is more important and more lasting is the health of our institutions beginning with the Constitution. In this regard, President Trump’s disrespect for the law has become legendary.

He is in the process of bending institutions, especially our security services and law enforcement, to his will with no thought to the fact that our institutions work for the people of the United States and all officials swear an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution.

Having said that, this did not begin with the Trump administration. Rather it is a 21st Century phenomenon that appears to have its roots in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

The attack on our homeland scared many to the point that they were willing to follow President Bush anywhere as long as it made America safer. That is where the lying began.

I recommend two best selling books that document attacks on American values and institutional framework as a result of the 9/11 hysteria. One is Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s Hubris: the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (2006) and Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (2008).

The first documents the events, lies, misinterpretation of evidence and misuse of our security services to make the case for the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent regime change. The second deals with the institution of torture as an official part of interrogation of captured terrorists and enemy combatants.

In both cases, the slippery slope of corrupt intent compromised the integrity of American governmental institutions and their leadership. In this regard, Vice President Cheney appears to be the principle agitator for war and torture.

The Obama administration came into power just as the Great Recession became severe. He did however take time to reverse American policy on torture and brought back Constitutional guarantees as a mainstay in treating prisoners.

The election of Donald Trump ushered a brand of populism that disrespects the practice of civility that can be the basis for bring people together. He also has brought back the practice of corrupting institutions and challenging the Constitution.

The battle today is much like it has been throughout the 21st Century. It is a battle for the ideals of a country seeking to perfect its democratic experiment.

In a sense, our divisions are just another challenge like many others we have faced in the past. It is the make up of America and the American soul that should be preserved.





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