Connecting the Dots: How to ensure what we want for America

  • John Bos FILE PHOTO

Published: 7/22/2022 5:06:09 PM
Modified: 7/22/2022 5:05:45 PM

I know what I don’t want for America. I know what I see that is destroying the America I want to spend my few remaining years living in.

I know what must be stopped to end America’s slide down into the abyss of authoritarianism. Into control of the many by the feudal few with financial mastery over a growing peasant class that was formerly rescued from poverty by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in 1933. When after the Great Depression the federal, not state, government created programs to improve the economic welfare for so many people and birthed the American Dream. What has become today’s diminishing dream for the fading middle class. The New Deal programs the ultra-conservatives have been trying to dismantle for more than 60 years. The anti-Federal government crowd has never been as close to their feudal finish line than is today’s Trumpian dystopia. They’ve never gotten as close to dismantling the yet-to-be-perfected democratic experiment in the public laboratory since 1776. They’ve never been closer to weaving a social fabric colored white only because to them “true white” lacks the presence of any other color.

The only way.

Exactly one week ago I woke early with a vision for today’s column. I lay in bed for two more hours trying to formulate how I might explain what it was that kept me wide awake in bed for two hours on a glorious Saturday morning.

The insistent thrumming of the questions that were slowly forming within me began to take shape in words. In addition to my question, “What kind of country do I want to spend my few remaining years living in?” I asked myself, “What kind of a country do I want my soon-to-retire son and daughter-in-law to live in?” And my two grandsons, just starting college; “What kind of a country will be in place after their education to then work and raise their families-to-be in?”

These questions, like the maple-sugaring process, boil down to one question: “What kind of America do I believe in?”

It is not easy to describe the America I believe in. I know what I don’t want. I don’t want the kind of America that is happening right now. I believe that is true for millions of other Americans. It is impossible to ignore the political cabal that is leading our descent into authoritarianism and all that comes with it. This includes the swarm of unqualified candidates for national office who will do and say anything to gain Trumpian favor.

I knew, lying in bed last weekend, that I wanted to somehow make the case that voting in the mid-term and 2024 elections is the only way to resuscitate America’s future. I wanted to “tell” myself and my readers what the next steps are that we must take. What we must demand from anyone running for office from town clerk and police chief to senator and the really big one — president of the United States of America. To stress that the only possibility for those of us yearning for a more humane and egalitarian America and to stem the toxic tide of Trumpism is to vote. And to urge everyone you know to vote.

What are the questions?

Lastly, I wanted to suggest the kinds of questions we should ask any candidate like, “What will you do to resuscitate the American experiment, to get our country back on the track to fine-tuning the democratic country envisioned by our country’s founders?”

To ask questions like this I/we must be able to describe how American democracy could work. How it should be represented in the Halls of Congress, in town halls and high school auditoriums in small towns and large cities all over America. How I/we must articulate the way in which a socially and economically sustainable America can work. In no way is this easy. I have yet to achieve a clarity of this vision in words that satisfies me. It is really, really difficult to describe the specific ways in which this country I want to live might function.

The Socratic notion that “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing” does not hold for me in this case. If I can’t articulate what I want for America, how in hell can I ask a candidate for Congress or the Senate or the White House how she or he will achieve what I so urgently want for the future of America?

Can you?

John Bos lives in Greenfield. He is the son of immigrant parents. His father was a Republican, his mother a Democrat and his grandfather who lived with them a Socialist and Pacificist. This column is published every other Saturday in the Recorder. Bos is also a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. Comments and questions are invited at john01370@gmail.com.


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