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  • Writer's pictureGregory N. Austin

Return to the Beginning

Imagine a political system where accountability, truth and justice can be waived by the whims of an authoritarian. I am not talking about Russia, but our own country.

Imagine a political system where accountability, truth and justice can be waived by the whims of an authoritarian. I am not talking about Russia, but our own country. Vladimir Putin liked what he saw in the USA, under Trump. But I can assure the average voter that past Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan would not tolerate the fact that past President Trump venerates Putin ahead of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. What gives? And why? George Washington warned of outside foreign influence in American politics. With so much disinformation and especially Putin’s admiration of ex-President Trump, we now see reason for alarm. We need to reaffirm our form of government—our U.S. Constitution is over 240 years old and served us well through good times and bad. We should never surrender to mob rule or attempts at stopping a valid transfer of power. We all must honor subpoenas. We are a country of laws, not of cults that chase conspiracy theories ad nauseum. Some now want to make a deity out of a real estate salesman. One who paid $25 million to settle Trump University claimants, one who paid a $2 million fine for abuse of his family Foundation, one who in his business dealings, was sued over 3,500 times, one who was impeached twice, etc. etc. Is this the stuff from which a deity might emerge? Naming Donald Trump as a competitor to a just God is a shameful disgrace, and stunning in peculiarity. Remember, allegedly paying a porn star $130,000 for her silence is not a saintly act. Giving the top 10% of Americans a trillion dollars a year tax give away is not a sacred act. Leaving your country an eight trillion dollar deficit in four years of service while attempting to thwart the will of the voter has an acrid smell. Authoritarians do not fear a just God or the judgment of history. They only fear the loss of power and money.

Except for the Civil War, we have had over 200 years of peaceful transfer of power. And in the case of Donald Trump, we have had over 60 judges (some Trump appointees) find no evidence of fraud in this election. Yet a majority of Trump supporters still fall for the big lie. Why? The nature of the human race has a history of derailing moderation. They tire of their own laws and core values. There are too many leaders in hot pursuit, advancing these big lies about the election. Listening to false idols is okay by far too many. Facebook, twitter, and right-wing cable, feed the gullible endlessly.

We must recognize that without a vision, the people perish. President Joe Biden has that vision and has expressed it legislatively through guns, climate and inflation and more. The President is responding to the will of the majority. We the people put him in office to do so. Now we see a loud minority forsaking proven science. There are some who want to attack Dr. Anthony Fauci and Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, because of their mandate positions over masks and vaccinations. This is pure nonsense. (In 1809 this country mandated small pox vaccinations.) We cannot close our eyes to the easily swayed, killing themselves over unscientific political positions they seem glad to accept.

Our Founding Fathers were enlightened and wanted Arts and Science recognized. The United States is a leader in awards of Nobel prizes for science and we must teach our children to continue that positive outcome.

Is hate speech and rants causing us to be less civil to one another? The data would say "yes" as now many mass murderers are found to have been impacted by right wing hate positions. These extremist positions are now amplified and bolstered on a daily basis from "news" outlets like FOX and Newsmax.

Often these outlets provoke and outright create negative propaganda causing people to die for lack of COVID vaccinations! It is a disgrace that the U.S. leads the world in COVID deaths because so many have chosen against a shot that might have saved them. One only has to understand that many more Republicans than Democrats have died from COVID to "connect the dots".

Fox News loves distortion. How much more will their listeners tolerate before we can refer to them as, “dupes, stooges and willing idiots?” Rupert Murdock, does not believe in climate change, or covid vaccinations. (Oops! Fox makes it mandatory for their employees to be vaccinated), but Fox still offers exaggerations, innuendo and lies over covid, to protect sales of pillows and soap. Is that fair?

In 1947 the Federal Communication Commission introduced the Fairness Doctrine applicable to those holding Federal licenses for radio and television broadcasts. A fair output of opinion over the air waves was sought. This doctrine was suspended in 1987. Some T.V. and Radio are now full of half-truths, innuendo, exaggerations and out right lies. Fox News commands millions of listeners and pays Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity millions for their pretzel and plastic opinions that sells so much soap and pillows. Tucker Carlson referred to the Senator Tammy Duckworth, a military amputee, as a moron and a fraud and worse than the KKK. (followed by something unprintable). Now right-wing Radio and T.V. stations line up to grab the hate audience that can easily be convinced via innuendo and exaggeration. Many of them hold Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban of Hungary in higher esteem than President Joe Biden. Russian controlled television stations often show the positive views that Tucker Carlson has of Russia, on their nightly newscasts.

Fox failed in the Canadian and UK markets, closing down their operations in 2017. I leave it to the individual reader and critic as to why division, exaggerations, lies and hateful speech couldn’t sell soap and pillows in those two markets? But an American audience is so hooked on the daily distortions, we can easily wonder why they remain in the USA.

Why won’t Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Rupert Murdock and most of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Coalition) simply apply for domicile in Hungary or Russia? To a person, they have made it clear their respect for those authoritarians surpasses anything a moderate has to offer! Certainly, their allegiance is not to the American Flag.

Because there are so many contortions of truth, malice and outright lies on right wing T.V. and Radio, a rash of lawsuits are now emerging. Some targets are losing millions of dollars in jury awards. Hopefully the media will self-correct itself over their brash and groundless positions or suffer more losses in court. The lives being smeared and trashed with little or no evidence must cease. Jury awards can have a positive effect of getting fairness back into broadcasting.

The Founding Fathers recognized there are no angels in government but they were also moderate and progressive in their concept of leading. In 1792 with the beginning of our election cycles for Governors, Congress, Senators and the President, it was accepted that blatant ambition for power and position were frowned upon. George Washington did not want to be a king or a dictator. He served two terms as President, maintaining honor and then left office. His reputation as “the father of his country” has had much more pluses than minuses, even after 200 years of scrutiny by historians.

Everyone must study our past to protect our future, today, tomorrow and always. All for the sake of our children. The wonder and the idea and ideals of the patriots of 1787 must stay alive and thrive for all the world to see, at least for another two centuries. The song of America must continue.

Finally, I would like to address the 65% of those Americans who profess a belief in the Christian faith.

My three heroes in the faith in the past 1,000 years are St. Francis of Assisi (the man of the millennium), St. Thomas More (the man for all seasons) and Abraham Lincoln (chosen by historians as America’s best President). All of these three were exceptionally gifted for their calling. They were on a mission that transformed them to be superior witnesses for the advancement of goodness for their society.

Now the Christian Church has over 40,000 sects throughout the world. Pope John the 23rd saw this divergent expansion coming in 1960 and wanted to lead us toward more unity as a theology. He also saw a need for a sexual revolution to clarify sexual freedom in marriage. He died before his wishes for unity could be exploited. Now sixty years later with a world over populated, climate change, hunger, authoritarians on the rise, it seems to me, we must put forth unifying tactics by Christian Churches of all denominations.

We need a rallying cry around Ukraine as Russia targets school buses, hospitals and apartment complexes to seek a defeat of freedom loving Ukrainians. Finally, it seems clear that in the Christian faith that God does not choose who wins the lottery, who gets cancer, what city gets hit by a hurricane, etc. But God does tell us in the Beatitudes that those seeking justice will be rewarded. And the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (in Luke), illustrates the torment of hell, while the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (in Matthew) also determines salvation over how those less fortunate were treated by the well off. As Tryon Edwards stated: “Hell is truth seen too late, duty neglected in its season.”

Every Christian should consider these biblical citations as a barometer for qualification to enter God’s Kingdom. Modern society is at risk for overlooking the importance of these readings. The Lord said: “Offenses are bound to come, but woe unto him from where the offense cometh.”

The times could not be better for a rebirth of faith and a call for us all to abide by Christ's admonition to " one another, as I have loved you". Civility should never be construed as a sign of weakness for those of us seeking peace.

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Excellent point about the Federal Communication Commission. I remember in 1987 when the FCC decided to stop enforcing the fairness doctrine which charged up conservative media into a billion dollar industry. Indeed, in 1988 Rush Limbaugh launched his radio show - and Limbaugh called his fans DITTOHEADS because they echoed his prejudices without question. This is not journalism and that is why comparing FOX News to any reputable news station is a false equivalency. Anyway, good piece Greg. Mike McCallion

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