At what point do you decide enough is enough? It’s a recurring thought that haunts many a waking moment of mine. I think back to my greatparents and other Jewish ancestors of Eastern European descent. Did they foresee what was to come? What was the final straw that led them to conclude their young children would be better off raised by distant relatives in a far away land, then they would if they were to remain at home?
I would never imagine a day would come where I’d feel shame and contempt for my country. Where I would question not my place in it, but my daughters. Do I really believe this to be the country where they are most likely to reach their full potential? Is this the environment in which their inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is most likely to be recognized? Do I trust America to provide them with the skills and external nourishment, societal recognition and community support necessary to thrive in capitalistic land of opportunity and global marketplace?
It wasn’t that I ever believed in “American exceptionalism,” but I did the American spirit. Did trust in our collective generational need for progress. Our nation was birthed as an aspiration, an idealistic dream by men aware of their own fallibility. The arc of our nation’s history has always reflected an upward trajectory. Each generation inching closer to the hopes espoused and mission established not in our Constitution, but in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence.
It was that spirit of progress that propelled my patriotism. That steadfast belief and optimism is reflected in much of my early writing. While the risk to our democratic institutions was evident it still seemed almost an impossibility that progress itself could be unwound. I knew Trump would be an obstacle to progress and posed a national security risk. Understood no future gains in social equality would be made under his watch, but it didn’t fully occur to me that the dividends already paid in the quest to create a more perfect Union could be repossessed so easily.
So when is enough, enough? When does your homeland appear so unrecognizable that you begin to fear it? At what point do you refuse to surrender your values and seek out better alternatives for your children? For that’s how much we as a nation have lost. Where once our shores served as the beacon for the world’s oppressed, now it is our inhabitants who pulling out the binoculars to search foreign shores for that very same offer of security.
It’s difficult to find a happy ending. Perhaps I’m the only one who’s noticed but “Vote blue no matter who” is not an effective strategy when the enemy already has a Trojan Horse parked and emptying soldiers into the halls of our legislature and justice. It makes me wonder, “when is enough, enough?”