Recently on the radio, I listened to the new president vigorously assert his belief in the effectiveness of torture. This is not news: he had made his views on the topic clear as a candidate. But this radio report was further evidence, piled onto President Trump’s intimidation of the media and his assertions that falsehoods are truths and truths falsehoods, that we are living in a new reality, where the leader of the free world champions the practices of despots and dictators.
I am very much a product of the post-World War II liberal consensus. I was born in 1967, so I missed being a baby boomer by a few years. Yet like the boomers, my worldview and life experience was equally shaped by expectations that chauvinism and oppression could and should be rolled back through legislation and changes in cultural behavior. This was, I was taught, part of the American promise, that all individuals are entitled to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. I understood clearly that these changes would occur not as a passive evolution, but rather the combination of ideology and effort. As Martin Luther King, Jr., observed: “Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively…Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of [human beings] willing to work to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
To read the rest of the piece on Times of Israel, click here.