EAST WIND: There Was a Time …

Miya Iwataki

“Americans…still believe in an America where anything’s possible — they just don’t think their leaders do.” — President Barack Obama

The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief, the face of our country. For the majority of voters, he/she stands for something — the policies, hopes and aspirations for a better future.

There was a time when the office of president had a certain decorum, respect. The past eight years of Republican efforts to undermine President Obama were very disheartening for me. I thought it couldn’t get worse. Then came Trump…

In this unprecedented election, all protocol, expectations, common decency, and statesmanship have gone AWOL. It’s been replaced with a media frenzy, feeding on sexual locker room talk, prepubescent insults, bullying and unapologetic lies. A unified national understanding or agreement on what democracy is (both little and big “D”) has been disintegrating.

Despite the intransigence of the anti-Obama Republican Congress, there still were vestiges of bipartisan support for the integrity of presidential elections. For example, even after Vice President Al Gore lost his highly contested election, there was a peaceful transition of power. But now we have a candidate that is fomenting distrust with constant claims that the voting system is rigged. These claims grow louder as his polling numbers go down. These unsubstantiated rantings are accepted as truth by his followers.

Denigrating the integrity of the election process is irresponsible and lacks thought and foresight on what future impact it could have. One only needs to look at the violent and chaotic aftermath of contested election processes in other countries. Threats of jail or inciting enough hatred to harm or kill a campaign opponent, or advocating incarcerating ethnic communities in camps (again)…the next steps could be outlawing opposition parties, violence and chaos. These are common elements under a dictatorship. Hmmm.

I am really into quotes. I’ve been collecting them over the years, and more recently in my writers’ group. While thinking about and jotting down what presidential candidates and campaigns once were before 2016, I began finding quotes from various sources that enhanced m