Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

This piece will be published as a newspaper op/ed in early June, 2022.


“It tolls for thee,” the poet said, because each man is a part of the whole.

For whom does the bell toll

  • when a political party passes a tax cut that transfers $2 trillion to the richest, at a time when the nation is already suffering from an excessive gulf of inequality of wealth, way beyond how things were in America in the post-war years?
  • when a political party makes it a high priority to repeal a reasonable health care measure that was a good faith effort to deal with the fact that the United States, alone among advanced societies, does not guarantee decent health care to its citizens, and that we pay twice as much as other countries for health care while suffering some 45,000 additional deaths per year because of lack of health care protection?
  • when a political party organizes itself around a Lie fashioned to refuse to admit that they had lost in a free and fair election?
  • when a political party consistently does everything it can to block action to deal with climate change, having been bought by a fossil fuel industry whose greed is such that it is willing to sacrifice our children and grandchildren’s future for some additional short-term profits?
  • when a political party pretty openly launches a multi-pronged effort to make it possible for it to gain power with minority rule, utilizing unjustified disenfranchisements and attacking the integrity of the election process so that — next time — the election can be stolen if necessary?
  • when the emerging regime on the right looks in the mold of the fascism we’ve seen elsewhere, over the past century, with a dominant figure who punishes disagreement and demands complete subordination — with all the dangers that poses, as we have seen more than once, that a dictator will lead his whole people into catastrophe?

(As the fascist dictator Putin has now singlehandedly plunged his nation into utter disaster, his own brokenness resulting in the breaking of the whole nation. As would not happen in a democracy where one man’s craziness — Hitler’s form or Putin’s form — would be checked by the sanity of others.)

  • when the judiciary — in the form of the Supreme Court, beyond which there is no appeal -– becomes an extension of the ruling party?
  • when the most popular TV commentator on the American right – Tucker Carlson – puts out messages of racial hatred so conspicuously that a major article about that racism was published in America’s greatest newspaper, and that those racist ideas were cited by the perpetrator of a mass killing of innocent black people?
  • when a whole political party lines up behind a man who not only committed numerous obvious crimes while he was President but who became the first loser of an American presidential election to refuse to accept his legitimate defeat, and the first to try to seize power that the Constitution had given to someone else?
  • when a very delicate issue of abortion is dealt with as with a sledge hammer, with the will of a minority of the people being imposed on the majority? The imposition, in this case, being not only a case of minority rule but of the enforcement of all of an essentially religious point of view that the majority doesn’t share – a 90-95% majority in the case of the Alito draft, which doesn’t even compromise when rape or incest are involved, or the health of the mother — guaranteeing intensified strife in the nation as far as the eye can see over that highly charged issue
  • when a political party makes the failure of the President from the other party, rather than the success of the nation, their priority—even at a time of multiple crises when the nation would benefit profoundly from the government taking various constructive actions, and despite huge majorities of the American people favoring a great deal of what the Republicans in the Senate consistently prevent from being accomplished?

In every instance, the bell tolls for the dying of the better American future we might have. In every instance, the same political force takes us away from an America where

  • the relationship between the races is characterized by goodwill.
  • the lives of our children and grandchildren have not been ruined by the level of catastrophic consequences of climate change our failure to act would have brought about.
  • Americans enjoy the kind of health care security provided the citizens of every other advanced nation.
  • “the will of the people” plays the role in American government our founders envisioned,
  • both parties work to accomplish whatever good for America they can.
  • power is kept away from the Spirit of the Gangster (as in the hands of a Putin, or a Trump).

In every instance, this political force is pushing America deeper into brokenness and darkness.

For whom does the bell toll when people give their support to a political force pushing America toward brokenness and darkness?

It tolls for all of us. And for our children, and our grandchildren, who will inherit from us the America we leave behind.

, and with that imposition of viewpoint being in the area of religious belief regarding a complex matter

showing the outlines of an authoritarian regime in which the judiciary acts as an extension of the ruling party?

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *