Early in 2017 I met a woman who in her past was a political analyst for the CIA in her South American homeland. She now resides in Austin. In the last twelve months, she has sent over three hundred 512Truthseekers emails, sharing her research into stories behind the stories we see in the news, looking at such matters as the impact the Koch Brothers’ investment in far right political candidates and office holders is having in our country. Each email can take many hours to prepare. She is spurred to do this labor-intensive research, in part, because she lived through a shut-down of the media in her own country, witnessing an era when brave women at risk to themselves slipped flyers with truth on them under bags of rice and such in grocery markets. What is happening in our country is real when it comes to the disruption of the truth. I am reminded that I continue to be shockable, and that is a good thing. Yesterday, the President of the United States addressed an employee group giving him a warm reception. Their employer, Sheffer Corporation, enriched by the new tax legislation, had “just awarded each of its 126 employees a one-time bonus of $1,000.” He asked the group a question regarding Congressional Democrats “stone-faced” reaction to his State of the Union speech. I heard his words yesterday on NPR and I read them this morning in The New York Times and The Austin American Statesman. He said, “Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly did not seem to love our country very much.”
I am thankful these words can be reported, still. I’m concerned that this wasn’t top of the fold, front page headline news. When the President of the United States can call one of the two major parties in his country potentially treasonous for not warmly embracing his speech, this is a chilling moment in time. Let us all be careful with our words and work to maintain the value of loving of our neighbors–like us or different from us–a value that is needed if we are to have freedom.