On January 11, 1989, Ronald Reagan spoke eloquently about America as the Shining City on a Hill. Reflecting on his eight years, he spoke proudly about how it was the home of the free, tall and proud, built on rocks stronger than oceans and teaming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. He actually also noted that if there were walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone.
Now, only the third week of the Trump presidency, the lights are dimming in the Shinning City on the Hill. The times feel dark, the mood heavy, people everywhere are either protesting or hunkered down. A recent segment on MSNBC focused on a startling and exponential increase of families buying reinforced modular bunkers.
And, things aren’t better abroad. Indeed, in the first section of the New York Times for February 8, 2017 there were three in depth articles speaking volumes about how fast has been the decline in perceptions abroad about America. In one, Yemen of all places tells America to suspend its war against terrorists on its territory; in another, Iran’s Ayatollah thanked Trump for revealing the “true face” of America. And, in still another, Britain is described as racked by fierce debate over allowing America’s new president to make an official state visit.
That we got to this point in such a short time, at home and abroad, is stunning. One can only imagine where things might be three weeks out again. We absolutely can’t let the lights go out – not at home and not abroad.