Don Schmitz

“Are we on the road to recovery”? Well, all roads have a beginning, middle and end. As a constitutional conservative who believes in the deep strength of this country, I think we are on the beginning of the road to recovery. However, the road’s beginning is a sig alert with all lanes blocked, cars rolled over and trucks on fire! We have a lot to clean up and the mess probably won’t clear until the national elections in November, no matter which party wins. For now, the incredible polarization has created an apoplexy that stymies political solutions. Meanwhile, life keeps coming at us and things must get done.

Leave it to the average citizen to keep things moving; that is, if the pandemic and government will let them. Businesses are reopening; civic organizations and churches are as well. America is simply too dynamic of a society to keep suppressed forever. That is a principal reason government quarantines were relaxed, as it became apparent that the citizenry was going to move on with their lives, with or without permission. We clearly aren’t done with the pandemic, but we are on the economic road to recovery. We have a long way to go, and although the economy may snap back quickly like it fell precipitously from the pandemic, even with aggressive growth, we won’t recover to 2019 levels for two years. Meanwhile, tens of millions are out of work and government is broke. Though Washington still believes it can spend trillions of dollars it doesn’t have, California has a $54 billion deficit. School funding and essential fire safety will be cut, and prisons are emptied from the pandemic. Homelessness, a crisis before all of this, is still there. But wait, there’s more!

A murdering cop killed a Black man in Minneapolis and we watched the country explode. It’s heartening in that the outrage is broad, deep and crosses all racial lines. I love that, as a country, we rose up and demanded better. Short-lived joy, though, because quickly it morphed into a monster, with looting, racial attacks, murder, arson and, worse yet, polarization. Not to be outdone, many political leaders seem to have lost their perspectives, if not their minds. Seattle Councilmember Tammy Morales said she can’t understand “why looting bothers people so much more” than Black people “dying every day” at the hands of police, while the mob was looting and burning the city. Now, they have six blocks “occupied” by folks demanding that the police and judicial system be disbanded. Chicago aldermen, pleading with Mayor Lori Lightfoot for help from the armed mobs destroying their communities, were cursed out by the mayor. Her solution? Plead with the protest leaders to “use their voice” to urge peaceful restraint. Meanwhile, President Trump, frustrated with the violence, showed all the diplomatic nuance of a tank, stomped his feet and threatened to send in the military. 

Worse, the spontaneous, justified and sincere outrage of our people, across all racial lines, has been hijacked by those bent on the destruction of our country as we know it. Evidence grows of left-wing radical Antifa (anti-fascist) groups coordinating attacks on police and businesses. You know them; they are the charming lads in black masks who burn buildings in Berkeley and elsewhere, should a conservative be invited to speak. Less significant numerically, but out there nonetheless, is the radical right-wing “Boogaloo” movement, preparing for another American civil war. Attorney General William Barr and the FBI are investigating both groups for instigating violence. It is folly for political leaders to cater to the fringe, but many are. Only 16 percent of Americans want to defund the police, while 65 percent strongly oppose it, including Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass. Yet, Mayor Eric Garcetti and others are proposing to do just that. 

Some on the right believe the turmoil is part of a plan to drive out Trump; a discredited “Russian conspiracy” investigation, a failed impeachment “coup,” the pandemic (released by China to wound their opponent) and an organized anarchy effort in the streets. Some on the left believe that Trump is the secular version of the Antichrist, bent on instituting an American Third Reich, and sincerely good-hearted Americans are truly racists deep down, they just aren’t “woke.” Snap out of it!

We aren’t going to destroy this country with our own hands. We aren’t going to gut law enforcement, or have separate courts, colleges, hospitals and neighborhoods segregated by race, as some are demanding. 

As we travel the road to recovery, we need to be on the same road as one people, pulling together. We are John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. King. Remember your pledge? “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.” If you pledged it, live it. 

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