In Reckoning, America Recovers Its Moral Compass

Carla Seaquist
5 min readNov 11, 2019

Given the cacophony of destruction all around — of democratic norms, of ignoble policy, of polarization grown ever more vicious, all driven by our Disrupter-in-Chief, Donald Trump — Americans could be forgiven for fearing that all is lost for the ship of state and we are going down, fast.

Compounding this fear is the knowledge that our destruction is self-inflicted, not forced by external actors or factors. Unforced, Trump surrendered our mantle of Leader of the Free World, trashed our reputation as trusted ally. Domestically, he stokes racism and xenophobia, lies incessantly while attacking the media for reporting his lies. And Republicans, once God-fearing, continue to salute this amoral leader.

Moreover, American society itself is in churn, convulsing in resistance and protest. No wonder Americans report record levels of anxiety, depression, loss of sleep. Polls show rising numbers feel America is on the wrong track — way off. And commentators tell us we can expect this churn for years to come. It is, one can hear it all around, mourning in America.

But: There are mighty counter-forces now in play, combatting the heart-breaking destruction. And what should compound our hopefulness is this: the knowledge that these counter-forces are self-driven, not forced by external actors or factors; they emanate from our institutions and American society, beset as both are. Granted, given the tilt of the ship of state, one must squint to see these counter-forces at work, but once one does, one sees how America is trying hard to get right with itself.

For instance, the House impeachment inquiry, the main event at present, seeks to restore the norms of the presidency. Like many, I was leery of the impeachment option, fearing that with a Republican-controlled Senate never convicting, Trump would claim exoneration. But the testimony of dedicated diplomats and national security officials, all corroborating the whistleblower’s allegations of Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine, and Democrats now opening the inquiry to the public, all reassure. Our institutions are holding. Sunlight on all the incriminating evidence is all to the good.

At the grassroots: If democracy is based on the demos, the people, democracy’s base (as distinguished from Trump’s base), is hard at work. Record numbers of candidates, including record numbers of women, are running for office at all levels, including for the presidency. Voter turnout in the

--

--

Carla Seaquist

Our times examined via politics, culture, morality. Author, "Can America Save Itself from Decline?" (Vol. II). Playwright. Fmr. HuffPost. www.carlaseaquist.com.