In one of the most touching scenes from Downtown Abbey, the lord of the estate is talking with his groundskeeper. The lord asks him how long he has been there, and the groundskeeper says he has been there all his life and that he, like his father before him, was a steward of the estate, protecting it for future occupants. The lord agrees and says that he, too, is not really an owner but he is rather a steward of the estate for those who will come after him.
We are all that. We plant trees, not for our own use only, but for the generations to come. We build or buy homes, we build savings, we spend substantial sums for the education of our children, not merely for our own purposes, but so that we may create a better world for those who will come after us.
Recently the virus of pure self-interest has crept into our character as a nation. It is not merely the super rich spending money for the sole purpose of protecting and growing their own fortunes. It seems that a tone of selfishness has crept into the very culture itself, showing itself in business practices and local politics and even personal dealings. It is a disease, and it is eating at the very fundament of America, the commitment to the inalienable rights of all human beings.
Today Donald Trump has shown himself the epitome, the pure distillation, of the worldview of selfishness. Prior to today, he had endorsed a health bill that would strip millions of people of health care while adding millions of dollars to Trump’s coffers. He had also endorsed a tax proposal that would strip away the safety net prior administrations had provided for the poor among us and that would give all the savings to himself and others of his ilk.
Today, however, Trump dragged all Americans into the unforgivable abandonment of the American ideal. Today Donald Trump announced that, contrary to every nation in the world except for Nicaragua and Libya, The United States will now withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. With the whole world fighting the dreadfully real threat of environmental disaster, Donald Trump decided that it would be more profitable for him to reject any effort to save the environment. He is even actually fighting the installation of green energy machines in Scotland on the grounds that it would hurt his golf business.
I have been ashamed that we have an ignorant, self-absorbed sexual predator for a president. I am no longer just ashamed. I am outraged. This is not who we are. The people of the United States are, as a whole, as a culture, as a moral character, loving, caring, hard-working people concerned not just for themselves but for the world they will hand off to others. Trump doesn’t care if he leaves the world uninhabitable. Americans do care, and he is thumbing his nose at all of us.
He may not have committed a crime. He may not have committed an impeachable offense. He has, however, torn the very fabric of the United States. By whatever legal means there are available to us, he has to go.