One action alone capsulated the entirety of the conflict in our country.
The awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed in the United States. Established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, it superseded the Medal of Freedom established by President Harry S. Truman to award to honor civilian service in World War II. The medal is designed to recognize those people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to (1), the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Last night, that award was given to a man who has done more to drive the division in our country than any other. A person who has used their entire career to paint one side, one half of the country as the enemy. To champion the use of "libtard," "liberal snowflake," "feminazi," and other terms of division. Who has been embroiled in controversy regarding statements against minorities, women, allies, the disabled, veterans, and the like. Who has a terrible truthiness rating, with 84% of his statements ranging from "Mostly False" to "Pants of Fire" false when verified.
And he holds sway over an audience of 15.5 million listeners. 15.5 faithful followers. Or about 4.5% of the American population.
The fact that there was a 100 year old Tuskegee Airman veteran in the room last night and Limbaugh was awarded the Medal should be appalling.
But it's not.
As if we needed more proof, half the country would vehemently disagree with my characterization of Limbaugh and view him as a vital voice in the Conservative movement. Half of the country views him as I do, a performer, who hides behind his persona to shield him from the consequences of his misrepresentations and lies. See also Alex Jones.
The fact that the medal was awarded last night at the State of the Union should also cause concern. The medal is typically called to be awarded around July 4, and generally at a distinct ceremony at the White House. The State of the Union is supposed to be a time when the president fulfills his Constitutional obligation to update the Congress on the state of the nation and its affairs. To put it in Southern, it's a regular business meeting. It's supposed to be boring.
It's not a stump speech, it's not a campaign rally, it's not even for the American people. It's business. For Trump to choose to award such a divisive person via such a large forum speaks volumes about his priorities for the country. Especially about his pandering to such a small, devoted base.
I don't know where we go from here. As I write, the Senate is surely voting to acquit Trump of all charges of impeachment and keep him in office. To now have an impeached president run for re-election seems absolutely crazy. Even crazier is the proposition that he might win a re-election because of people's ability to deny truth.
What does a narcissistic conman who has been enabled at every turn go when he finds out he's bulletproof?
What remains of our Constitution and Republic after that?
All I do know, is that it now falls to us. To the people. To the vote.
Do we rise above, and appeal to the better angels of our nature, putting country above party, others above ourselves, and come together for the betterment of all? Out of many one. E pluribus unum.
Or do we continue with more of the same? Making Rush Limbaugh the most fitting recipient after all?