Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My letter in the Duluth News-Tribune Today

Here's the link.

On June 20, as thousands of peaceful protestors marched down Lake Avenue, I found myself sandwiched between two young families. Our march was festive and happy. That's what a sense of solidarity and camaraderie does for people joined in a shared dream. Protestors' signs focused on the clean air and water that all living things require, basic fairness for all, or on the babies and children right that moment being held in cages and detention centers by order of the current administration. Everyone had different priorities but the same vision for protecting America's natural and human resources, fundamental decency to other human beings, and the values of democracy.

Suddenly a car went by at slow speed, the driver blasting his horn with one hand as he thrust the other hand in an aggressive obscene gesture toward us; he glared with malignant fury. As his eyes locked on the tiny children around me, his toxic anger seemed to grow, not dissipate.

What is it about President Donald Trump that arouses such overwhelming dark passion? These people who currently have the presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court on their side are still not happy. If anything, their rage is growing, not dissipating, their wrath fueled by Trump even as their party dismantles ever more of the laws and policies they disparage.

We live in polarizing times, but in my entire adult life, beginning with the Vietnam era, I've never seen genuinely malignant wrath until Trump entered the political scene. The only thing that has matched this ugliness during my lifetime was the hateful wrath of white supremacists during the Civil Rights era.

This cancer is fueled by one man, fanning a rage that grows the more he gets his way — a cancerous growth metastasizing before our very eyes.