We often hear the quote from Aesop, “A person is known by the company he keeps.” Or, we might have quoted the old proverb, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Some have often used these similar quotes to categorize various individuals, basing his or her choice of friends for that individual’s current or future actions. For example: If a person has friends that are thieves, then it is likely assumed they might partake in thievery also. These two quotes also have a direct reference to guilty by association. We have witnessed the affect that this has on individuals, but what does that mean when it’s applied to a country?
President Trump recently met with Kim Jong Un, Putin, and has had various talks with the leader of China. Some individuals would argue that true democracy welcomes diplomacy. This is true, but diplomacy should not come at the price of democracy.
Let’s look at the events leading up to President Trump’s historic meeting, with the leaders of the communist countries. President Trump signed out of the Paris deal, rolled back environmental policies, tried to repeal the affordable care act, stopped immigrants from entering the country based on religion, forcibly removed children from families, attacked the press, ect.
In addition to what the President has done in America, he has also managed to alienate our closest allies. We didn’t call them allies because they helped with a few wars. We call them allies because we believe in a free society, a democracy that is representative of the will of the people, a place where everyone is equal, and a better future to leave for the next generations. Therefore, we called them allies, but above all we called them friends.
America held the banner of what a true and prosperous democracy can look like, for all nations to follow. America became that city upon a hill, that the world looked to for guidance. This is also why other nations associated themselves with us. They knew that being associated with America meant that you too believed in the same views and values. After all a person, as well as a nation, is known by the company he keeps.
However, President Trump’s recent actions has called into question what America now stands for and represents. When we disassociate and alienate the countries that best represent us and our standing, in lieu of countries that do not share in the same beliefs and values we hold dear to us, then what does that say about America to the rest of the world.
The President may not see or care about what is happening to America’s stance on democracy, but we should. To the President, what he’s doing with the trade wars and severing ties with our allies, this is just another business deal. We should remind the President that the deal of America isn’t about increasing the wealth of the few, but the well-being of the many. The founding fathers established a system of checks and balances so one branch of government does not become more powerful than the other branch.
This Fall we need to send a message to the President that America is a country established for the people and by the people. This Fall we need to send a message to our allies that our democracy is not for sale. This Fall when we cast our votes, we cast our votes for the people, for democracy, and for America.
Written by Mozella Bell, Louisana FDW