As a moderate Democrat, I have always sought a balance between financial conservatism and thoughtful progressivism. I believe the two-party system is an excellent environment in which this balance can be constructed. Agreement as to what that balance should be and how it weighs on one side or another of political philosophy is a subject of reasonable debate with civil discourse on the floor of Congress.

There have been periods in our history when the flaws of men who have the responsibility of representing the people’s interest have expressed themselves in outrageous immoral and unethical ways deemed to be extreme and more expressive of personal interest. Party loyalty can be a difficult bond that defies release and where defeat is deeply felt as a demeaning event. The decoupling calls for patience and decency, not anger.

Fires that burned in the time of our founders have never been completely extinguished and courts and political philosophers continue to grapple with them. The evolution of past and present political entropy points to future enlargement of chaotic conditions which society must do its best to anticipate and for which it must prepare. Social structures will always teeter on the edge of disorganization and disruption. The examples are many throughout history even to this day.

What follows will anger many and draw the approval of others.

For many years, progressives have given lip service to supporting the poor and those on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Actions contrived to accomplish those missions have been sadly lacking. Conservatives have not demonstrated the creative will to fill that vacuum either. It is therefore not unanticipated that those millions who find themselves left behind should be angry and hostile to the system that offers them little or no hope.

Today our country harbors millions of poor and homeless folks and others on the lower rungs of the social ladder who watch with gritted teeth as their visions of upward mobility are enjoyed only by a tiny percentage of the population. Images on television and in other media venues imagine hopeful visions which are out of reach and which serve as an enticement to further and more deeply felt alienation.

It is therefore not surprising that we should find ourselves in a dangerous and hostile environment, lacking in restraint and decency.

Recently, in Solvang’s little park, not far from the Mission Santa Inez, a crowd of unmasked adults and children heard from well known Republican figures and candidates for congressional office. The speeches fanned the flames that were lit four years ago and that are now blazing across the country. Conspiracy theories were served instead of hot dogs. The American flag flew everywhere defaced by overlays of praise for the First and Second Amendments. Defiant folks shouted slogans such as, “Stop The Steal”, “In God We Trust and Trump Is Truth”. Banners flew that proclaimed, “God, Guns and Trump”.

The most shocking of this outpouring was a large banner that said, “F—K Biden and F—K You If You Voted For Him”. Small children pranced in front of this garbage, wearing hats emblazoned with MAGA.

Many are likely to say how great this is. Yet others will wonder how those children will embrace this sewage. Will education draw them away from it and moderate their outlook. Or will the parents who espouse it triumph in a false sense of strength in their children.

If there is some doubt about what I have described, I would be glad to provide pictures taken of the event. Not doctored images, simply ordinary people snapping away in amazement with their smart phones.

Is this constructive decent debate?

So it goes. I wonder if Solvang will ever recover.

Lee Rosenberg is a resident of the Santa Ynez Valley.

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