Yesterday America united in a sincere appreciation for one of the true wonders of the universe, a solar eclipse. The eclipse brings a loss of life-giving sunlight, if only momentarily. The moon blots out of the sun. For almost three minutes, much of America was cast into total darkness. This event should encourage us to examine what it means to be in darkness.
To paraphrase an old Southern Gothic song, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", yesterday, the light went out in parts of GA, at least those parts that lie within the area described as “totality.”
More importantly, all of America has been in a sort of darkness for some time now. Merriam-Webster lists one definition of “eclipse” as “a falling into obscurity or decline.” Using that definition, all of America has been in totality since November 8 last year.
Etymology of the word originates from the ancient Greek noun ἔκλειψις (ékleipsis), which means "the abandonment", "the downfall", or "the darkening of a heavenly body". This word derives from the verb ἐκλείπω (ekleípō) which means "to abandon", "to darken", or "to cease to exist."
I do not intend to equate America’s greatness, our freedom, our ability to self-correct, with the wonder that is a heavenly body. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to argue that the egomania that is Donald J Trump has eclipsed the values that made the United States that shining light on the hill. Using the Greek definition, Trump has abandoned American values. The torch of liberty has darkened. Only if Americans stand together can we not "cease to exist."
Trump argues, correctly, which is, in itself, an oddity, that the divisiveness in our country is not his fault. While true, it is also true that his rise to political prominence, his campaign, his election, have served to place a heavy foot on the accelerator.
According to pundits, fans and critics, Donald Trump is not an ideologue. I’ll take that description a step further. He is amoral. To the extent he has any mores, they revolve around him. His values are tied explicitly to those things that make Donald Trump great Money, image, power. TV ratings are more important to Donald than upholding principles. Increasing his wealth, by his own admission, is more important than paying his debts. He cares nothing for friends, for loyalty. He cares nothing for the Constitution.
His bombastic, bullying nature, his ego-maniacal narcissism, his self-aggrandizing manner make him wholly unsuited to lead this great nation.
Since November 8, the light on the hill that is the promise of America has been overshadowed. I pray that it is not extinguished.