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Tale of a Man Whose Life Began in 1946 and How America Changed in 75 Years




I am an original ‘baby boomer,’ born in 1946. My biological father served in the Navy during WWII. He met my mother in Seattle, Washington, when discharged in 1945. She was “Rosie the Riveter,” working for Boeing during the effort to supply the U.S. military with weapons needed to defeat Germany and its allies in the second world war.

My great-grandparents emigrated from Germany to the United States after WWI. They were farmers and trained themselves to become men who operated a sawmill. Initially located in Illinois, they moved to the state of Idaho. Their mill had been taken apart, piece by piece, and loaded into covered wagons for the long trip.


Courtesy of Celeste Hopkins (Flickr CC0)

My earliest clear memories are related to my primary education. I was five years old when my maternal Grandparents, one of my uncles, my father, mother, me, and my brother moved from Lewiston, Idaho, to Los Angeles, California. My family was Catholic, so naturally, I was enrolled in a parochial school in Venice, California.

Every school day began with The Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Love of God and patriotism were linked.

Before I continue, I must explain my reason for offering you my personal history. America in the 21st century is not the America I learned about as I grew. My relatives complained about the government during family gatherings, but their concerns were nothing compared to the morons running the country today. This article is an effort to inform the uninformed about the dangers presented to its government’s future.

Skipping ahead, my parents divorced. My mother worked at Hughes Aircraft, and my brother and I attended St. Gerard Majella Elementary School. We were latch-key children. Mom found an apartment very close to the school to ensure our safety. Next door to our apartment was an old house. Next to the house was the Convent, the Rectory, the Church, and the school.

I was partially raised by television, our only source of entertainment. My interest in politics began in 1956 during the Republican Convention. Dwight D. Eisenhower was running for his second term. I was hooked. I was captivated as I watched this uniquely American process.

The 1960 election was fascinating. Like most young men and women, I was excited and wished I had the right to vote. That would not happen until 1967 when I became 21. Finally, there could be a young, family man who was also a Catholic living in the White House. His name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In 1963, I was a senior when an announcement came over the speaker system. The United States President had been assassinated. Three thousand three hundred students and dozens of teachers were silent. We were sent home.


Courtesy of Leon Ferri (Flickr CC0)

My first votes were cast in November 1968. I knew long before that momentous day that I would be an Independent. I did not like the idea of committing to one party, and I dislike it even more today. Unfortunately, and a sad thing for the entire country, my choice, Robert Kennedy, had been murdered. I voted but was not very excited.

In 1980, I learned a lesson. I felt that Ronald Reagan had been a good governor in California and hoped he would be a good president. About one month after his inauguration, I realized I had made a colossal mistake.

He immediately began serving the wealthy and declared wars on the working class and women. I had not looked deep enough into his personal beliefs, which opposed my own. I would never make that mistake again. Instead, I vet each candidate on the ballot and choose those whose views for the nation are most closely aligned with my own.

Sadly, the 1980 election was the last time I voted for a Republican presidential candidate. Each of the three Republicans elected after Reagan was worse than the previous.

By the time Donald Trump won the Electoral College, members of the once Grand Old Party had moved so far to the right that they were on the edge of fascism. After four long years of Trump’s reign of terror, every man, and woman who called themselves “Republican” abandoned democracy and embraced fascism to protect the plutocracy they created.

The country can no longer be called “The United States of America.” Thanks to the electoral college, there are two Americas composed of blue states and red states. Blue states want to move forward into the 21st century, and red states would drag us back into the dark days of the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, Trump and his party have intentionally divided America, and I am unsure if the country can be repaired.

On Jan. 6, 2021, I watched in horror as a sitting president ordered his army of neo-Nazis to disrupt the election process and keep him in power. The coup failed, but this single act of treason may have put an end to the dream of the Founding Fathers.


Courtesy of James Turnage (Used With Permission)

I remain loyal to the country created over 245 years ago. But not to the malignant narcissist who caused more harm to America than the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, or the cowardly attacks on the twin towers, the Pentagon, or the failed attack on the White House when brave Americans forced an airliner into the ground in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

Trump is not an American, nor are his supporters or his party. They would shred the Constitution and create a new country for whites only.

This is not my America, and it never will be. Yet, unfortunately, Trump’s followers exist in all areas of the country, including the military and law enforcement.

We are in a second Civil War. Votes are the only form of self-defense we possess. In 2022 and 2024, another large voter turnout is a must. Not only is it essential that Democrats and Independents remain in control of two branches of the government, but their numbers must also increase.

We have met the enemy: they call themselves “Republicans.”

Op-ed by James Turnage

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Like_the_Grand_Canyon’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Celeste Hopkins’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Leon Ferri’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Third Inset Image Courtesy of James Turnage – Used With Permission

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