On Jan. 20, 2017, country singer Toby Keith sang the following words during the inaugural welcome:
“Take all the rope in Texas,
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys,
Hang them high in the street,
For all the people to see.”
Samantha Bee aired the singing of these words during her show on Jan. 25. You can watch it here. Start the clip at 5:05.
The featuring of this song at a presidential inauguration may well be the defining moment that exposes the moral bankruptcy of the man who now sits in the Oval Office and his closest advisors.
This in tandem with the attempted suffocation of the free press, the Muslim ban, the gag order on the EPA and other government agencies, the selection of cabinet choices bent on destroying the institutions they are pledged to protect, and so much more. The depth and breath of damage that has taken place in less than two weeks time is hard to comprehend. It’s as though our country is being carpet-bombed.
To every person — on all sides of the political divide — who cares about our precious democracy, I implore you: we must start working together now. The future of our country and the well-being of the planet depend on it.
Countless indications attest to the instability of the man in the Oval Office. A song about lynching at an Inauguration is one of the softer signs. As Rosa Brooks wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “Trump’s first week as president has made it all too clear: Yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared.”
Impeachment is almost becoming a dire necessity. Our country and the world at large won’t survive many more weeks of his wrecking ball initiatives. The lethal combination of unstable temperament and finger on the nuclear button is a clear warning that we’re about as screwed as a lightbulb poised at the mouth of a socket.
Our country is better than this. We are better than this. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents must join together to restore the democratic principles and processes on which our country is based. We absolutely must begin working hand in hand to create that more perfect union our Constitution speaks of.
If we focus on our many commonalities rather than differences, I believe we can do it. We all fundamentally want the same things: a decent future for our children, decent lives, clean air and water, peace. It’s not as complex as we’ve made it seem. We’re not each others’ enemies. We’re each others’ countrymen. And women. Let’s not forget that.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare...”
We, the people of the United States can do it. We, the people of every color, religion, and ethnicity. We, the people from every party . We, the people who cherish the values of respect, decency, and tolerance — we can create that more perfect union. Together.
Never again may a song celebrating lynching be played at a public event — or anywhere else for that matter. Never again may we be this divided.
We must use this moment to find our way back to each other. Let us reach deep into our hearts and consciences to make it so.