In dark times, there can be a tendency to read too much into any development pointing in a positive direction.
However, when a quick succession of small, positive events transpire, though it may not represent a sea change, it does indicate that all sense of ethical and moral bearing is not lost.
By dark times, I am of course referring to the Trump presidency and that his tenure unfortunately coincides with existing conflicts and crisis’ within the US and around the world.
And at this time, instead of inspired diplomacy and moral leadership, we have a volatile, moral vacuum, producing nothing but bluster, distraction and diverseness, which degrades the level of public discourse.
The American presidency has a long reach, a state of affairs that directly affects the rest of the world and Canada obviously is not immune.
Although we have no say in the outcome of a US election, we are definitely stakeholders in that outcome.
I will avoid the temptation to define Trump or list off his transgression and while there is so much to add none of it is new or any more shocking thant all that has preceded it.
The positive developments I referred to above may not have ostensibly changed much, but those recent examples, and fortunately there are a few, do represent a subtle change that I am confident will gain momentum.
Without ever mentioning Donald Trump by name, two former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, though representing opposing ends of the ideological spectrum, both challenged Trump’s anti-free trade and anti-immigration positions and his divisiveness along social, economic and racial lines.
The former Presidents, appearing at separate venues expressed mutual alarm at the present state of politics in America and in Bush’s words the “casual cruelty” of political discourse.
Soon after the George W. Bush and Barack Obama speeches, there was occasion for all five living former presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter – to attend an event called “Deep From the Hear: The One America Appeal” in Texas to raise money for hurricane relief efforts.
Donald Trump did not have the audacity to attend, choosing instead to appear from a safe distance delivering his message by video to the gathering.
It is significant that these public figures from different political parties can transcend partisan politics and show a united front on social and humanitarian issues.
It is also safe to assume that none of the five men on stage, whether Republican or Democrat share any affinity for the anything at Donald Trump represents.
The third show of opposition to the ideology and behaviour of Trump was the least symbolic and the most substantial as it came from three sitting Republican senators: John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake.
It is significant to have three sitting senators rebuke Trump on a myriad of issues, admonishing him for his infantile, crass, petty and vindictive behaviour and to declare openly that Trump is a danger to national security and unfit to serve.
While these observations and sentiments are not a revelation, what is encouraging is the solidarity shown on both sides and that this outspoken denunciation of Donald Trump is increasing in frequency and becoming progressively closer to the White House.