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Molly McKew @MollyMcKew
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Tweeps: short thread here on the soul of America, and how the cynics who believe we are failed and done and burn it all down -- from the left or right -- are dead wrong. /1
I spent the afternoon in 2 conversations. The first was w/ one of my oldest friends, who is deeply learned & intellectual, caring & decent -- and now explains everything POTUS does as pragmatic. Because he's smart and thoughtful, there are some points worth explaining. /2
Core logic:

1) system is so broken, maybe this crazy sh*t POTUS does can break it more so it can be fixed. Nothing worked before: why NOT this?

2) yeah, awful things are happening, but that isn't about me. I like that POTUS says it's ok to think about my homestead first /3
3) On trade wars, disrupting NATO/EU/WTO etc, kissing up to Putin/handing over Crimea: ok, this is not great, but I care about America more than Crimea, NATO, and immigrants. It's not that these things are unimportant, just less important. /4
4) When I pointed out that it generally doesn't go well for America when the world catches on fire: "it won't. there are too many stakeholders." /5
And that, right there, was really eye-opening -- the belief that there is some failsafe that will stop the unraveling before it goes too far.

There is no failsafe. There is no bloody star chamber that will activate to save our behinds. There is, in fact, only us. /6
and who are we if we have become so small as to look only to ourselves, and exult men who will tell us that tough guys with money deserve to bend everyone else to their whims?

Well. We haven't. Not yet. /7
My other conversation was with my mom, who was at a "familiesbelongtogether" march in Idaho this weekend.

Idaho, one of the deepest-red states in the union. Where about 10% of the population of our town came out to protest. /8
Not against POTUS, and not for anyone else. But because they believe this policy and these actions are deeply wrong and run against the intrinsic libertarian values of the state, and everything they know to be true about human decency. /9
Speaking at the demonstration was a Czech girl who explained how she ended up in America without her family.

And then came a little old gentleman named Rob, who had been interned in the Minidoka "war relocation center" (aka internment camp) in Idaho at the beginning of WWII /10
He was relocated from San Francisco w/ his family. He spoke about the difference between the families that got to stay together, & those that were split up & sent to different camps. How he thinks about this every day of his life -- the ongoing effects on every one of them /11
When he turned 18, he joined the Army to get the hell out of the camp. He served the rest of WWII as an infantryman in an American uniform -- the uniform of the country that was imprisoning his family. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war. /12
Shortly after he came back to America, he went to Vancouver to visit some friends who had resettled there. When he was crossing the border back into the US, he was detained and questioned for hours, despite having his Army ID and service record. /13
And he tells about all these questions he was being asked by the border guards, who were trying to trip him up linguistically and prove he "wasn't an American."

Eventually, they got bored, and let him go. /14
And here he is back in Idaho, a beautiful state, telling this story of being a prisoner there, twice. He doesn't seem angry or sad. He just wants people to know what the cost was. /15
Finally, he hands the microphone off, says here, let me show you. I learned to do this in Minidoka, to keep everyone's spirits up, & to show our guards who we were.

And he pulls out a harmonica & he plays the Star-Spangled Banner.
And pretty much everyone bursts into tears /16
He left that ****ing camp in the Idaho desert, and he took that harmonic with him, and he went to fight for the country he knew was better than that bloody camp -- because that was how he could help make it what it needed to be.
And 70 years later he played his harmonica again in Idaho -- to lift spirits, and to show Americans what they needed to be. /18
So, my point is -- some people are always going to look to their own. We're wired differently -- we each have a different metric for "our own." Don't rage against them. Just be bigger when no one else can. /19
This crazy American experiment -- ain't no one going to fight for it but us. YOU are the failsafe, and whether you know how to play the harmonica or not, you need to start thinking about how to live next to and talk with other Americans who don't think at all like you. /20
Rob would have talked to a crowd of 6, or to the 1000 that were there that day.
But the 1000 people were made better by his honesty and bravery, and by his American experience.
This has always been us. WE are our own star chamber. We fall down, a lot, but we get better. /21
It is our stories, and our sacrifice -- and our forgiveness -- that are a part of the ever-changing American soul.
You can do more than you think. We can all do more than we think. /22
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