When I was a kid, this was generally considered the longest word any of us knew existed. The ability to spell it made you the school genius.
But at nine or ten years old, it wasn’t a word of which any of us knew the meaning. It was just a big, cool, long word to say. Kind of like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Yet of all the words defined by the Dictionary, antidisestablishmentarianism most perfectly fits the description of the era in which we live.
Antidisestablishmentarianism is defined as “a policy or attitude that views a nation’s power structure as corrupt, repressive, exploitive, etc.”
Ironically, it seems to be every citizen’s view about our government these days, whether one supports Donald Trump’s Presidency, is opposed to it, or has managed to stay blasé on the subject.
With his rally cries of “drain the swamp,” Trump clearly speaks to those who view our system of government as corrupt. While I would argue that any government is inherently corruptible, that doesn’t mean the entire structure – and its functionaries – are inherently corrupt.
As in any environment, the culture developed by leadership plus the personal morality of those involved can result in systemic corruption. Or it cannot.
Those in the anti-Trump #Resistance movement ( full disclosure, I am personally resistant to Trump’s Presidency) would say his administration deserves this title based on its exploitive nature, particularly as it stems from the Trump family’s monetization of the Presidency while in office.
All Presidents and high level officials ( even lower level employees) cash in on the cachet of having walked in the halls of our nation’s power and of having rubbed elbows with those who wield it.
But never have our policies ( such as bailing out China on the ZTE issue) so collided with Trump business interests (the nearly same day approval of Ivanka Trump’s Chinese trademarks for her eponymous fashion line).
She has not divested herself of -or put into blind trust- her own business interests, yet holds a White House staff position and highest level security clearance. Nor has her husband, Jared Kushner, of 666 Fifth Avenue fame.
But in fairness, neither has her father. And he is the President. Reservations at the Trump Hotel in D.C., everyone looking to curry Presidential favor?
Which leaves us with the word “repressive” in the definition. While we are not there yet, we certainly have a President that would love to be repressive with regard to the First Amendment. And a GOP that has a membership that would like to repress certain civil liberties that have been fought for and attained over the decades.
The word “regressive” is not listed, but for this administration, it should be. In a technologically interconnected world, the isolationist trade policies of this administration, and its unwillingness to continue with thoughtful, forward-looking agreements with our allies on issues like the Paris Climate Accord, are indeed regressive.
Calling Canada a national security threat? That’s just plain old dumb.
And just for the record: I will argue that the Attorney General is the nation’s highest law enforcement figure in the land. And Congress creates the laws. The President can sign them into law or veto them, but Congress still has the power to override the veto.
Presidential powers may be broad, but they are not limitless. I don’t care what Donald Trump’s attorneys posit in a memo.
None of this is what the Founding Father’s envisioned for our nation. Their ghostly figures are, in fact, wandering the halls of national power, shaking their heads and moaning a warning in the same way Marley warned Ebenezer Scrooge of the folly of his business tactics.
And blood is seeping up from the ground of our national cemeteries. It is the blood spilled by those who have died over the past 200 years to defend our Constitutional freedoms and democratic ideals, both at home and abroad.
But Lady Liberty still stands in New York Harbor, her torch held high for the world to see.
I am placing my hope in her and everything she represents.