The long road to self-destruction doesn’t happen overnight in most cases, it is usually built up over time with one bad decision followed by another. As the consequences of those bad decisions materialize we find ourselves damaged. This damage can lead us to make even more bad decisions in an effort to compensate for the damage; the cycle continues until our situation is out of control.

As I try to think of a good analogy for this self-destruction I found myself drawn to the concept of a marriage. Two people fall in love, get to know each other, set boundaries and commonalities, then they set goals and make plans to attain those goals. Then the hard work begins, the part where they actually have to act. 

In a similar way our fore fathers created a marriage of sorts, only instead of an interpersonal life-long commitment to just one person, they created a life-long relationship plan with all Americans. They laid out the goals and the objectives as well as what could be the fruit of the relationship; in the case of the interpersonal relationship it is the building of a strong family that stands together as it grows, supports each other through good times and bad and makes a wonderful life here on earth where each member can realize their potential. In the case of the national relationship the results are similar; the country grows and becomes stronger and opportunity becomes available for everyone to achieve greatness.

The more I thought of it the more I liked the analogy. Unfortunately, the more I thought of it the more the down side and potential for ruin became clear as well.

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As in a person to person marriage between two people if the goals of the individuals change, or the desire to support the plans they have made changes, the union weakens. Over time people do change how they feel about life and all that comes with it. If there is adversity or tragedy in a marriage the relationship can struggle and fail. 

Our country too faces the same challenges. As time passes and our people see different things to be important, different beliefs come to the fore then the relationship will be strained and can lead to destruction. In the case of the person to person marriage that destruction manifests itself as divorce, sometimes bitter and often very painful. In the case of a country that destruction can manifest itself as revolution or civil war, always painful and very often deadly.

The recent struggle over the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is a clear example of where we are in our national relationship and it foreshadows the potential of a damaged to destroyed relationship between all of us, the citizens.

I have always been a positive person, seeing the glass half full as opposed to half empty, but recently that optimism has been tempered by the fire of reality and the obvious discontent of our people all across this nation. 

On my radio show “Chasing Justice” on the America Out Loud radio network I have spoken many times, about the crossroads we have reached as a country and the danger of choosing the wrong road as well as the reasoning for these choices as I see them. No matter if I saw the crossroad clearly or the reasons we have chosen the road we have, it is still crystal clear that we are in a moment of time that is fraught with potential destruction of all we hold dear; the destruction of America as it was formed and intended and stood for over 240 years.

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, is doing all he can to keep the country strong and in a place where we can continue to enjoy the blessings of freedom. Admittedly he is doing it his way, which does rub some people the wrong way since he can be too blunt, inartful and awkward at times. But, I would argue, he is being very successful despite handling the job differently than just about any other president we have seen in our lifetimes. In effect he is changing the paradigm on how the country should be run. 

This paradigm shift has been part of the cause for the consternation and agitation of our people. We are not used to people telling the truth, standing up for what they believe with out concern for their personal gain and acting quickly to solve problems. 

This new way of leading has also jeopardized the power positions of many in the elite class of our country, they are worried that their grip on things is slipping and they may be forced to live as the rest of us do; a fate they have done much to avoid, and that applies to elites on both sides of the political aisle. In general, human beings do not like change, and especially change that upsets their status, money, power or position. 

In the Trump presidency, we have the perfect storm for major change, but it is also a catalyst for the hastening of that change, the problem is that we don’t know what that change will be when the dust settles.

Our nation was founded on a commonsense idea and in the modern vernacular- “Do the right thing”. The government does only that which is necessary to provide an even playing field for the citizens to go out and achieve whatever their God given talents and skills allow. 

This playing field has suited us for the history of our country, but an open playing field based on individual talents and human nature cannot avoid some pit falls, such as: Some people will be smarter and more talented than others and as a result they will achieve greater things and amass more stuff. Those with less talent and skill conversely achieve less in terms of wealth, fame, power and prestige and creature comforts. 

This disparity in achievement and accumulation of stuff has not been fun for those of us on the bottom, but the beauty of this country lies in the reality that if we work harder, strive tirelessly and commit ourselves to improving our situation we can. That doesn’t mean we can all become Bill Gates, or Donald Trump, but we can improve our quality of life, the lives of our families and leave them with more tools to further improve their lives with their own hard work. I can and does happen; even if it means long hours and continued effort. 

For the most part, we as a nation, have accepted this reality and pushed on. We have tried to improve our personal situations as our drive and desire motivated us. It was always a goal to pass on to your children something that helps them do better than we did, be that education or a family business, good morals and an appreciation of living a decent life.

No matter the result we pursued the opportunity as best as we could, realizing that this nation is the only place on the planet that even offers you a chance to change your status from bottom to top. In most other countries you are born into the top of life or you wallow at the bottom and the twain shall never meet.

This American opportunity was valued, prized and held as a thing of pride; anyone with a good idea and the drive to see it through could become the next Bill Gates or Donald Trump, that is a gift most people in this world never get to be a part of.

So why then are we at such a bad place?  Has the opportunity I described dissipated? Has the potential for personal and national achievement gone the way of the horse and buggy? Or, have we changed how we see the game?

This is where these thoughts are leading me, and this is how the Kavanaugh hearings reveal the truth behind the curtain.

Brett Kavanaugh was merely the catalyst for the expression of so many of the difficult choices we must make in the coming days and years and the realization that the consequences of our past choices, made over decades, are now materializing in real time. It is a conflagration awaiting a match.

If it wasn’t Brett Kavanaugh, there would have been some other break-point, the seeds are sown for this conflagration to take place. When I say conflagration, I do not mean a literal fire storm, but I do mean that the underlying tensions of the past 50 years is at a boiling point, the pressure must be relieved one way or the other or it will be an actual flame we have to deal with. 

In a past column I described the American Civil war of 2018 and how I see it approaching. The Kavanaugh hearings are yet another example of the potential for change we could not image only a few years ago.

My last point before I conclude this disturbing journey is this: In this modern day and age we hear people talk about the potential break-up of the country, the potential for riots in the streets and revolution or civil war, but not many people really believe it is possible for those things to really happen. No one can imagine a hot civil war in 2018 and beyond, the idea of Americans attacking other Americans on a large scale or states breaking away along political belief are the things of fantasy; great for a novel but hardly possible in the real world.

To that I say: wrong.

History is great teacher if we look for and learn the lessons of history. Human conflict continues to evolve, and the realities change as events unfold. 

Imagine if you would the most powerful nation on earth at the time, Great Britain. The sun never set on the English empire. That is amazing, but wasn’t there other all-powerful nation-states before Great Britain? Of course, there were.

In the 1930’s, a time many of our people lived through, we saw the rise of Germany and the Nazi’s and the almost complete take over of the world. And today we see the growing power and influence of the Chinese and their obvious desire to dominate the world, why then would we be foolish enough to miss the lesson that while it might seem impossible, it is, in reality only unlikely, not impossible that our country could fall into chaos and break apart.

This is the danger we face. A danger that is intensified if we do not realize it.

The Kavanaugh hearings peeled back the layer of mist and showed us all the huge differences in our people. The schism that has taken place between what it has always meant not be an American and what many people, half at least, want it to mean to be and American. And the differences are stark, unrecognizable and alien to what we know today.

Without getting into the merits of the Kavanaugh hearing and the presentation or lack thereof, of evidence, we saw out nation split in two based on these two different beliefs of America. 

We saw people take to the streets, blind with passion and anger, ready to throw out our entire system to meet their needs, and this was not just the passions of individuals, but we saw the leaders of this nation side with those who wish to re-write the rule of law, our basic concepts of justice and discard the constitution like it was yesterdays garbage. And they almost won the day.

There was no polite yet, veiled political speak for this attempt from our elected leaders, there was no defusing of the rage and call for calm to prevent violence in the streets, in fact it was the opposite. There were calls for confrontation, changing the paradigm of justice and comments made to portray the constitution as an impediment to justice worthy is immediate revocation.

The moment has arrived, the short respite we are seeing after the battle was settled and Kavanaugh is seated will be short lived. The intensity of the agitators, many of who we have elected will be back on the trail with new strategies, new schemes to upset and derail the norms of justice to suit their goals. The looming mid-term elections and the potential to seize power and further their plans are just too much fuel for the fire to be doused, instead more gasoline is on the way.

We are today a free nation; justice survived for the moment, but the next battle is just moments away. We will stay free, bolstered by justice if we, the Americans who choose our traditions and history, are prepared to change the paradigm ourselves and steel ourselves for the days ahead. 

The Kavanaugh hearings, regardless of where you stood on the topic, is the battle call. No rules apply today, no road block to power is too outrageous, no flames in the street will slow the progress of our destruction if we sit back and watch it happen.

I have been CHASING JUSTICE throughout my career friends. My goal is to be THE VOICE for the voiceless. Reach out with your own stories and thoughts on justice…  JPanagro@Americaoutloud.com 

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on his show ‘Chasing Justice’

Joseph Pangaro is a retired Police Lieutenant from the Township of Ocean, Monmouth County, NJ. During his 27 year career, Lieutenant Pangaro served in many capacities. After nine years as a patrol officer, he was transferred to the detective bureau where he served for 12 years. During that time, Lt. Pangaro prepared and executed hundreds of search warrants, testified in numerous high profile criminal court cases and excelled in the area of criminal investigations including; homicides, sexual assaults, drug crimes, fraud, burglary, juvenile investigations, economic crimes, vice crimes, quality of life crimes and other crimes of violence. He has acted in undercover capacities and worked with numerous local, county, state, and federal agencies. Joseph Pangaro served as a sergeant in the detective bureau, supervising a group of highly motivated and active officers in the unit as well as the “Quality of Life” unit.

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