Abraham Lincoln, a man who certainly understood the difficulties involved in running a country and being a leader in a democracy at a time when tensions were high between people who had very different viewpoints with regard to how the world should be and how our country should be run, made one of the most stirring speeches ever written. It is still very relevant today.
As he said at the time, "four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. "
Well, it is certainly the case that people in our country do not feel equal to each other. We have people called the "haves and the have nots." Unfortunately, despite the fact that unemployment went down to about 5% under our last president, many people still either do not have jobs or fear that their jobs are in danger of being shipped out to other countries where labourers are willing to work for lower wages and where other fees and taxes are considerably less than here in the United States.
We also have people who are very wealthy and do not worry about their own livelihoods but only to maintain their wealth. These people as well as those people mentioned above represents a small fraction of the voters in our country, and somehow because of our antiquated system of having an electoral college select our next president, we ended up with a man who seems to me to be more interested in protecting and preserving the wealth of the top 1% then he is in protecting and preserving our laws and our nation's good standing as a leader in democracy across the world.
He has chosen to surround himself with advisors who are composed mainly of his friends and family, very wealthy individuals who could not possibly understand the needs of the working class as most of them inherited fortunes, and with people who frankly are not remotely qualified or educated in a way that would allow them to run our country. Some of these are people who may not care or know how to support education of our young, not just reading and writing and arithmetic, but art and music, theatre and science and history and literature. Sometimes it seems to me that the President and his advisors are certainly not encouraging our youth to imagine the world as a better place and then give them the tools that they need to enact those dreams. If the youth of today do not learn how to turn their dreams into something wonderful, to create, to discover how to stabilize our world environment and find new sources of energy, to learn how humans in an industrial age can maintain our lives and the quality of our lives without destroying the world around us, to do all that is necessary if our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will inherit a planet where they can breathe clean air, drink clean water, and grow food on rich soil. Imagine what the world would be like if in 20 years our descendants will be asking what "amber waves of grain" could possibly be referring to?
I don't know if there has been a world leader among the democratic nations on this planet since World War II who has ever attempted to stop scientists from publishing or even from discussing their research - not research related to our national security, but research involving our nation and its ecosystem, our world and the endangered status of our oceans, our air, and the many species that live around us and are part of what has been called Mother Earth. This isn't research that would or should be kept secret. This is information that every living human on the planet needs to know in order to learn how to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum, and even more importantly, to learn how to develop new jobs and technologies to restore our beautiful planet to a more pristine state so that Mother Earth can sustain life, humans and animals and plants and all the wonderful varieties thereof, for millennia to come.
My father, a Jewish man born in Poland and present when the Nazis invaded, survived the Holocaust. I am very proud to be the son of an immigrant who came to this nation in 1950 and became an engineer and inventor, a man who developed technologies for our safety both in public and private sectors. Had my father not come to this country, his inventions, things that most of us benefit from almost every day, would never have happened.
I mention my father for two reasons. The lesser reason is to point out that our nation gains as much from our immigrants as they do by coming here, to the United States of America, a place where they can be free from tyranny and oppression, and where they can live their lives in safety and security and freedom from persecution. Where they can live without fear of government oppressing them for the colour of their skin, their gender or gender identities, or for the beliefs that are the cornerstones of their souls, whether they believe in nothing more than the physical world as they see it, or believe in a God or gods and worship in a manner different from any other group here in our wonderful and colorful Great Melting Pot.
The greater reason I had for mentioning my father is to point out that he did survive the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust so distant in the past that our nation has already forgotten how an individual who cares more for his own wealth and his own pride than for the well-being of all of us in this country, great and small, wealthy and poor, strong and weak, how such an individual can use showmanship and basically con his way into changing the role of the leader of the executive branch of our government into becoming something far more dangerous? I fear the government led by any man or woman who has the power to spy on any private conversation, any public appearances, and to act without regard to our constitutional rights and to imprison us without due process all in the name of "national security." Our democracy must not become a fascist society ruled by a demagogue with delusions of grandeur!
And I feel that I must mention the Bill of Rights. The second amendment - the right to bear arms - has been a very large factor in American politics, and more so every day. I'm not going to talk much about this, though I do think that people whose mental state has been deemed a clear and present danger to themselves or others would not be on MY list for who should be a gun owner. But... HOW CAN WE ARGUE ABOUT OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS AND IGNORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT??? Separation of Church and State. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. And FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. Has Mr. Trump even read the Bill of Rights?
Our President must be a man or woman who shows more respect for our history and our laws than the "common" woman or man. We need a leader who understands the Constitution of the United States of America inside and out, both as it is written and intentions behind the writings, everything from the Declaration of Independence to the Bill of Rights. Each and every constitutional amendment has value and import, and must be understood both in the context of the times they were ratified and in modern days. And the President needs to be familiarized with both the greatness of our past leaders as well as the weaknesses that lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Civil War, the Korean War, Vietnam war, and the wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and across the globe in an attempt to stamp out terrorism so that we can live in peace and prosperity and safety.
The President must be held to a higher standard than any other person in our country as he or she represents all of us. He must choose a cabinet of advisors who are not his close friends and relatives unless those individuals are qualified experts in international relations or education or science or any of the many skills needed to keep our nation running smoothly. Nepotism cannot be allowed or else our democracy becomes no better than an oligarchy, a theocracy, or a monarchy. Nor can we have a cabinet composed of people who have stated publicly that they wish to shut down the department of energy and now are in charge of that same department, or who have never once stepped foot in a public school and who believe the schools must teach the Christian Bible, creationism and not Darwinian evolution, and who refuse to agree with the statement that all schools, public and private, must be held to some standard minimum for educating our children. What qualifies a neurosurgeon to run the department of housing and urban development? I could understand placing a physician in the role of surgeon general, but urban development?
We cannot have a president who surround himself with wealthy and possibly well-meaning people who simply are not qualified to serve on the national stage and certainly not qualified for the cabinet positions they have been given.
We cannot have a President who puts his own interests ahead of those of the country and believes that he is above the emoluments laws as set forth in the constitution of the United States. We cannot have a President who is more interested in growing his brand name and his personal and familial wealth than he is in creating jobs and maintaining jobs here in the United States for our working class.
I cannot say how far other governments may have been involved in manipulating our elections and the beliefs of our people regarding each candidate. In my opinion, collusion with a foreign power to get any given candidate elected to the office of president of the United States is treason and should be tried as such in a court of law. But if any help in winning the presidential election came from a foreign power, we need the Supreme Court, those who are responsible for maintaining justice in our country, to do the unprecedented (unpresidented?) and previously unthinkable: declare the presidential election from November 2016 invalid, and hold a new election as soon as possible, so that we can have a chief executive who was elected fairly and without tampering from a foreign power that has been an enemy of democracy for most of the past century. Perhaps this election should take place within Congress so as to speed along the process and give us a leader who already has some governing experience. Our president must be an individual who is not in debt in any way to any foreign power that can use this debt to influence our country's role in the world stage.
At the very least, the Legislative and Judicial branches of our country government must impeach and dismiss this President and Vice President, if it is found that Russia did indeed have interactions with the President that influenced his election or may influence his policies. Even if the Vice President initially knew nothing of deals with Russia, the Vice President is Mr. Trump's chosen running mate. It must be assumed therefore that the Vice President shares the values and believes of the commander-in-chief. He is "poisoned fruit," and this is a clear case of guilt by association. He certainly knows NOW that there may have been shenanigans involving his election and yet he has neither denounced Mr. Trump nor distanced himself from what is appearing more and more like a dictatorial regime.