My rating: 5 of 5 stars
James Clapper is a lifelong public servant who has sacrificed his life for the safety and security of America. He is a lifelong public servant that has always been non-political and first was enticed with the intelligence business following his father who was an intelligence analyst for the military. As a young kid under the age of 12, he used his grandparents black and white television, was able to hack into the Philadelphia police department, and took meticulous notes on their operations and operating procedures. This man was destined to serve America and to serve her well. Each time as it seemed as if he was ready to retire, public service kept calling his name. This book takes us through the journey of Mr. Clapper from a young kid to him in the present day. This book does not focus on the Russian meddling into our 2016 election so much as it takes us on the journey of Mr. Clapper’s unusual sacrificial life. A life in which he exhibits a persona of moral dignity, moral character, intelligence, wit, self-effacement and being humble and a steady hand in situations and key pivotal moments. Pivotal moments, which these character traits were vital and important in his contribution to protecting America and American national security interests. As Mr. Clapper emphasizes repeatedly throughout the book, he has always been a person who has not been afraid to speak “truth to power” in whatever positions or capacities that he has served. Whether briefing the President or a 4-star general in South Korea, facts and reality matter.
Mr. Clapper is an individual who started out flying fighter jets but eventually settled down in the intelligence business as soon as his security clearance cleared after having joined the Marines. He took interested routes in his service hopping from branch to branch and agency to agency. He shares with us his experience in the DMZ between the North Korea and South Korea border and the time and effort he put into understanding the complex history and situation that has compromised this conflict. Humorously, he shares us his experience in which in a life-threatening situation when the military helicopter that crossed over to the DMZ unintentionally; and they had to make it back before it became disabled under the cover of darkness.
Director Clapper also shares with us his varied experiences throughout his life and how speaking about the facts and objective evidence has played such a vital role in the intel community and in the positions that he has occupied. As he says in reflecting on the times we are currently living in with the war on truth and the war on facts, “My fear is that many Americans are questioning if facts are even knowable, as foreign adversaries and our national leaders continue to deny objective reality while advancing their own alternative facts” (Clapper, 8). We live in a time in which the war on truth and basic shared facts and values are under assault from a President that history may very well record as illegitimate. A President that may very well be compromised by a foreign adversary.
In sharing his life experiences throughout the years, he also cites the moment in which at a military banquet that his family was in, his mother went over and spoke to an African American soldier and subsequently had him sit at the table with them. This took place in an age in which that sort of basic value of human equality was not widespread and cherished even within the ranks of the military. As General Clapper says, “When I was at a very impressionable age, my mother showed me that the color of someone’s skin doesn’t determine the human dignity they deserve.” He continues, “That lesson stayed with me and influenced decisions I’ve made in both my personal and professional lives” (Clapper, 16). He also shares with us the support and experiences he has had with the LGBQT community; and how one of the greatest prides that he has taken with him is how he helped reform the intelligence community so that intelligence analysts of all walks of life could live in the open as to who they are as people without having to hide behind the shadows. James Clapper also shares with his experience as to how the intelligence community along with himself got the intel wrong with Saddam’s “WMDs”. He is a man who is clearly self-reflexive, humble, and a patriot of the highest degree.
We are living in a perilous time in our nation’s history in which we may very well have a President that is compromised and in debt to a foreign adversary. This President has used demagogic tactics of the highest degree and has shown an adversarial attitude towards our allies while embracing our enemies. Many patriots like Mr. Clapper have retired from public service but remain in the public eye to make sure that the public does not fall asleep to the egregious actions of this “administration” and most importantly does not normalize the actions of this feckless administration. I truly believe that as time passes, history and our grandchildren will judge all of us accordingly as to where we stood and the actions that we took in this unique time in history that we are all currently living in. Mr. Clapper will definitely go down as a public servant who served America apolitically with the highest regard for facts and “truth to power”.
General Mark Hertling is a retired U.S. general who commanded U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army and knows the responsibilities of a soldier and the responsibilities of a leader. You can follow him on Twitter @MarkHertling.
General Hertling, it is a pleasure and the deepest honor in having the opportunity to conduct this brief interview with you. In your book “growing physician leaders”, what is the number one take that our followers can take with them in applying to their own lives, whether they are working within the medical profession or not?
What I try and provide in the book is how the military – specifically the army – has approached the subject of leadership development. As an organization, the army has used sound transformational leadership theory and has incorporated over two hundred years of experience in its leadership doctrine…and we find that it works. Leadership development in the army is systematic, we are taught how to deal with increasingly complex issues as we grow in our profession, and because the army is a profession that deals with life and death and influencing individuals who are part of large organizations to accomplish a critical mission (defense of our country), what we do and how we do it is pretty fascinating and unique.
I have attempted to apply the military approach to another profession – healthcare – because the healthcare industry has some unique challenges and interprofessional requirements that are more difficult to address than other organizations.
What I provide in the book is simplicity: by understanding certain leadership attributes and competencies, by determining our own individual values and elements of character, and by knowing how to influence other people in different situations, anyone can improve their leadership skills. The book is written based on my work with doctors, but the principles are applicable to anyone in any career or profession.
I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO APPLY THE MILITARY APPROACH TO ANOTHER PROFESSION – HEALTHCARE – BECAUSE THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY HAS SOME UNIQUE CHALLENGES
I would like to ask you about your personal life growing up. What would you say were the biggest influencers in your life growing up that helped guide you towards the moral and ethical leadership you later showed through your service in the military and then later as an esteemed and accomplished general?
I attended faith-based (catholic) education programs in grade school and high school in my hometown of St Louis, Missouri.
These were terrific educational opportunities that set the base for me in terms of character development. Then I went to the us military academy at West Point and the focus on duty, honor, country and the honor code that is required there contributed to further personal development of character. Having the honor to serve in the military, and work with the diversity of individuals that wear our country’s uniform also contributed to my development. I also had the opportunity to have mentors that gave of their time to develop me, to ask me tough questions that I had to ponder, and who gave me guidance and insight about life. There are too many of those individuals who gave me help to mention all of them, but each affected me in a positive way.
But one can also learn from those who don’t provide a good example. I think I learned just as much from the few negative or toxic leaders I worked with in my life, realizing I never wanted to provide the same example to others that they provided to me. We learn from all people every day…we just need to focus on the positive ones to carry their actions forward.
You describe in your book on how you have to lead not only by words but also through your actions and deeds. As a leader, one must understand that others are following their lead by example and emulation. In your book, you describe a situation in which you had to take cover as you and your crew were taking sniper fire; and it was a colleague of yours who ended up leading by example. Do you think that the impact and influence that Donald Trump has as leader of the free world will have a negative and lasting impact on our youth and for those in the military? If so, how significant do you think this impact might be and what can we as a nation and a people do to overcome the perverse lack of leadership coming from the highest office in the land?
I’d prefer not to comment on any political figure. But what I will say is that leadership is a combination of the attributes of character, presence, and intellect and those are things we each develop to generate trust. By building trust and communicating, developing others, and taking the right actions, we affect the world around us, whether it be on a small team, a large organization, or the global environment. I have seen where toxic leaders have negatively affected organizations, and it takes a long time to overcome that toxicity when they leave. To overcome, you need even better leaders, with pure hearts, empathy, humility and the kind of values which focuses on moving ahead rather than stagnating or going backwards.
Any team can eventually overcome a negative leader…but it takes a lot of hard work, and stronger leaders to help set the standards and hold others responsible.
We have a great nation with a history of terrific leaders who step up and look to create progress and inclusion. I truly believe America can overcome any negative leaders…but it takes hard work and a reliance on our values.
LEADERSHIP IS A COMBINATION OF THE ATTRIBUTES OF CHARACTER, PRESENCE, AND INTELLECT AND THOSE ARE THINGS WE EACH DEVELOP TO GENERATE TRUST
Can you share with us a story of leadership that you did not specifically share in your book? More specifically on how you used that leadership on the battlefield and applied it to adjusting to the real world back at home once you retired from your years of service for our country?
I once had to relieve (i.e., “fire”) a subordinate commander in combat because of some things he was doing. It was one of the tougher things I had to do in my life, because he was a friend, a son of a retired general who i admired, and he had a terrific career up to the point where I fired him and he was heading to even greater jobs of increased responsibility. But because he began to think too highly of himself, he had begun to lose his empathy for those he was working with, he wasn’t taking advice, and it became obvious to me that everything he was doing was about him and not about the organization, the people or the mission that it was time for me to make that tough call. I had counseled him previously on what I had detected, and it became obvious that he was saying all the right things to me, but he wasn’t correcting his behavior. So finally, I told him he could no longer continue commanding his unit. He reacted as I thought he would, he asked his father and a bunch of other retired generals to intercede on his behalf, but I stuck to my decision. After he departed, his organization started performing to a high standard again, and many of his subordinates approached me thanking me for relieving him, and even told me additional stories of his toxicity that I didn’t know. So while it was tough doing it, and I questioned myself, I realized after that no individual is bigger than the organization or the team, and sometimes the hardest thing a leader does is determine when other leaders should not be in their position and take action accordingly.
Do you plan to write a book or memoir about your life and leadership any time in the future? I think it would have a great following and it would be an important part of leaving a mark on your legacy for future generations.
Perhaps. I’d like to tell the story of all the people I served with, and what they accomplished…but that’s likely a long way off.
Thank you for your time general. You are truly a role model in terms of grace, character, intellect and humility. You are what i deem as an “intellectual warrior”. Thank you for your years of service and your continued moral leadership today. It is now needed more than ever.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
General Mark Hertling is the definition of not simply a role model or an American hero but of a great human being who has led and continues to lead not solely through words but deeds through the actions of his life day in and day out. He is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a figure of moral leadership to all people who have come to know him. The good general is what I would term as an “intellectual warrior” of grace, humility, wisdom, dignity, character, and self-effacement despite his life achievements and successes. In “Growing Physician Leaders: Empowering Doctors to Improve Our Healthcare”, the good general takes this to a whole different level by taking us through a journey of his lifelong pattern of learning in being a student of knowledge and empowerment by guiding us through his life journey on and off the battlefield; and how those skillsets apply to not only war but to diplomacy, life, and ultimately even the healthcare arena.
While General Hertling’s book is aimed at those in the medical profession, the lessons he shares with us in this book can and does apply to our everyday lives. In each chapter, the general shares parables from his lessons of leadership on the battlefield and reflects how these life lessons have prepared him in the new journey life has taken him in the field of medicine.
The general’s life deeds and his actions have demonstrated a life of leadership, humility and wisdom. Real leaders know that they must learn day in and day out; and to lead by example and to learn from others. I highly recommend for others to follow the good general on Twitter @MarkHertling. His words and wisdom each day has provided me solace and hope despite the tumultuous nature of a lack of leadership coming from the highest office in the land. General Hertling has said that he might have a new book on the horizon in which he will discuss his life leadership skills and lessons to a more general audience – but this book is a must read for those in the medical profession as well as others who want to take the lessons that he shares towards life in general.
Thank you general. We need your moral leadership, voice and presence now more than ever.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The “Goldwater rule” is the rule given to members of the American Psychiatric Association in which it essentially stated that members are advised to not diagnose or give medical opinions of public figures whom that they have not examined in person. The reason for this rule goes back to the infamous time in 1964 of a Republican firebrand and politician in Barry Goldwater. In his run to the President, anonymous psychiatrists were giving out their opinions that Barry Goldwater had psychiatric problems in which no evaluative basis was provided or given. In order to root out the ethical problems that arose, psychiatrists have been advised to not repeat this episode in history in what is believed to be the risks associated to the credibility and reputation of psychiatrists and mental health professionals. In “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”, Dr. Bandy X. Lee takes issue of the rigidity of this rule and has called on herself and other psychiatrists to break with the Goldwater rule in which it relates to this unique time in history with someone as impulsive and unhinged as Donald Trump as President. Dr. Lee has dubbed this and her colleagues with the moral and ethical responsibility in their “duty to warn”. Their “duty to warn” as they call it, to warn the public about the unique threats posted by “anyone as mentally unstable as Mr. Trump” and that someone like him “simply should not be entrusted with the life-and-death powers of the presidency” (Lee, 8).
In “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President”, Dr. Lee has put together a compilation of research type articles by the nation’s and world’s most preeminent experts in the field. For instance, Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo who is known for the famous Stanford prison study, says that Donald Trump is “unbalanced” and fits into a “specific personality type” in being an “unbridled, or extreme, present hedonist” and “narcissist”. Clinical psychologist John Gartner on the other hand labels Donald Trump to be a “malignant narcissist” and an individual who “evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader.” Gartner continues that the “catastrophe” of Donald Trump could have been avoided if “we in the mental health community had told the public the truth, instead of allowing ourselves to be gagged by the Goldwater rule.” All these preeminent scholars have decided together along with hundreds of their colleagues to step away from this time dated rule and “warn the public” of the unique threats posed by a sociopathic narcissist and lifelong con man in Donald Trump. A man who throughout his life has been unable to express the human emotion of empathy.
I have always said that Donald Trump’s only “genius” are the information overload and distraction techniques. As a result, this keeps most of the population caught up with their lives to follow in the daily and habitual lies of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a compulsive liar. This is who he has been all of his life. In “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump”, eminent scholars and researchers in the field of psychiatric research and mental health present to us a very convincing case as to why the mental health of the President should not be off limits to discussion. It is their “duty to warn” the public instead of the “Goldwater rule” in getting in the way of the public knowing the whole truth on the type of person that Donald Trump precisely is: a malignant narcissist of the first degree.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Michael Vincent Hayden, former director of the CIA as well as being a retired U.S. Air Force four-star general, Director Hayden in his newest book, “The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies” takes us on a journey of the start of his career towards the progress of his life from general to director of the CIA and other top positions. General Hayden worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations and put as his mission and legacy as being one of the most well accomplished public servants that we have had that has been a vital and key part of keeping us safe and secure both morally and with security. Morally, because he is the breed of an “intellectual warrior” and presents to us how the threats that we face today in the name of Donald Trump, presents unique serious challenges and problems not only to our country, but to our intelligence community and to the independence of our institutions and the norms that have governed it tidied up since the founding of our great nation.
In an early part of the book, General Hayden takes us back to his time in Sarajevo in 1994 he was there during the ravaged war time and as he states in his book, “What struck me most, though, as I walked about the city was not how much Sarajevans were different from the rest of us, but how much they weren’t. This had obviously been a cultured, tolerant, even vibrant city. The veneer of civilization, I sadly concluded then, was quite thin” (Hayden, 2). Moreover, he continues, “Over the years it became clear to me that the structures, processes, and attitudes that protect us from Thomas Hobbe’s world of “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” lives are not naturally occurring things. They are inherently fragile and demand careful tending if they are to survive” (Hayden, 2). And he logically explains that “civil war or societal collapse is not necessarily imminent or inevitable here in America” but rather that the “structures, processes, and attitudes we rely on to prevent those kinds of occurrence are under stress, and that many of the premises on which we have based our governance, policy, and security are now challenged, eroded, or simply gone” (Hayden, 2). And quoting his friend A.C. Grayling in which in a personal conversation he told General Hayden that this emerging post-truth world is one “over-valuing opinion and preference at the expense of proof and data” (Hayden, 3). As General Hayden eloquently puts it, “Intelligence gathers, evaluates, and analyzes information and then disseminates its conclusions for use, study, or refutation” (Hayden, 3). In a world in which there is so much mass information out there; and in one in which people are hyper-polarized to only read what they already believe, unique challenges are created. In the case of Donald Trump, a demagogue of the first degree, we face an even greater threat to the very nature of truth and reality.
This book is an absolute must read. I can write an entire report on General Hayden’s book and in fact I might just do that in the near future. This book is so vital and important as General Hayden takes us through his own firsthand account of this chaos and the unpredictability of everything that is currently taking place; particularly the war on intelligence and the de facto war that Donald Trump is going to war against the very intelligence agencies that keep us safe.
Another book I will soon review will be “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” in which psychiatrists and mental health professionals of the first degree highlight the case on why they have broken with the Goldwater rule; and have said what is clear: Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist and a sociopathic narcissist with the lack of the human emotion of empathy. I will come back to update more on General Hayden’s book in the near future. Read it!
David Frum is an astute conservative intellectual who was senior speechwriter for President George W. Bush and is currently the senior editor at The Atlantic. He took the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. You can also follow him on his Facebook page and Twitter page.
Mr. Frum, it is a pleasure and an honor to conduct this short interview with you. You mention in your new and prescient book, “Trumpocracy”, the lasting damage of Donald Trump may be the ways that he has violated both the written and unwritten norms of our country – most especially his attack on our institutions – what do you think is the most profound impact this may have on the future of our country and the lasting legacy this may leave behind? You offer hope near the end of the book on how this has galvanized patriots of all political stripes that may have never before been interested in government and civic duties, but in what ways do you think that the Presidency of Donald Trump will leave this mark for future generations to come?
Two impacts already look long-lasting: the harm done to US global leadership – and the degradation of one of the two great political parties.
How can a South Korean or an Estonian or anyone else who relies on US protection ever again fully and entirely trust the word of the United States? Things that once looked impossible have now happened. They are real-world possibilities that people must take into account.
At home, we have seen one of the two great democratic competitors rally around a figure they knew to be corrupt, abusive, authoritarian, and – to a greater or lesser degree -under the thrall of a hostile foreign government. That behavior will be hard to forget.
TWO IMPACTS ALREADY LOOK LONG-LASTING: THE HARM DONE TO U.S. GLOBAL LEADERSHIP – AND THE DEGRADATION OF ONE OF THE TWO GREAT POLITICAL PARTIES
While it is often said that history repeats itself, history is never repeated exactly of course. What parallels of history would you say that the tactics of Donald Trump and the time we live in today remind you?
I prefer the observation of a cherished history professor, “History never repeats itself, it only appears to do so to those who do not pay attention to the details.” I am most struck by the way that Trump – and those like him in other advanced democracies – is new. In the 20th century, would-be authoritarians were impelled by ideology, or at least pretended to be. Trump is a US imitator of the chauvinist repressive kleptocracy we see most fully perfected in Putin’s Russia. It has no positive message at all, it offers only resentment in service of corruption.
As many of our followers know, you were President George W. Bush’s senior speechwriter. Working with 43, what would be the best lessons you learned from him that may have influenced you or left a lasting mark on the person you are today?
I was only one among four writers! ( I try to resist the Washington disease of exaggerating my role in past events.) That said, I learned many things from him. Here’s one that I try to impart to rising politicians I meet: Your flaws can also be your strengths, if you have the wisdom to learn from them. “I believe in forgiveness because I have needed it,” Bush said in his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. Those words enabled flawed human beings – ie all of us – could see something of ourselves in this American aristocrat.
Away from the manners in which Donald Trump has violated the basic norms of decency and democratic governance, what would you tell potential readers the goal of your book is and why that it is different from other Trump books that have been published and have become popularized?
TRUMPOCRACY SEEKS TO BE BOTH ANALYTICAL AND INSPIRATIONAL, TO SHOW THE DANGER AND THE REMEDY
I took a risk in publishing early because I hoped to urge Americans to act before it was too late. Trumpocracy seeks to be both analytical and inspirational, to show the danger and the remedy.
As some may or may not know, you were a good friend of the late Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens was an astute intellectual, author and contrarian that passed away in 2011). What do you think he would say about the time that we are living in today? Additionally, can you briefly summarize in a couple of sentences what his lasting legacy is to you?
I loved Christopher and sorely miss him. He would derive grim pleasure from watching his least favorite people in American public life – evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. – line up to confer God’s blessing on a rogue and crook like Donald Trump. Here he is talking about the Sr. Falwell pre-Trump (When Christopher Hitchens sparred with Hannity, whacked Reed and cheered Falwell’s death). Only imagine what he’d say about the convergence of the Jr. upon Trump!
For me, one legacy of Christopher is this: It’s possible both to be intellectually serious and morally intense – to speak forcefully and also eloquently. How often do we hear cable personalities say the equivalent of, “Oh yeah? Fuck YOU.” As if that conveyed any intelligent meaning at all! I sent three children through middle-school, I don’t need to hear middle school on the public platform or cable TV. (Read David Frum’s obituary on Christopher Hitchens’ here)
Last question and I will let you go. Why do more people (especially conservative talking heads) not consider how the passage of history and time will judge them as to where they stood in the era of Donald Trump? Why do not more people who are seemingly educated not seem to consider as to how history and their grandchildren will judge them?
Some of them are so distracted by resentment and hatred that they cannot see even ten minutes into the future. Others shrug: the posthumous respect of history will not pay bills in the here and now. History can be forgetful; corrupt earnings prudently invested can last a long time.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A very good read. Let me start off by saying that each and every single one of us are imperfect people with personal flaws of one kind or another. This includes James Comey and he is the first one to acknowledge this truism. There is very little doubt that his unprecedented announcement a little bit ten days before the election contributed and may very well helped tilt the election to Donald Trump. Acknowledging this travesty that we are currently living in, there is no doubt that Mr. Comey has something Donald Trump will never have in possessing a moral character and was guided by all his decisions to the prisms of integrity and morality.
Looking back in hindsight is always an easy thing to do. There has been a lot said in the media about Mr. Comey’s apparent contradictions and other tidbits of his book. For example, he never says that his decision was guided consciously by the fact that Hillary Clinton was expected to win but rather that it may or may not have played an unconscious role. If Mr. Comey has any character flaws, it is that in my opinion he cherries himself to be a boy scout in that he places all the moral burden and moral responsibility upon himself rather than having followed Department of Justice protocols. Additionally, he was forced to make tough decisions in an ever changing environment and situation that none of us could fathom. Would we have made different decisions? Possibly, but we were not in his shoes with the pressures coming from all sides. Mr. Comey made decisions to protect the integrity of the FBI and the independence of our judicial system.
I will come back to this review and write more in the near future once my thoughts on this book have more fully developed. Let it be known, whatever faults and failings that Mr. Comey may have in his reasoning and decision making process, he is a patriot who has served his country faithfully and dutifully from the very youngest of age. For Trump supporters and sycophants to smear him in the ways that they have only demonstrate their lack of of an intellectual or moral compass. At the end of the day, Donald Trump is a traitor and has never put any person ahead of himself and his nefarious behavior. Remember, the day after the firing of James Comey, Donald Trump had high level Kremlin officials in the Oval Office in which he bragged that he fired Mr. Comey because he was a “nut job” and to put an end to the Russian investigation. Intent matters. Motivations matter. That is why we have distinctions in our judicial system between 1st degree, 2nd degree and manslaughter (among other various distinctions in which intent plays a significant role). History will judge all of us accordingly as to where we stood at this perilous time in our nation’s history. We will all have to answer to that as well as to the legacy we leave behind to our children and grandchildren. #IStandWithMueller. We all should. Enough excuses and deflections. Truth and justice will prevail. America is bigger and better than any one person; and we have too much history to allow a demagogue to wipe away all our foundational freedoms and independence of our judicial system away from the people. Truth and justice will prevail.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
David Frum’s timely and prescient book “Trumpocracy” is a vital read in not solely understanding the baseness that is Donald Trump – but most importantly those who have enabled him to come to this point in risking the security, reputation, and long term stability of our country in great risk. It is vital that we learn from the lessons of history and the implications that they can mean to our present situation. Donald Trump is a unique threat and we truly are living in a perilous time in our nation’s history. I truly believe that history will judge this time as to where people stood and the causes they advocated once history is recorded. The most amazing thing is to see the number of people who simply seem to accept the fact (or in denial) that Donald Trump and his campaign were involved in nefarious activities with a foreign adversary who tried to tilt our election in his favor. I believe that history will record Donald Trump as the *Asterisk President – one that history records as illegitimate. Before that time comes, we are faced with a unique threat in terms of both the debasing of our cherished institutions and democratic process; as well as this reckless malignant narcissist increasing the chances of a nuclear war in which millions of people can perish in the blink of an eye.
David Frum is a principled conservative who never sold out his soul, character, integrity and morals to support a demagogue. As David Frum excerpts from an op-ed he wrote toward the end of the election cycle on why he voted for Hillary Clinton, “Previous generations accepted infinitely heavier sacrifices and more dangerous duties to defend democracy. I am voting to defend Americans’ profoundest shared commitment: a commitment to norms and rules that today protect my rights under a president I don’t favor, and that will tomorrow do the same service for you.” As we have come to see in just the past year how true these words were then and resonate even more now. Putting America first is not about using demagogic tactics of the authoritarians, totalitarians and fascists of the first half of the 20th Century. It is not about being a liar and telling your core supporters that all news against the Dear Leader is “fake news”. It is not lying about lying and lying as a normal practice. We cannot allow Donald Trump to represent a new normal. Donald Trump is an aberration and a stain on both the office of the Presidency and to the history and ideals of our country. I look forward to Bob Mueller releasing his final report. And if warranted, treasonous/traitorous actions should have consequences. We will soon see whether Republicans in Congress have the slightest modicum of integrity and humility in putting country and humanity over the parochial whims of being members of Congress.
By the way, the tone and voice of the author was very much alive in this reading. Very good writer full of expression and wit.