POINT OF VIEW: We’ve strayed too far from the Founders’ ideals

The last time I worried so deeply about America’s safety and future, I slid under my wooden desk at Brooklyn Public School #229. As silly as it seems today, in 1954, we periodically performed this exercise to protect ourselves from a potential Russian A-bomb attack. While I no longer worry about an A-bomb attack or destruction from without, I most definitely worry about destruction from within.

I’m afraid that American values of freedom, human dignity and the rule of law are endangered. I worry that the spirit of our Founding Fathers is disappearing.

It worries me that our leadership position in the world is rapidly declining. As reported at the G-20 meeting, there was a feeling that the leaders were trying to find a way to work around President Donald Trump.

I’m worried about our president’s deep admiration for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Is he envious of Putin’s complete control of the Russian people and the Russian press? It disturbs me that Trump did not strongly accuse Putin of attempting to hack our election and lying about it. The president has ignored the evidence. On the other hand, Trump had no problem releasing highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office. Add to this (his son-in-law) Jared Kushner seeking to set up a back-channel communication system using Russian communication facilities. In the same vein, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently turned down $80 million that funded a subagency that functions to counter Russian and ISIS disinformation and fake news dissemination. Is he worried about upsetting the Russians?

I’m afraid that grand scale projects and programs such as Social Security and infrastructure rebuilding, that make living better for all citizens, are no longer in our future. Too much of America’s prosperity has moved from the public domain into private pockets. The president demands total loyalty, yet there is no unity of loyalty by the White House and a large number of elected officials to “We the people.”

Nancy McEldowney, retiring director of the Foreign Service Institute, in her farewell address stated: “I learned that we swear an oath not to a king or even a president but to a Constitution, a system of laws that Lincoln described as the only true sovereign of a free people.”

I fear that we have drifted far away from our secure island of laws into an angry, disturbed, unpredictable sea.


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