I love our country. Do you?

The Criminal in the White House

I love our country but something terrible is happening here. And it’s hard for me to believe we, the majority of Americans, like it. No matter our political leanings, we did not vote to put a criminal in the White House, nor do we now approve of the one who occupies that seat.

For those who object to referring to Trump as a criminal, let me point out that Michael Cohen, the President’s long-time attorney, is now in prison for committing a crime that was proven to be at Trump’s direction. In fact, the evidence presented in the Cohen case leaves no doubt that the un-indicted Co-conspirator, Individual–1, is actually Donald J. Trump, who also should have been indicted. But the U.S. Justice Department guidelines do not allow for the indictment of a sitting president.

Corruption and National Security

I strongly suspect that sometime in the future we’ll learn that our corrupt president committed many other serious crimes. I believe Trump fights so hard to keep his tax returns secret because he’s afraid. A forensic analysis might reveal transactions with Russian oligarchs were money laundering—flagrantly illegal under U.S. law. Perhaps it will reveal that Trump is so indebted to Russian financing, that he has no choice but to show fealty to fellow criminal, Vladimir Putin. This would explain why Trump puts America’s national security at risk and ignores Russian meddling in U.S. elections. And all of these crimes were committed before Trump became president.

Another Criminal in the White House

We’ve had a President who proved to be a criminal despite his public pronouncement. “I am not a crook. I earned everything I got,” said Richard Nixon. His crimes were obstruction of justice; abuse of authority and defiance of Committee subpoenas. But at that time, congressional Republicans had not sold their souls. They did not go out of their way to provide cover to a man besmirching the highest office in the land. Once Nixon realized he was going to be impeached, he quit. More accurately, the criminal was exposed and fled. Subsequently he received a pardon from his replacement, Gerald Ford. But the nightmare ended. Not so for us today.

The Racist President – A lack of Love of Country

I don’t like what’s happening to our country. Do you?

A president is elected to serve all the people. This President makes it patently clear he only represents his base, some 40% of the electorate. He is divisive and takes pride in driving a wedge among the rest of us. Though he denies it, there’s no way to ignore Trump is a Racist, with a capital R. His “patriots” are the ones chanting,  “Send her back.” His “very fine people” in Charlottesville include White Supremacists and Neo Nazis. He is an equal opportunity misogynist, though with more emphasis on women of color. Immigrants are scapegoated as if they are the cause of all America’s ills.

It’s hard to fathom that almost 40% of the electorate identifies with this man. I don’t like to think that such a large percentage of the country actually embraces his mean-spirited hatefulness. Perhaps they tolerate him because he gives them judges, tax cuts and less regulation. Or is it because he says what they cannot? If that is the reason, this is not the country I want. And I refuse to accept this is the country a majority of Americans want.

Ronald Reagan, Racist and yet . . .

Nor do I believe this is the country Ronald Reagan wanted. Recently the National Archives released a tape of a 1971 private phone conversation between then California Governor Reagan and President Richard Nixon. It demonstrated unequivocally that Reagan personally was racist. Some would also argue that certain of his policies confirmed his racism.

Yet publicly, this icon of Republicanism was a conservative who saw America as a color-blind land of opportunity for immigrants. He best expressed his views in one of his final speeches as President. Below is a transcript of that speech. But to fully appreciate the depth of Ronald Reagan’s feelings on the subject, I urge you to view the video of that address.

Ronald Reagan’s Last Speech as President

Since this is the last speech I will give as President, I think it’s fitting to give one final thought, an observation about a country which I love. It was stated best in a letter I received not long ago. A man wrote me and said: You can go to live in France, but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey or Japan, but you cannot become a German, a Turk or Japanese. But anyone, from any corner of the Earth, can come to live in America and become an American.

Yes, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors. It is that lady who gives us our great and special place in the world. For it’s the great life force of each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed into the next century and beyond. Other countries may seek to compete with us; but in one vital area, as a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close.

This, I believe, is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation. While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams, we create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow.

Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.

A number of years ago, an American student traveling in Europe took an East German ship across the Baltic Sea. One of the ship’s crew members from East Germany, a man in his 60’s, struck up a conversation with the American student. After a while the student asked the man how he had learned such good English. And the man explained he had once lived in America. He said that for over a year he had worked as a farmer in Oklahoma and California, that he had planted tomatoes and picked ripe melons. It was, the man said, the happiest time of his life.

Well, the student who had seen the awful conditions behind the Iron Curtain, blurted out the question, well, why did you ever leave? I had to, he said, the war ended. The man had been in America as a German prisoner of war.

Now I don’t tell this story to make the case for former POWs. Instead, I tell this story just to remind you of the magical, intoxicating power of America. We may sometimes forget it, but others do not. Even a man from a country at war with the United States, while held here as a prisoner, could fall in love with us.

Those who become American citizens love this country even more. And that’s why the Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp to welcome them to the golden door. It is bold men and women, yearning for freedom and opportunity, who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over. They believe in the American dream. And over and over, they make it come true for themselves, for their children, and for others. They give more than they receive. They labor and succeed, and often they are entrepreneurs.

A Needed Republican Response

Whether you agreed or disagreed with Reagan’s policies, and even if you considered him racist, there is no question that he recognized immigration and the “melting pot” for what it is: the foundation on which this great country was built.

It is beyond time for Republicans to return to the values that truly make America great, to speak out against the fascist demagogue that presently occupies the White House.

Another great Republican President—Abraham Lincoln—must have been prescient when he said:

 “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

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