Not like the ones I used to know.
It's more like a bad dream.
I was afraid of this. The first sniff of white supremacy in or around the White House came with the appointment of Stephen Bannon as special adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. (Still can't get used to saying that ... President Trump). Bannon's documented history of bigotry and minority discrimination should be a concern to us all regarding his elevated and strategic new position within the White House and in the new Trump administration.
Now, with the appointment of men like Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and previous chatter of Michael Flynn as national security adviser (Flynn was dropped this week from Trump's transition team), it looks like the race pendulum might be swinging back across the decades, potentially eradicating the forward progress we've made in this country to respect all Americans as equal partners in our democracy.
My hope is that I'm wrong.
My hope is that these men will continue in the spirit of American freedom by adding their leadership talents and abilities to further promote American values and at the same time protect America's freedoms—all Americans' freedoms. There is no separation. All Americans are equal.
And likewise, all Americans are responsible and accountable.
There is no doubt that our new challenges today surpass anything we've seen in the past regarding national security. Radical Islamic terrorism is a threat—a severe and critical threat as we have seen here within our own borders and around the world. We need to elevate all our intelligence and national security resources to new levels of awareness and preparedness using both advanced information technologies and vigilant critical thinking. We must keep a level head and not take token potshots at whatever moves in the shadows.
America must realize where we are on the court regarding why we are a target of global and, importantly, domestic terrorism and what part we have played in putting ourselves into that position, and then figure a way to ease out of it; not blast our way out.
The attacks of Sept. 11 were the wake-up call. Going after Saddam Hussein was the wrong call. A major politically motivated, knee-jerk reaction blunder like that, in such a volatile and critical global arena, has opened a can of worms the likes of which we have never seen. We'll be dealing with this forever.
It was a dumb, but predictable move. I'll never forget how the Bush administration imposed upon the credibility and honor of Gen. Colin Powell to convince the American people that Saddam had stockpiled "weapons of mass destruction" in secret bunkers hidden in the desert. They found only a couple rusted, old 55-gallon drums of Drano. Powell was a good man, a potential presidential candidate. The act he was forced to play out damaged his integrity and placed him in a damn-or-be-damned compromising position.
This was a classic example of the stupidity, arrogance and abuse of power a faulty, lopsided administration can affect on its people, and the long-term damage it can inflict on international relations and millions of others' lives.
I'm hoping that the new Trump administration and its appointees will address in an American way the critical issues Mr. Trump has correctly identified throughout his campaign: with integrity, intelligence, "street smarts," decisive and swift action—and not take potshots at easy targets for marketing imagery, political and personal career gain.
I hope the Trump administration sticks to the real and present dangers we face, in the short term and long term, here and abroad.
Trump is right about our crumbling infrastructure. Roads, bridges, airports, rail service—they're all falling apart. He's right about jobs going overseas. He's right about crime in the streets, drugs and illegal immigration.
He's right about the threats to our national security.
But, you know what? Any sixth grader could have told you that.
Let's hope we elected the right candidate because we believed that this hard-nosed, no-nonsense "businessman" could get the job done, unlike the other candidate who represented the classic political insider who made a career and living off of talking about the issues.
So, I'll continue to dream of that classic American White Christmas—"all that snow"—and I'll support our new president in his efforts to "make America great again." I know what he means by that, or at least I want to believe that he means what I think he means: Stay the course, "speak softly and carry a big stick."
Get the job done.
Let's hope the fears of all the years are met with American values and integrity, and the White Christmas dream doesn't turn into a nightmare.
John Kushma is a Logan-based communication consultant. Send feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org