Tag Archives: national unity

Trump making Biden’s task even more difficult

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I have been extolling the virtues of President-elect Biden’s mission to bring the nation together, to restore our “national soul.”

There was a time when I thought Joe Biden was up to the task, no matter its difficulty. I am now having second thoughts.

Why? Because the man he defeated on Nov. 3 is sowing some incredibly deeply planted seeds of mistrust in the democratic system that defeated him for re-election.

If Donald Trump had any sense of shame within his overfed body, he might heed the calls to dial it all back. He doesn’t. Instead, he continues to sow those seeds that are being scarfed up by the moronic base of supporters who actually  believe the lies he tells.

What’s more, we now hear from one of Trump’s lawyers saying that a man whom Trump fired should be “drawn and quartered and shot” because he declared the presidential election was the most secure in history.

The lawyer is Joseph DiGenova. The individual he wants executed is Christopher Krebs, whom Trump hired to protect the nation’s electoral system against corruption. Krebs did his job, except that his declaration flies in the face of Trump’s narrative, which is that the election is “rigged,” and that the presidency was “stolen” by millions of illegal voters.

This is a sample of the headwinds that confront President-elect Biden as he prepares to assume the nation’s highest office.

And this is an example of how the nation’s soul is in serious disrepair. I won’t say that Trump has destroyed our national soul. He clearly has inflicted grievous damage on it. He is doing so even as the clock ticks away the final weeks of his disastrous term as president.

President-elect Biden faced a difficult job even under better circumstances. I pray his pledge to unify the nation isn’t crossing the threshold of impossibility.

Here’s a wish list for you, Joe Biden

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I have spent a lot of blog space griping about Donald John Trump.

I now want to devote a bit of forward-looking energy to what I expect from the individual I hope sends Trump packing after the November presidential election.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.? Listen up. I am talking to you.

I want the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to do a number of things the moment he takes the oath of office next January.

I want Biden to make good on his pledge to issue an immediate executive order restoring the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals for U.S. residents who came here as children when their parents smuggled them into the country illegally. DACA residents do not deserve to be rounded up and sent to the country of their birth. They know only the U.S. of A. Many of them built productive lives as de facto Americans. Yes, they need to legalize their status. A President Biden should give them the chance to do so without fear of deportation.

I also want Biden to restore the U.S. role in the Iran de-nuclearization agreement hammered out by President Obama and other allied nations. Donald Trump pulled us out of that agreement, paving the way for Iran to proceed with its ghastly nuclear ambitions.

Speaking of nukes, I hope Biden re-states this nation’s intense desire to assure that North Korea ends its own nuclear ambition. I want an end to ridiculous talk from the Oval Office about a “love affair” between the president and North Korean murderer/strongman Kim Jong Un.

Joe Biden needs to restore our international alliances. I want the former VP to return to the Paris Climate Accord; I want Biden to dial down the anti-NATO volume and assure our Western European allies that the nation recognizes the immense value of the world’s most important military alliance. Donald Trump’s threats to de-fund NATO only embolden the Russians.

Speaking of Russia, I want Joe Biden to lay down in plain language that even Vladimir Putin understands: Do not interfere with our electoral process; if you do you will face intense economic sanction by the world’s greatest economic power. He also should remind Putin that Russia’s standing as a third-rate economic power does not entitle it to have a seat at the negotiating table occupied by the world’s industrialized nations.

I want Joe Biden to restore environmental regulations that incentivize the development of alternative energy sources to augment the nation’s already immense fossil-fuel development.

And I want Joe Biden to speak to the entire nation at once. No more of the divisive rhetoric that keeps spewing forth from White House.

It’s a full plate, Mr. VP. You’ve been involved with government for a long time. You can do this.

Bush 43 weighs in on Floyd tragedy

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

I admire former President George W. Bush’s restraint.

He seeks to calm the roiling water with words that appeal to our better angels. The 43rd president did so with a message released this week in the wake of George Floyd’s hideous death at the hands of brutal cops in Minneapolis.

Here is what the former president said in a statement:

“Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country. Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures – and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.

“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.

“America’s greatest challenge has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. The doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union. The answers to American problems are found by living up to American ideals — to the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal and endowed by God with certain rights. We have often underestimated how radical that quest really is, and how our cherished principles challenge systems of intended or assumed injustice. The heroes of America — from Frederick Douglass, to Harriet Tubman, to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr. — are heroes of unity. Their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America’s need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised.

“That is exactly where we now stand. Many doubt the justice of our country, and with good reason. Black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions. We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress. But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.

“This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion. There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice. I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.”

All of this, to no one’s surprise, will be lost on the current president, who foments anger with his tough talk about “thousands and thousands of well-armed military” taking control of our city streets. Donald Trump likely will not even read this statement in its entirety.

He should.

Prepare for ‘unity’ campaign for POTUS

Once we get past this impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, the current president of the United States, we should steel ourselves for a presidential campaign that well might focus on “unity.”

And that brings me right to the point: The incumbent president is not equipped in any sense to provide anything close to “unity” as he seeks re-election to the office he won after a scorched-Earth campaign in 2016.

Sure, he vowed to unify the nation. He pledged to work across the aisle. He said he would be the president of “all Americans.”

Has he delivered the goods? Well, you know how I feel about that.

Indeed, the president has been campaigning for re-election almost from the moment his smaller-than-boasted inaugural crowd dispersed from in front of the U.S. Capitol.

He has been speaking almost exclusively to the base of supporters who have stuck with him throughout his presidential term. He does, after all, demand unfettered loyalty among those who work with and for him, isn’t that right? That demand has been pretty well proven.

The unity mantra, therefore, is going to fall as well on whoever emerges from the Democratic Party field to challenge the president …. presuming, as virtually all observers have done, that he survives the impeachment trial that is underway in the U.S. Senate.

The way I see the fall campaign matching up — Trump vs. Any Democrat — the burden of unifying the country is going to fall on whoever challenges the president, given that Trump is incapable of unifying anyone.

I am one American patriot who yearns for a return of the “one nation under God” we all cherish.

Unity becoming a signature issue among Democrats

I have heard a lot of talk of the “u-word” among those who are running for president of the United States.

They want to bring unity to the country. They want to bridge the divide that is growing between and among various ethnic, religious, racial and political groups.

They say we are living in (arguably) the most divisive period in our nation’s history. I agree with their goal. I favor a more unified country, too. The divisions that have torn us apart have created nations within the nation.

I am going to disagree with the implication I have heard from some of the Democrats running for president that this division is the worst in our history.

We had that Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The nation fought against itself, killing 600,000 Americans on battlefields throughout the eastern third of what is now the United States of America.

The Great Depression brought about huge division, too. Americans tossed out a president and brought in another one who promised a New Deal. It took some time for the economy to recover. Indeed, it’s been argued that World War II was the catalyst that sparked the nation’s economic revival.

Then came two more wars: in Korea and Vietnam. Those conflicts produced division as well. Vietnam, particularly, brought death in our city streets as well as in far-off battlefields.

The divisions today are severe. Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency pledging to unify the nation. He has failed. Indeed, his rhetoric only has deepened the divide.

The white nationalist debate that has flared with the New Zealand massacre allegedly by someone associated with white supremacists has underscored the division.

So now we have a huge and growing field of Democrats seeking to succeed Donald Trump as president. One of the themes that links them all is their common call for unity. One of them, Beto O’Rourke, says he wants to “restore our democracy.” OK, but . . . how?

Seeking unity is a noble and worthwhile goal. I applaud any candidate who says he or she wants to make that a top priority.

However, I am no longer in the mood for platitudes. I need some specifics on how to achieve it. I know that Donald Trump is a lost cause. He cannot unify his own White House staff, let alone a nation he was elected to govern.

The rest of the field needs to lay out their plans to achieve what Trump has failed to do.

In . . . detail!

Saudi prince, family: great unifiers?

Jamal Khashoggi’s hideous murder has done something quite remarkable in the United States of America.

It has produced bipartisan condemnation of the brutality of the act and demands that the Donald Trump administration do something significant to respond to Saudi Arabia’s governmental sanctioning of the Khashoggi’s murder.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, told ABC News today that the U.S. government cannot stand by and accept the “savagery” that occurred inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where Khashoggi reportedly was cut to pieces — while he was still alive! — before he died.

The Saudis have offered lame excuses, backed away from one so-called “explanation” and have settled on saying that Khashoggi died in a fistfight at the consulate.

Khashoggi was a U.S. resident; he was a columnist for the Washington Post. Indeed, his final column discussed the need for free expression in his home country, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Middle East.

What might be a “significant” gesture in response to the Saudis’ savagery? Here’s a thought: Send the Saudi Arabia ambassador to the United States home until his government provides a full, comprehensive and transparent finding on what happened to Khashoggi. What’s more, the Saudis need to provide proof that they are taking serious punitive measures against those who have been accused of this heinous deed.

Unity at last?

Democrats and Republicans now are speaking with a single voice on this. The issue now is for Donald Trump, the nation’s top Republican politician, to heed their calls for a tough response and a full-throated condemnation against this kind of attack on a U.S. resident.

Whether the president delivers on all of that remains to be seen. I am one American who remains skeptical that Donald Trump is capable of offering this level of outrage.

Divide-and-conquer POTUS is at it again

Leave it to the president of the United States to show us once again how little he cares about civility, collegiality and comity in our public discourse.

Yep, Donald Trump applauded a Montana congressman for — get a load of this — body-slamming a reporter in 2017.

Rep. Greg Gianforte, the state’s lone member of the House, is Trump’s kinda guy. That’s what Trump said at a rally in support of his fellow Republican, who this past year body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs, who had the temerity to ask him a tough question. I mean, the nerve … you know?

Gianforte pleaded guilty to assaulting Jones and performed community service as part of his sentence.

Back to my point … which is that Trump clearly doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about all Americans, no matter what he says. He is talking exclusively to his base of supporters who share his perverted view of the media being “the enemy of the American people.”

Why do you think he got such a holler yesterday in Montana when he declared how Gianforte is his guy? “Any guy that can do a body-slam is my guy,” Trump said. Implied in his low-level praise of Gianforte is that he is especially proud of him for assaulting a reporter.

Trump is seeking to divide the nation and conquer the part of it that agrees with him and his wide range of idiotic notions. The rest of us, those who didn’t vote for him in 2016, those who gave Hillary Clinton that nearly 3 million-ballot cushion in the popular vote?

I believe the president of the United States is telling us to go straight to hell. 

Yep, that’s our president.

You ‘unify’ the country by trashing half of Americans?

Donald Trump is employing a fascinating tactic in his effort to “unify” the nation.

Let’s ponder this for a moment. He is trashing Democrats. He calls them “unhinged.” He says they are “wacko.” Democrats are the “party of crime.” He refers to Democrats as “socialists,” which is the new four-letter word in the Republican Party’s glossary of epithets.

My point? How does one “unify” a nation by trashing roughly half of its voting population? I do not understand this tactic.

I applaud the strategy the president espouses — if only he would set forth in implementing it!

He has been staging campaign rallies on behalf of GOP midterm election candidates. He’s also gearing up for his own re-election campaign in 2020. He staged another rally today, interestingly, while the nation’s attention is riveted on the Florida Panhandle and the savagery brought ashore by Hurricane Michael; you’ll remember that Trump criticized former President Obama for campaigning during earlier natural disasters. But it doesn’t matter to the current president, right?

In doing so, he trashes Americans who happen to adhere to the views put forth by the Democratic Party.

That’s how you unify the nation? That is how you bring people together? That is how you heal the wounds inflicted by the previous presidential election?

No. It isn’t. It’s how you deepen the wounds and peel away the scab. It’s how you foment division, hatred, fear and loathing.

The divider in chief is showing his true self. The man has no interest, let alone no ability, to unify this great nation.

Can the president set a different tone for discussion?

I am now going to wonder out loud: Is the president of the United States wired in a way that enables him to shift the tone of the public discussion?

Donald Trump has been ranting and railing seemingly since the beginning of his presidency. Every major speech he has delivered — beginning with the Inaugural — has been laced with gloom, doom, anger and rage. He took office proclaiming the nation to be in a disastrous state. He pledged to fix what ails the nation.

But along the way he has continually and incessantly blamed, in no particular order, his immediate predecessor, Democrats in Congress, the media, illegal immigrants and individuals and groups that are too numerous to single out in this blog.

Republicans have largely given the president a pass. Not all of them, though, have remained quiet. Some lame-duck congressional Republicans have pointedly called Trump out over some of his various idiotic statements.

All of that has prompted Trump to respond with vigor and extreme prejudice against those who oppose him.

Thus, the gloom, doom, anger and rage has only accelerated.

We’re not even two years into the president’s term in office and it already feels as though he’s been in front of us forever.

He launched his re-election campaign less than six months after taking office in January 2017. He’s already in full re-election campaign mode, traveling to various communities in states he won in 2016. He is firing off lie after lie while hurling insults at his political foes.

My question about the president’s emotional wiring stems from my belief that were he able to do so, he could change the tone and tenor of the national discussion all by himself. Yes, the president who said that “I, alone” can fix what troubles the nation could “alone” change the tone of the discussion.

He chooses not to do that. He calls himself a fighter, someone who hits back at those who throw the first punch, toss the first stone, hurl the first insult.

The result has been an increase in the national anger. The American political divide has turned into a political chasm.

A president who vowed to “unify” the nation has it within his power to make good on his pledge. He has decided instead to keep us divided.

That’s how he rolls.

Trump ignites a new era of nastiness

Donald J. Trump won’t leave a warm and fuzzy presidential legacy.

I feel confident in saying so. He’ll leave office no doubt proclaiming all kinds of economic and foreign policy success.

He won’t, though, be able to declare victory in his stated pledge to “unify” the country after the contentious and bitter campaign that elected him president of the United States.

We are more divided than we’ve been in the past 50 years. More divided than Bush v. Gore and the Florida recount — and a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision — that decided the 2000 election; more than the impeachment in 1998 of President Clinton; more than the fight over the Affordable Care Act in 2010; more divided, even, than during the Vietnam War, when millions of Americans marched in protest against that conflict.

Trump took office and declared at his inaugural that the “American carnage” would end “right here and right now.” It hasn’t.

He has dragged public discourse into the gutter. He has ignited his Democratic Party foes to follow him there. Man, I regret that trend. We hear Democrats using Trump’s own words and behavior as justification for their attempts to out-shout the president and the Republicans.

Trump’s declaration that the media are the “enemy of the American people” has energized his base, which is totally fine with him.

Donald Trump is not the president of the entire nation; he speaks only to his base and speaks only in language that his base understands. They comprise something around 38 percent of all Americans. That’s enough to suit the president.

Does any of this portend a legacy that makes us proud?

Nope. Not as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure a lot of other Americans feel the same way.