by Blair Bess
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be very clear: Donald J. Trump is President of the United States of America. He won the electoral vote by a substantial margin. He did not win the popular vote. Does anyone, other than Mr. Trump, really care? He’s the president. I accept that. He is no less legitimate to me because Hillary Clinton had 3,000,000 more popular votes than he, just as George W. Bush was no less legitimate because he received roughly 540,000 popular votes less than his Democrat opponent Al Gore. Doesn’t matter how you get to the White House, so long as you get there.
Here’s something else I accept: the Russian government hacked our election. This is not “fake news,” despite the rants and raves emanating from the White House. Why should we believe this? Because the Russians are not now, nor have they ever been, our friends and compadres. While we were, for a brief point in time, allies and partners of necessity in confronting Nazi Germany during World War II, the Russian government – let me say it again – have never been our friends.
In the wake of our temporary alliance, we spent the better part of 40 years embroiled in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, Russia’s de facto predecessor. Ultimately, they brought us to the brink of Armageddon during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This is the same adversary that disregarded national boundaries in its aggressive seizure of territory in Eastern Europe throughout the post-WWII era. The same government that erected a barrier against democracy, in Berlin, which stood for nearly 30 years; the one that caused President Ronald Reagan to excoriate, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” The government that imprisoned anyone who opposed, or spoke out against it, with sentences to a life of hard labor, and often death in its gulags, if not death outright. The same government that invaded Afghanistan in the ‘80s. The successor government, Russia, that in the last decade made power grabs in Armenia and Ukraine. The same Russian leadership that sat idly by or actively participated in, depending upon who you believe, the gassing of innocent men, women, and children in Syria. And, yes, the same Russian government that invaded us here in the United States.
It’s time for President Trump to get on board with the military and intelligence professionals who provide him with real, substantive information rather than listen to a close, insular circle that includes family members and sycophants who will not tell him the truth, provide him with a reality check, either out of fear that they’ll cause him dismay or lose their job or because they have their own personal agendas to promote. This is for real. It is not a drill. The Russians have gained access to and possess not only voter information, but personal, perhaps more valuable, information including Social Security numbers, where you live, your address, your height, your weight, the color of your eyes and hair, whether you’ve opted to be an organ donor, whatever. Seems innocuous enough, but not really. Anything we hold near and dear is fair game for those who seek to take us down. And take us down they can. Hacking an election is one thing. Hacking our infrastructure, the systems that control our national defense, access to our bank accounts, health records, etc. is a whole other ballgame. They can do it to us and we, I daresay, can do it to them as well. Cyberwarfare is the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine of the 21st Century.
To deny is to be complicit. And this is what our Commander-in-Chief has chosen to do: deny and wallow in complacency because it is counterintuitive to whatever narcissistic slight he experiences from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute as evidenced by his constant barrage of tweets. That, or because he, his family, and/or his close associates have some very nasty secrets to hide as documented by news reports in the last few days.
Some of us may not have voted for you, Mr. President, some of us may not like you. But you are, though, for how long we don’t know, the leader of the Free World. The leader of the American people. So, lead. It is your mandate to do so.
If you do not stop the madness now, it will come back to haunt you and us a thousand-fold. You may have won the last election, but what if Vladimir Putin grows tired of you? What if Mr. Putin decides to pull the plug on your Presidency in 2020 and attack our electoral process yet again? Will you cry foul then? Will you resuscitate your chant that “the system is rigged?” Will you graciously accept defeat? Or will you then, and only then, condescend to the intelligence officials who attempt to brief you every day and choose that moment in the future to wake up to the reality of today: that the Russians have hacked us, cyber-attacked us, and are in control?
This is not “fake news,” Mr. President. If you cannot trust those who mean to serve you well and have both your best interests and the interests of our country at heart – soldiers, spies, civil servants, and those who voted for you and supported you – how can you be trusted? Get over yourself. Get real. Get out of bed with those who mean We the American People, and you, harm.
**The Views and Opinions expressed in these columns are those of the writer, not necessarily those of Valley Publications/Santa Clarita Gazette.**