When In The Course

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It always amazes me how we humans generally follow the rules. On any given day millions of people adhere to speed limits, stop at red lights even if there is nobody around, stay inside their designated lanes. There is always an implied threat of being caught and given a citation for breaking the law, but mostly people do what they are supposed to do because they realize that the statutes have been set in place for safety and the common good. We innately understand the value of working together for the benefit of all even if it is sometimes a bit inconvenient.

There are thousands of examples of how most of us know, understand and appreciate conformity to the directives that keep our society running smoothly. Now and again, however, we encounter situations in which it becomes uncomfortable to simply sit back and adhere to the status quo. In those moments we feel a grip in our stomaches and ask ourselves what our role should be. Do we sit back and quietly watch or do we rise up to voice our concerns? When is it best to avoid the fray, and when must we say something lest we no longer be able to gaze at ourselves in the mirror? How do we decide which aspect of a complex disagreement is the most right and just?

Since I am a huge fan of history I tend to be a documentary fangirl. Netflix is all too aware of my viewing preferences, and they continuously alert me to any new features that are available for my viewing pleasure. Recently they suggested that I might enjoy a program about Winston Churchill and his role during World War II. The story began at a time when much of the world was doing its best to ignore the warning signs that Adolf Hitler was a maniacal and dangerous dictator. Churchill was one of the few who consistently voiced concerns about the direction in which Germany was heading, in part because he was so vocal, Churchill’s views were initially thought to be a bit kooky. Nobody wanted to engage in controversy, and doing so was thought to be risky. Thus most of the world donned rose colored glasses and went about their routines hoping that the shenanigans in Germany would at worst be little more than an annoyance. Of course we know that such was not the case and Churchill was proven to be the right voice at the right time. His analysis of Adolf Hitler was insightful and he never quelled his criticisms of the dangers that he saw unfolding in Europe. If not for his steadfast diligence, Britain might have endured the same fate as Czechoslovakia, Poland and France.

Churchill somehow sensed that quietly accepting Adolf Hitler and hoping that he would simply fade away was an untenable stance. He raised his voice at a moment in time when it was unpopular to do so. People were tired. They had lost much in World War I. They worried that becoming divisive might shatter the peace that was precarious at best. it felt better to just ignore the craziness, keep the boat from rocking. Eventually the entire world would be forced to take a stand, choose a side, something that most had hoped to avoid. The question that lingers to this day is what people might have done from the very beginning to prevent the carnage that ensued. How different would that phase of history have been if Hitler had been defied not just by other nations, but by the German people from the moment that his ideas began to appear unhinged? 

The problem with such wishful thinking is that it is utterly useless after the fact. It is only in the moment that each of us has an opportunity to be heard and to do what we believe to be right. The trick is in unravelling the complexities of a situation and reaching the heart of the matter. To be willing to stand on a mountain top warning our fellow human beings of danger, we must first believe with all of our hearts that we will not be viewed as just another boy crying wolf. We must sense that what we have to say is so important that to secret it away in our hearts would be morally wrong. In such instances we sense that we must bend or even fracture the mores and rules that confine us so that our warnings might be heard.

My Facebook wall has been filled with impassioned pleas for love and understanding of late. Mothers worry about the contentious world in which their children must grow into adults. It feels as though hate is festering in the most unexpected places. We can’t even get a sense of well being from listening to our president, because he is more concerned with defending himself than being a beacon of hope. It feels as though we are being torn apart as a nation and within our relationships. So many are choosing to lock themselves away from it all. Only a few brave souls are willing to take the heat of criticism by voicing their concerns. The rest try to pretend that the unrest will soon all just go away, but even recent history has shown us all too clearly that the issues that trouble us only become more and more complex when we ignore them. Furthermore, they are rarely resolved when we are unable to find ways of working together.

I truly believe that the evil of this world represents a small minority, but it is nonetheless up to all good people to keep it in check. The hate that we see must always be called out for what it is. There can be no excuses, no watering down of our contempt. We cannot just look the other way when we see it, for it is when the good people join forces that they transform into an immovable power. They cannot be stopped until the depravity is eradicated. This truth has been demonstrated time and time again, so I wonder why we are so often reluctant to use it.

The fact is that there are groups of people in our country today who advocate the most detestable ideas possible. Under the guise of protecting an object, a statue, such groups held an abhorrent rally in Charlottesville that ultimately resulted in the death of an innocent young woman and the injury of others. Their only intent was to spread their poisonous ideas, not to somehow save the history of the south. They travel from venue to venue hoping to gain attention and new followers. They besmirch the legacy of the generation who defeated Hitler and all for which he stood when they parade through towns imitating the one of the most vile regimes that the world has seen. They are petty and lost souls who fester in anger, blaming imagined  slights for their own inconsequential lives. Any good thinking person should shun them and their despicable ideas, not find excuses for their behavior and thereby fuel their momentum. In other words, this is a watershed moment in which decent people must stand together to let such groups know that we will not accept their torches, their Nazi salutes, or their philosophies of hate. We will not allow them to enlist us in their misdirected causes. We will not find ways to mitigate their responsibility for spreading a disease of prejudice. We will make them the pariahs that they deserve to be.

Don’t turn away. Don’t tune out. Sometimes we have to make noise. Sometimes we have to demonstrate our courage. Our children are watching. Let’s show them what to do when in the course of human events we have no other choice than to stand firmly, proudly and publicly for what is right.

Unleashing Horror

tsar-bomba1I am a child of the Cold War. I grew up hearing an air raid siren every Friday at noon. I practiced crouching under my desk along with my classmates in readiness for a possible nuclear attack. I watched movies that featured apocalyptic scenarios and creatures that had grown out of proportion from exposure to radiation. I saw reports of individuals building bomb shelters and observed adults worrying about the Cuban Missile Crisis. The threat of attack from Russia seemed to be a fixture of my childhood and teen years. Somehow the danger was so insistent that I and most of my peers actually began to ignore it. Of greater importance to us were the young men being drafted to fight and sometimes die or be injured in Vietnam. Violence was featured on the nightly news programs that entered our living rooms each evening, but we never became immune to the horrific images that we saw. Instead we grew weary of the constant hints that one day our world might explode. More than a few of us became peaceniks ready to do whatever it took to keep our country and our young men and women out of harm’s way.

For a time things settled down into an illusory peace. It felt as though the whole world agreed that we all loved our children too much to keep fighting. Unfortunately the lull in the militarism was brief and once again we have a generation of young people who have literally spent their entire lives hearing of wars, terrorism and the threat of nuclear annihilation. It is a horrible place for them to be. It takes great mastery to shelter our kids from the worry of horrors. Even with our best efforts they will no doubt hear of the realities of the world just as I did, and it will worry them.

There is great saber rattling taking place between the United States and North Korea that is frankly far too reminiscent of the fear mongering that forced me and my classmates to endure those drills underneath our desks. The power of nuclear warfare that was unleashed at the end of World War II has been a specter that won’t quite go away. The arms race has placed dangerous weapons in the hands of tyrants capable of doing very unexpected things. This makes for great tension and requires great diplomacy and skill in reading the minds of those who would harm us. We are presently engaged in a nuclear chess game with potential consequences that are almost unbearable to consider.

It would have been impossible for my generation to spend all of our time concerned that one day our civilization as we know it might be wiped out with the push of a button. We had to believe that our leaders and the leaders of other nations would take their responsibilities for the safety of their people seriously. John Kennedy and the men and women that he had assembled in his cabinet proved to be more than worthy of the task. They averted what might have been a disaster of Biblical proportions. The true story of the thirteen days in October in which they stared down the Russians is one of courage and rationality. I think that after that particular occasion most of us continued to live our lives confident that we would never have to actually witness another nuclear attack like the one that was rained down on Japan. We grew more and more aware that with great power comes even more responsibility. Our leaders seemed up to the task.

I hate to admit this but many of my old childhood fears have come back to haunt me since President Trump has decided to take such a belligerent stance in reaction to learning that North Korea has the capability of attacking the United States. The game that he and Kim Jong Un are playing is high stakes, and we can only hope that it will remain in the realm of schoolyard taunting. The leader of North Korea is young and notoriously unstable. He may have little real appreciation for the consequences of launching a nuclear attack, but President Trump is of my generation and he should know full well that even thinking about such a thing is worrisome. His words may be designed to scare Kim Jong Un, but I wonder if they also might push the dictator to demonstrate that he is not afraid. Dealing with someone known for being unpredictable takes great finesse and I am not convinced that remarks about destroying a country are the best way to prevent the ultimate tragedy.

I find myself holding my breath just a bit but also trying to grasp why we humans would ever have put ourselves into such a precarious position. Surely we have evolved enough to realize that the horror of war never ends well for anyone, and yet here we are again dealing with evil in its worst forms, all so that a few may keep or seize power.

I would feel far more comfortable if the men and women that we have elected to lead us would show signs of coming together in such dangerous times. Now is not the moment to argue with one another, but rather a moment for uniting to find ways to keep the world safe. The idea that one individual is allowed to voice his opinions without counsel or a filter is appalling to me. Where are the profiles in courage that we so desperately need?

Innocents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were killed and injured because their leaders boasted that they would never surrender if it meant losing every man, woman and child. Even when it was apparent that the war had been lost the Japanese kept fighting, and so the decision was made to put an end to the conflict in the most terrible possible way. I shudder each time I think of what happened. A door was opened to unspeakable horrors that have threatened mankind ever since. Our goal should be to insure by hook or crook that nobody ever again has to endure such terror. Instead we seem intent on building our own arsenals even as we dare others to invest in their own. We appear to be at a standoff which is good, but what happens if someone finally decides to test the fates?

In the past when we still remembered how truly terrible a nuclear strike can be we asked ourselves who we wanted as our protector in the event of a possible nuclear holocaust. We have tended to neglect such thoughts of late. Perhaps it is time that we assert ourselves once again and be certain that there will be a steady hand at the helm. If that person is indeed President Trump, then more power to him, but if it is not then I urge the members of Congress to speak up now. We are all depending on cool heads to prevail. Let us pray that this crisis too will pass. God help us all if anyone makes a mistake. God help us to find the kind of men and women who have brought us safely through danger in the past. I want to believe that we will rise to the challenge. Our children are depending on it.

A Not So Honorable Guest

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I’ve been quite good about leaving politics out of my blogs of late. After all who really cares what I think about such things? Most people enjoy their freedom to have their voices heard in the ballot box, but not so much in public discourse. Our thoughts about government tend to be a private thing. Just as with religion most of us don’t care to mix our work and play with our deepest political thoughts. I do believe, however, that from time to time we are remiss if we do not speak out when we sense that a wrong has taken place. After all, the silence of otherwise good people allowed the concentration camps to flourish under Adolf Hitler’s rule. Certainly those who knew what was happening feared for their own lives and thus kept quiet, but what if large numbers of people had spoken out en masse? Would the horrific murders have continued? How many individuals working together are needed to stop injustice? Didn’t the civil rights movement of the sixties teach us that there is power in united voices? When does the time come to ignore the consequences and stand up and be counted?

I’ve not been shy about admitting that I am not a fan of President Donald Trump. Nonetheless I have been very respectful of those who earnestly believe that he will bring some good to our country. I have also noted that I generally think that it is best to support our leaders. Thus I have been silent for the most part even as I worried about the state of the union with such an amateurish individual as its chief executive. I mostly ignore the tweets and rants and firings and faux pas from our POTUS, but he recently did something that really bothers me.

It’s no secret that I have dedicated the greater part of my life to working with young people. Our future depends on helping them to develop principled lives. It is our duty as adults to model the traits that will help them to be successful as humans. We must help them to understand the value of honesty, loyalty, hard work, compassion, and such. I have learned that the only way they will listen is by observing our character in action. For that reason I have always counseled other adult leaders to walk the walk of their talk. It is imperative that we demonstrate the values that we want our children to have.

I have four grandsons who have learned some incredible lessons through their participation in the Boy Scouts of America. Two from them earned the rank of Eagle Scout and the other two are in the process of reaching that distinction. They follow the example of their father who is as upstanding as anyone that I have ever known. He has taught his sons to be young men of the highest integrity, mostly because they have seen him in action day after day. Membership in the Boy Scouts has enhanced the foundation upon which their character has been built, and has provided them with opportunities to be leaders. Our family has been very pleased and proud of the wonderful experiences that scouting has given them.

Thus it was with profound displeasure that I learned of President Trump’s speech at the annual Boy Scout Jamboree. It is traditional for the President of the United States to address the gathering or send a representative to do so. It has historically been understood that this speech is supposed to inspire the scouts to become their best selves. It is not meant to be a political opportunity. In the past those who have spoken have understood this quite well and made the occasion an enjoyable one for the young people. Enter Donald Trump who chose to bring his own personal politics and travails front and center. While he eventually settled into a more traditional celebration of the goals of scouting, he found it necessary to make digs about his predecessor, Barack Obama, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the press. To the dismay of many his remarks even encouraged some of the boys to boo and cheer.

His speech should be an embarrassment for both him and the Boy Scouts. His politics besmirched the unity and purpose of the occasion and caused many to question the role of scouting, which is a genuine travesty given that so many who participate hold political views that are diametrically opposed to his. It was a very uncomfortable moment that should never have happened. If the young men learned anything it was that one need not hold fast to time honored principles to get ahead in this world, and that is a tragedy. President’s Trump total disregard for the spirit of the Jamboree is unforgivable.

I’ve held my tongue until it is black and blue from the tooth marks that I have left on it. When will this man begin to show respect for the people of this country and quit worrying so much about himself? His immaturity and petulance is embarrassing and only appears to grow worse each day. If he really desires to make America great again, the first change that he needs to make is within himself. Sadly it’s unlikely that a seventy something year old man is capable of a character makeover. I can’t help but wonder what kind of horrible message he is sending to the young people of our country, and I find myself thinking that if he can’t control himself then perhaps it is up to the rest of the adults in the room to remind the kids that we shouldn’t act the way he does. In imparting that advice I intend to include myself, which is why I feel the necessity of stating loudly and clearly that he was and has been very wrong in his behavior over and over again.

It is one thing to be brave and strong in the face of injustice. We need our fighters for they are the ones who have set us aright throughout history. It is another to just be a loudmouthed and selfish braggart, which is the impression that President Trump is leaving wherever he goes. It is not good for our nation and it is heartbreaking to me that there appears to be little hope that he will rise to the requirements of the job and begin to show a semblance of dignity.

I hope that the Boy Scouts of America will not suffer too much backlash from the fiasco that recently transpired. In spite of fits and starts here and there it is still an amazing organization. It’s too bad that someone who had the power to inspire instead chose to inject so much whining and negativity into what should have been a grand moment. I hope that the leaders and the parents take the time to let the boys who were present know that scouting is not about backbiting, complaining or boasting. There are lessons that might be learned even from such a negative event. If on the other hand nothing is said the lasting impression may result in unintended consequences that will not be good either for the boys or for the organization. I sincerely pray that this is handled properly.

All of us have had childhood experiences with adults who should have been better than they were. We took note of their bad behaviors and in many cases did our best not to repeat them. This is my wish for the scouts. They have just witnessed how a true leader does not act when he/she is an honored guest at a special occasion.

The 100 Days

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Whew! By tomorrow we will have made it through Donald Trump’s first hundred days and in all honesty very little has happened one way or another, which is what I predicted all along and probably is for the best. Washington is far more complex than the analysis that President Trump made of it during his campaign. He’s gone through the big buzzsaw known as separation of powers and I suspect that he is somewhat surprised by his own inability to remake the government in only a matter of weeks. Just getting his cabinet approved was quite an ordeal and it seems that one of his original picks who was forced to leave rather quickly is in a heap of trouble. I truly wonder if Trump has had one of those “be careful what you wish for” realizations or if he would just as soon be back in Trump Tower enjoying the good life as a private citizen. He hasn’t exactly been welcomed to town with open arms by either Democrats or the media. It must feel very lonely at the top, but in the spirit of giving the man a chance I have a few suggestions which I am rather certain he will ignore, but here goes anyway.

It’s way past time to continue speaking of the election. Everybody has moved on and you need to as well, Mr. President. It’s obvious that Elizabeth Warren is already gearing up for a run in 2020. For that matter so are Cory Booker and Julian Castro. The Democrats smell blood and they will not back down. It’s time for you to concentrate solely on achieving some of your objectives but be ready for a big fight because not even your own Republicans are all in for you. Perhaps it’s time for you to learn the art of the deal in Washington. A bit of compromise might go a long way and I can tell that you are already rethinking a number of your big plans like that silly wall that so many appear to like. It’s actually a good sign that you may be beginning to realize that it was a mistake to be so wed to such a foolish idea. Maybe there is hope after all.

The whole Obamacare deal is a fiasco, and I must admit that I somewhat agree with you that it was inevitable even if you and the Republicans had done absolutely nothing. Now for the sake of the country it’s time for you, the members of your party and even the Democrats to figure this thing out lest our entire healthcare system collapse. A little give and take here and there is in order along with a very honest analysis of what it is going to take to keep the majority of folks happy without raising the costs to untenable levels. If you make a misstep on this I predict that it will be your undoing and don’t think that you can just foist all of the blame onto Speaker Ryan or the Democrats. You need to man up and take responsibility, something that I suspect is very hard for you.

I actually like your pick for the Supreme Court. While I don’t agree with all of Justice Gorsuch’s political beliefs I think that he is a fine and honest man in the vein of Justice Roberts. I believe that he will rule for the good of the country and in support of the Constitution without deference to certain political points of view. He doesn’t worry me. Now consider finding more decent men like him to help you run the government. (That’s a broad hint to rid yourself of Steve Bannon who in the end will lead to your demise. Just thank him for his help in your campaign and send him on his way. He serves no purpose anymore.)

I think that you could have done way better for Secretary of Education than Betsy Devos. She knows little or nothing about the vast system of public education in this country. When you get a chance you should replace her with someone who has a better grasp of the situation. She is a distraction and will do more harm than good. Surely there is someone with better qualifications.

I have mostly avoided political discussions on Facebook or Twitter for quite some time now. It is a very freeing experience. I suggest that you try it. Refrain from those weekend urges to say something that you will later regret. It really is time to be more presidential. When you act with restraint you actually become believable. It appears that those who voted for you still love you and those of us who did not have yet to be convinced that you know what you are doing. Show us a bit of maturity. Quit resorting to the habits of a thirteen year old. When you feel the urge to tweet an unfortunate message call Tweeters Anonymous or a trusted family member or friend to talk you out of embarrassing yourself and the country.

I am a tiny bit afraid of your trigger finger with regard to world affairs. I suppose that someone needed to show the Syrian president that his inhumane tactics will not be tolerated. I reluctantly applaud you for sending him a loud and clear message. I’m not so sure that you need to be as aggressive with the crazy kid in charge of North Korea as you have been. We already had one hopeless war over there and we don’t need another. Besides, I’m not so sure that anyone can reason with little Kim.

I know it’s been rough for you and your family of late. I’ve actually found myself feeling a bit sorry for all of you. I doubt that I would be able to take the daily drubbing that you receive and there are times when I actually think that the press is being way too hard. I think that they would be well advised to acknowledge some of the good things that you have tried to do. They can’t hate you every single moment and then expect you to listen to their concerns. Maybe it’s time for a truce and who better to lead it than you? Wouldn’t it be interesting if you ended up being the man who managed to bring all of the disparate groups in the country back to speaking and listening to one another? If you’d like to achieve that you will have to begin to set an example. So far you haven’t been so good at that but I am the supreme optimist. Hope springs eternal in my heart.

So there it is. You have managed to make it without being impeached or run out of town. I suspect that there are still countless individuals playing detective in the hopes of nailing you to the wall. In the meantime, show all of us that you really care about the people more than you do about yourself. I know that is very difficult for an old dog like you to learn knew tricks but, hey, we all have to change from time to time.

Anyway, I believe that it is in the best interest of all of us for you to really learn how to master your job, so good luck to you in the next hundred days. Feel free to use some of my ideas and please do your best not to get us blown off of the face of the earth. Concentrate on improving rather than tearing down and follow the mantras of the charter school where I once taught, “Work hard. Be nice. Leave everything better than you found it.” 

Haste Makes Waste

quote-take-time-for-all-things-great-haste-makes-great-waste-benjamin-franklin-65418Has it really only been four weeks since Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States? It’s been wild to say the least. I find myself wondering if Mr. President and his family are wishing that the “nasty woman” had been elected and they were safely enjoying life in Trump Tower. He is surely learning the job in a trial by fire and his opponents are licking their chops gleefully with every mistake that he makes.

It’s been pretty well documented that I am no fan of President Trump, but my personality is such that I have actually been feeling a bit sorry for him of late. He is proving to be quite amateurish and more and more the butt of jokes with each passing day. In the one Mardi Gras parade that I attended this past weekend in New Orleans he was skewered from stem to stern. The jokes were funny but after a time they almost became tedious even though Trump has brought most of the insults on himself.

It’s obvious to me that  President Trump has a strong need to be loved and right now adulation is in short supply. I suspect that he is desperately hoping for a win, something that will put him back in the “good guy” status that he had when he was just a reality television personality and super salesman. Surely he is longing for the days when his and Ivanka’s merchandise were big sellers in major department stores and he was a ratings king on NBC. Now it seems that he is a pariah in the very places that he most loves. He surely proves that it can be very lonely at the top. (Side note: Have you ever tried Ivanka’s dresses? They are actually superb and make women look thinner than they actually are.)

I like to be fair and in all honesty this is not the first time that I have watched an administration produce some wildly unsuccessful policies before they got their sea legs. As beloved as President Kennedy now is, history demonstrates that his invasion of the Bay of Pigs was a total disaster. If he hadn’t been able to face down the Russians in the Cuban missile crisis his reputation for foreign policy would have been dreary. Lyndon Johnson messed up royally in the Bay of Tonkin and even lied about what had actually happened. Of course such missteps contributed to keeping him from seeking a second term of office and probably didn’t help his heart either. I don’t even need to talk specifically about Nixon whose administration might have actually been deemed a success had he not been so paranoid. Then there were all the wonderful highlights from Carter’s time including those long lines at gas stations and the Iranian hostage situation. In the first year’s of Reagan’s tenure elements of the press were certain that he was going to get us into a world war and destroy our economy. George H. W. Bush couldn’t live down his promise not to create new taxes after he turned around and created new taxes. Clinton’s first years had so many scandals that few thought he had a chance of being reelected and that was before he had even met Monica. In case you don’t remember what happened just think about the suicide of his closest aide, the imprisonment of a former business partner in the Whitewater affair and the infamous firing of the entire travel department. Poor George W. listened to some faulty advice and got us entangled in Iraq among other dubious efforts. Obamacare was designed so quickly that it was flawed from its inception. In other words, there have been few presidents with perfectly executed administrations, particularly at the very beginning. Still, President Trump has shown a particular talent for speaking and acting before thinking through the implications of his efforts. I believe that it is now time for him to learn from his mistakes and begin to take more care in making decisions.

We have a tendency in today’s world to want everything to happen quickly, forgetting that sometimes the best results come slowly. We seem to always be focusing on results but we want to see progress as fast as possible. In education we demand that school reforms demonstrate dramatic improvement in the space of only months even though we tend to understand that real change takes time.

I recall once reading about a school that had defied all of the odds in demonstrating excellence in what had once been a sub par campus. The principal explained that it had taken him ten years to create an educational environment in which students consistently learned at a high level. He had to build his faculty and dedicate hours to creating a curriculum attuned to the needs of the student population. He sent school leaders to learn the best educational practices. He and the teachers helped students to build their confidence and push themselves higher and higher. The principal was thankful that he was provided with the time that he needed to accomplish his goals. He noted that if his supervisor had been too anxious he might have been relieved of his duties before his plans had begun to show progress. He urged all leaders as well as the public to be patient and realize that deliberation was always a better strategy than haste.

I would suggest to President Trump that he slow his pace. I understand that he wants to fulfill his promises to his voters but his grand designs can’t be achieved in a matter of days or weeks or even months if they are to have a wise and lasting effect. He would be far better served by spending more time listening not just to his inner circle but also to his critics before writing any more ill conceived orders. I hope that he is beginning to realize that making far reaching pronouncements is not as easy as it may have seemed. Without thinking long and hard disastrous roll outs like his temporary travel ban will happen again and again. If he doesn’t take more care in choosing his closest aides and cabinet members he will be embroiled in legal battles for years. It’s time for him to take a deep breath and recalibrate. He might begin by ridding himself of the very negative influence of Steve Bannon as long as he is in the “you’re fired mode” of this week. Mr. Bannon is reinforcing the worst inclinations of President Trump. He may seem loyal but I think that he actually has his own agenda and is only using his influence to create policy.

I have a bit of advice for the opposition as well. Be selective in your criticism. Be aware that constant negativity soon begins to resemble nagging which virtually nobody likes or considers. Remember that if you make yourself too obnoxious President Trump will never listen to a thing that you have to say. Recall also that he wants to be liked. You can get your foot in the door if you use a bit of positive reinforcement now and again. If someone wise and honest wants to help President Trump encourage them to do so rather than condemning him/her. We definitely need good people around our president, not just those who want to build walls. My suggestion goes for athletes and stars as well. Be willing to go visit him and then quietly and respectfully present your points of view.

I’m hoping for a change all the way around but I’m not counting on anything. I fear that we are so far apart from one another that we are at present incapable of finding even an inch of common ground. I still believe that the answers to our problems lie in compromise. For too long the extremists in our society have been calling the shots. If we are to ever move forward we are going to need to work together. If there were one idea that I would most love for President Trump to embrace it would be to find ways of deliberating with all parties in an attempt to work together for the good of the country. As long as we keep fighting we will simply move back and forth in place never making headway of any kind. Since we can’t seem to agree on much of anything maybe for now that’s a good thing but we have to be ready to feel frustrated until we finally learn how to get along once again.