I’ve been getting a lot of letters lately. Sometimes I receive up to 800 emails a day. Most of them ask for advice or guidance on how to make sense of a country that will be led by a man so many despise; a man who is known to tell terrible lies and to denigrate women. He has been accused by people with whom he contracted of not paying his bills. We know that he has behaved like a bully, surrounding himself with other bullies like Rudolph Giuliani, Chris Christie of Bridgegate fame; Steve Bannon who ran the alt-right Breitbart News Network; and other beauties who personify the worst parts of the underbelly of U.S. politics. Let’s remember that virtually no newspaper endorsed the man and yet he won.
In addition to those who simply can’t understand what is happening here, there are the trolls. There aren’t that many of them, but like the schoolyard bullies, they are malevolent and mean-spirited. “You are a loser and you and your liberal friends have to remember that we won.” Well, not exactly. You won under what Donald Trump might call the rigged system’s rules. Hillary Clinton received more votes than Trump did.
So now Trump has to decide what kind of a country we live in. His problem is that he has to trust people who supported him and then to reconcile the need for his people to run the country with their ability to do so. First we had Chris Christie, late of the aforementioned Bridgegate. Christie was a fierce Trump partisan but then he and his cronies were all unceremoniously dumped from the Trump team. Christie had been put in charge of staffing the government through the transition but something happened. Maybe it was the enmity toward Christie from Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner will never forgive or forget the fact that Christie prosecuted Kushner’s father and put him in jail. Maybe that’s why Christie was purged. Maybe it was something more ominous, like the law not being finished with Christie now that his top aides said the governor knew about the George Washington Bridge closings. It wouldn’t do to have a cabinet member indicted before the new team took over.
Then there is the strange case of Rudolph Giuliani. Everyone seemed to think that he was a shoo-in for Attorney General. Something happened there, too. Giuliani announced that he didn’t want to be AG. Nope, he wanted to be Secretary of State. The problem was that he was totally unqualified in the area of foreign relations. He had been doing business with lots of foreign governments and those potential conflicts of interest loomed large in any Senate hearings he might face, particularly since Republicans like John McCain and Rand Paul seem to have been doing their homework as far as skeletons in the closet are concerned.
As for me, I am so concerned that this country may take on a fascist face that Giuliani would have been far more dangerous as the head of the Justice Department than at State. Others disagree, thinking that our relations with the rest of the world are more important. Giuliani, the hard line mayor of New York, presided over “Giuliani Time” and I suspect he would usher in a whole new Joe McCarthy-like era, putting his enemies in jail.
So the saga goes on. Go read Philip Roth’s, “The Plot against America.” Talk to your kids about what happens when they don’t vote. As for me, I am frightened. I have no real advice for others except to stick together. Write letters to your congressmen and to the newspapers. March when you have to, including the “Woman’s March on Washington” on January 21st. Don’t be pushovers. That will only make things worse and when someone says to you that you should give up, use that old line from World War II, “Nuts.”