Early Warning Signs

Alan Zendell, March 6, 2017

Most of us have been conditioned since childhood to recognize warning signs and heed them before the trouble they portend hits us in the face. Most Americans are optimistic by nature. It’s one of our great strengths unless it morphs into denial about impending problems.

There’s a nearly irresistible temptation to assume that the brake fluid puddled under your car must have come from someone else’s vehicle or that the baggie filled with a suspicious substance you found in your teenager’s pocket must have been planted there by someone else. How many red flags does it take to wake us up?  I’ve even been shocked, lately, by the number of people who ignore tornado warnings.


I’m old enough to remember Watergate, when President Nixon’s denials of wrongdoing and his increasingly aberrant behavior over many months resulted in a crisis of confidence even among his most ardent supporters. By the time they realized the situation couldn’t be salvaged, it was too late. We had a dysfunctional president whose Chief of Staff, retired General Alexander Haig, had to build a firewall around him. In the end, Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace to avoid impeachment.

My friends and family are sharply divided. Some are convinced there are already sufficient warning signs that President Trump will severely damage the country; others repeatedly say, “Give him a chance”. I confess that I am in both camps, the first because after a lifetime of exposure to Donald Trump’s antics, I see no reason to believe he has what it takes to succeed as President. But I also think we have to give him a chance – either to show he can succeed or to hang himself. Like the parent who knows his kid is lying when he confronts him with the illegal drugs he found, part of me wants to wait and see while another part is screaming that I have to do something before it’s too late. Seven-and-a-half weeks into this administration, the second voice is beginning to overwhelm the first.

A president swept into office on a wave of populism whose party has firm control of both houses of Congress should be sailing on smooth waters. With two years to go before the next Congressional election, they have plenty of time to get their ducks in a row to pursue the agenda for which they believe they’ve been given a mandate. But what has this administration done?

It rushed to issue an attempt to obstruct immigration by specific religious groups thinly disguised as a security-related travel ban, when a more thoughtful and deliberate approach could have passed muster easily. They set about dismantling regulations and defunding NOAA, both of which we desperately need to protect our deteriorating environment, removed a federal objection to an obviously discriminatory voter registration law, and intervened in a civil rights discrimination case already decided by the courts. And the President himself, while being advised by his own party to get his personal behavior under control, continues to makes outrageous accusations against everything and everyone he dislikes, with not a shred of evidence to support them. He’s a master at changing the conversation when he doesn’t like the subject, but where will that get him if nothing is accomplished? Worst of all, he hasn’t shown me that he possesses the moral center essential to being an effective leader.

His own party seems more terrified of him than the opposition. I never imagined I could feel sympathy for Senator Mitch McConnell after he announced, shortly after President Obama took office, that his goal was assuring that Obama failed as president. Or for Paul Ryan, who despite his vaunted integrity, could never bring himself to tell the truth about Trump’s outlandish and immoral behavior. But such is the disarray that Trump has created in his own party, I wouldn’t be in either of their shoes at any price.

There is no reason to believe the Republican led Congress will fund any of the major initiatives Trump promised during the campaign. Not the $3 trillion plan to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure or fulfilling Trump’s promise of affordable health care for every American, and surely not his Mexican border wall. They’re all pipe dreams doomed to fail. And jobs? Let’s see what happens when he tries to get Congress to impose penalties or tariffs on companies that have already shipped millions of jobs overseas, when their billionaire corporate patrons tell them to vote “Nay”. What will his supporters do then?

More importantly, what will all of us Americans do at the ballot box in 2018? How long will we wait before we accept that our national train is going off the rails? Will we simply bemoan our options as we did in 2016, or will we recognize that some paths are far worse than others?

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3 Responses to Early Warning Signs

  1. jlexpert says:

    The American Political System Receives a Wake-up Call

    I was a lifelong Democrat/Independent and had never voted for a Republican for President in my life that is before the last election.

    How Donald Trump got my vote.

    To make myself clear, the Republicans did not sway my vote into their column, Hilary Clinton and President Obama did.

    I would like to state that I was originally very hopeful that President Obama would evolve into a great President, but that did not happen.

    Among many reasons that I would not vote for Hilary Clinton was basically that she clearly represented a continued pattern of politics as structured by President Obama. President Obama in his second term, in my opinion, made clear that he did not understand that his backers/supporters would not be transferrable to Mrs. Clinton. Clinton clearly became a corrupt establishment politician, who thought she knew how to play the system and in terms of building extreme wealth and manipulating others, she made her transition plans clear.

    Bernie Sanders was robbed of the Presidency by the corrupt Clinton organizational freight train. In Bernie Sanders favor was seemingly refreshing honesty that inspired his organizational supporters, especially the millennial crowd that were going all out for him. Clinton needed his supporters, she and the Democratic party lost favor with those voters, an occurrence which became evident in proportion to the revealed Democratic Party manipulations that undid Sanders’ run for the Presidential office.

    When it became clear that Bernie Sanders was manipulated out of the race by Clinton’s Democratic constituents, the Democrats made Donald Trump that much more relevant and more importantly a candidate for change.

    Why I voted for Trump for President.

    I felt that Donald Trump as President would help bring the U.S. back to its position as a clear supporter of its strongest global ally, Israel, and help the world see that America backs and supports real global Democracies. Trump fulfilled that particular understanding within the earliest moments of his presidency.

    I also felt that as President, that Trump would be most concerned with border security, in all of its forms. Clearly the “wall” was just an example of the President’s thinking on these matters as was a temporary ban on immigration that is at least until a relevant vetting protocol could be formulated.
    I also felt that a ‘fear factor’ was overcoming a broad emerging growing loosely forming coalition of “deplorables” and others voters who felt that the police and military needed respect, acknowledgement and more money for modernization and for DAV services in the face of growing domestic and global terrorism and criminality.

    In my opinion, ‘open borders to all’, particularly during this period of global terrorism became an Achilles’ Heel of the Democratic Party.

    Just as important to me was that politics as usual must change and I felt that Trump’s business style and non-political approach would have the Democrats on their heels rethinking about how the two party system is supposed to and must work, as use to. To that extent, if the Democrats want political power back, they will have to recognize that idealism must be inclusive of the headline news that is being internalized by everyday people, across the country including those individuals who often do not even get to read the news, but rather live it.

    It would be wise to remember and think about the gift bestowed upon America by our ‘Founding Fathers’ who architected the Constitution. Supreme Court Judges are given these positions for life as a way of reducing any reason for their not stating heartfelt interpretations of the law. It is interesting to note that Judge Scalia was voted into his position during a year where the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives with Ronald Reagan as President.

    Joel Liebesfeld is a Sr. Forensic Engineering Investigator/Expert Witness, Author, Patent Developer, Adjunct Professor, Guest Lecturer, et al, and has also worked with numerous police, military and rescue agencies, large insurance companies in regard to losses and their investigative teams, various State court systems both on Civil and Criminal cases, as an engineering executive, legal consultant, et al, see “Joel Liebesfeld” on Google.

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