The lengthy life for this writer is attributable, in part, to birth in the United States. In fact, there have been only two periods during my life when serious wonder arose by “the end” appearing imminent. The two periods were characterized by protracted migraine-like headaches, resulting from intense feelings of helplessness due to fear-engulfing stress and bone-chilling dread.

The first period occurred during my youth and was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was when, for 13 agonizing days of uncertainty, the world anxiously awaited on whether the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. (Russia) would enter a nuclear war initiated by the U.S. discovery of short-range Soviet ballistic missiles being deployed in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, a Russian ally. 

By the end of World War II, the world knew from the 1945 atomic bomb detonations over Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear weapons had human life-ending power. Furthermore, we knew that America had the more powerful hydrogen bomb and aware that the Soviet Union also had the hydrogen bomb in their arsenal. One of those Americans who knew the facts and contracted a monumentally-big headache thereby was yours truly.

The second period is currently underway. It has arrived by way of Washington, D.C., where our current president, Donald J. Trump, ignores rule by law, undermining and emasculating the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and apparently is seeking autocratic status. Examples abound: Attorney General William Barr appears to work for Donald Trump and not the American people. Evidence of his patronage role can be witnessed in his unwillingness to fully release the 26-months-in-the-making Mueller Report and his recent announcement charging (without evidence) his Department of Justice employees, FBI agents, used FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), electronic surveillance approved by federal judges, to “spy” on the Trump campaign. If Barr’s charge were true, it would mean our FBI operates like government investigators do in China, Russia and North Korea. Not.

President Trump refuses to reveal his tax returns. Meanwhile, tax returns have been lawfully requested since the scandal-ridden presidency of Warren Harding in the 1920s. The law, which says the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee can request and review any American’s tax return, has always been honored. Now, Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, without power by statute to intervene into the U.S. Tax Analysis office, is preventing Trump’s returns from oversight by Congress. Looks like public employee Mnuchin also works only for Donald Trump.

Just one more example among so many that cause alarm. The Congress-approved Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) and most of the division heads under the DHS, including, among others, the Director of the Secret Service, have been discharged or fired from their duties and replaced by acting heads who simply work for Donald Trump, not the American people. Subsequently, all matters that establish and preserve our security are now decided by one American who has placed the safety and health of 323 million Americans under his single-minded, often arbitrary, whimsical control.

Avoiding naivete, I’m aware that no one besides my wife and daughters care whether I contract a migraine or any other malady. Nevertheless, If anyone besides myself values a free country, our human rights, a government design with separation of powers and checks and balances by three separate entities, it is high time every American get acquainted with the threat and do what he can do to defend and thereby save the United States.

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion regularly in the Keizertimes.)