A daily question returns to this writer’s mind: What would it take to unite the American people as we approach the third decade of the 21st century? Most Americans were united in a common effort to defeat the Japan and Nazi Germany after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Yet, even a day before that ‘day of infamy,’ there were prominent leaders in the U.S., including Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg, who favored working with Hitler.

Nowadays and into the foreseeable future, the Russian Federation appears as the biggest threat. One would think it wiser for the Russians to work with the U.S. as we outperform the Russians in every possible comparison and stand stronger by military might. Nevertheless, relations with Russia have always been tenuous and difficult from the 1917 founding of the USSR as a “Godless communist state” down through the tumultuous allied relationship to defeat Nazi Germany and Russian “help” to bring down the Empire of Japan after it was all but defeated.

Almost immediately after WWII, the Cold War got underway and persisted through to the late 1980s. Ultimately the USSR lost the Cold War and was dissolved. Afterward there was a hint of promise that the U.S. and the newly-named Russian Federation might work for the common good of both nations. It was soon clear that such cooperation was not to be.

A rebellious crowd of Russians led by Vladimir Putin, a former KGB secret police enforcer and that nation’s wealthy oligarchs who, like jihadists, hate America and all the West and view the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a threat to their security and, of greatest importance to them, a check against their world domination and subjugation. Hence, the movers and shakers in Russia have now dedicated themselves to subverting and destroying all democracies with a plan, implemented daily, under Putin’s dictatorial direction.

Now we have President Donald Trump and family members, led at times by son-in-law and special advisor, Jared Kushner (he who’s been denied an FBI clearance) has delivered another big lie among the thousands delivered by President Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric over the past two years. In his remarks at a Time magazine function, Kushner downplayed the significance of Russian interference in the 2016 election, remarking, “I think the (Mueller-led) investigations and all of the speculation has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of (Russian) Facebook ads.”

Even though heavily redacted and misrepresented by Attorney General William Barr, we are now well aware that a wide-ranging Russian operation included, but was not limited to, hacking Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee, probing state voter databases for weaknesses and stealing hundreds of voters’ personal information. Also, Putin is behind spreading propaganda aimed at enhancing division and depressing the vote through fake accounts on social media, staging rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York, and setting up multiple meetings with members of the Trump campaign in a criminally-underhanded effort to elect Donald Trump.

We Americans accept or ignore the shenanigans of Jared Kushner and the Trump family at our greatest peril. They have unabashedly proven they work to acquire personal wealth and power at America’s expense. Having witnessed and enjoyed the enhanced unity that developed and was sustained during the Kennedy and Reagan administrations, we now witness the sowing of discord, strife and disunity by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, the Trumps have shown us that, instead of unifying us, they apparently labor hardest at building a mega-profiting hotel in Putin’s Moscow with a penthouse for the autocrat.

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