The Change of Seasons is Upon Us
The change of seasons is upon us. There is that moment when we realize that the long days of summer are almost over. The heat wave has passed and one swims at one’s personal discomfort. You look at the massive clouds in the sky and you realize that we will soon be seeing snow and ice. Maybe you have a friend who has fallen on the ice and you remember how dangerous things can get. You proceed at some risk. There are potholes in the road and the sidewalk is buckling. If you trip on a hole in the road, you can reach out to try to break your fall and end up breaking three fingers in the process. That’s what I did, and it brought home the fact that as you age, the risk of breaking bones increases. Now we know why it is so important that the people to whom we pay taxes keep the roads in good condition. It only takes seconds to change your life for many months. I’m talking about doctors and hospitals and a whole change in lifestyle. It’s all a matter of odds. If you put that left hand out to break your fall, you risk changing your life. That’s when it’s time to make new rules for self-preservation. My new rule is to always look down.
The change in seasons also makes you aware of other changes around you. It’s clear to all of us that the politics of our nation are also in flux. We may have once thought that our democracy would last forever but we know now how easily it can be put at risk. This Trump guy came along and was willing to subvert what we thought was a near permanent democracy. He surely represents a clear and present danger. Now the feds are after him big time because he appears to have played fast and loose with the rules and in doing so, put all of us in real danger. When he left the White House, he is believed to have taken some very important, classified documents with him that could very well compromise our nation’s security. You could only wonder what he might have done had he been reelected.
Who is Donald Trump and why do we have to pay attention to him now? Well, some state legislatures have changed the political rules so that if he decides to run in the next presidential election, Trump could win. We have seen the guy playing footsie with the Russians in what appears to be a very dangerous relationship. We know that he admires the kind authoritarian regimes that have undermined so many other former democracies. Should he run again and win, we will all be living in a very different country. I can’t tell you how many people have spoken to me about where they plan to move to if Trump and his ilk take over. What once looked unthinkable is now looking more and more likely. Sure, you might scratch your head and ask yourself how anyone could risk the consequences of undermining our democracy. If you don’t realize how dangerous a position we are in, you are fooling yourself. So where will it be? England, Ireland, South America? Make no mistake about it — we are in a very dangerous place.
Let each of us assess our personal risk. Our families, our children and their children are in real danger. Many of the people who are reading this might dismiss what I am saying as hyperbole and I hope that it turns out that way. But you dismiss this possibility at your own risk. Look at Trump and his people and tell me that their motives are pure. Trust me — we are at risk.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected]