The women’s march and the inauguration were, in a way, concurrent symbols of what is great about America.First, there was the peaceful transfer of power, and the celebration of this country’s free and fair elections. Then, there were those who were unhappy with the results of that election, letting their voices be heard on issues that are important to them.
What I do worry about are some of the more extremist elements of either side. Many of the protesters greatly dislike our new President and his supporters and that is their right. But those who held up signs comparing him to a Nazi, or made speeches claiming they wanted to “bomb” the White House are not only wrong, they are completely defeating any sympathy non-marchers might have for their cause.
Making incest jokes about the President and his daughter isn’t helpful, either, and certainly doesn’t convey a message of love. And just so nobody accuses me of being one-sided, anybody who engages in similar behavior on the right is just as guilty.
While I believed strongly in the Tea Party’s message of wanting a government that is limited and not overarching in its authority, I was greatly upset by some of the signs I saw disparaging President Obama on a personal level, rather than on the basis of policy.
I have a friend who flew into DC for the inauguration and found himself sitting next to somebody heading to DC to attend the march. And he told me an amazing thing happened.
They talked for the entire flight and had a respectful, polite discussion. Their disagreements were vast, but in the end, they came away realizing they had more in common than they thought and even exchanged phone numbers. I would like to see more of this. People get so wrapped up in their beliefs and their echo chambers that they forget that ultimately, despite the rhetoric, we all want the same thing: A safe and prosperous life.
That’s why it is important to stand up for what we believe in, but to remember that the people who disagree with you aren’t necessarily bad people, they may just see things differently than you do. So don’t write them off as bigots or idiots and call them names, instead, try making a rational argument to persuade them.
And remember that for as much as some of us struggle here in the United States, it is nothing compared to what others go through elsewhere. I was born and raised in Pakistan. I know very well what intolerance and the denying of rights looks like. And for those women who stood up and marched, I say great, exercise your freedom of speech.
But remember that many women worldwide don’t have that privilege. Personally, I would love to see people from all sides – left, right, and center – march for those who are truly disenfranchised. I’m talking about women, LGBT members, and other minorities who are treated like property in far less civilized countries.
We can all come together to descend on the United Nations and demand an end to the selling of women into slavery. The execution of gays in places like Iran. The abuse of children in the third world.
This is something that everybody from Madonna and Ashley Judd to Ted Cruz and John McCain could get behind. It would unite us as Americans and as humans. And it would send a clear message to those in the world who are far more oppressed than anybody in this country could ever imagine that everybody deserves human rights.
President Trump has issued and executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim Majority countries from entering the United States for the next ninety days and suspended the admission of refugees for 120 days. This is in line with his campaign promise and that he would seek, during this time, to ‘reform the US immigration system’, which everyone admits is out of control.
American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen and Vice President Dr. Munr Kazmir released the following statement:
“On behalf of the American Jewish Congress, we would like to express our gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom for its strong and principled diplomatic efforts to stand with Israel and the Jewish community. By choosing not to sign the communique of the Paris Peace Conference, which was negotiated without the presence of either party involved in the conflict, the British Government has made a clear policy decision. This choice continues a process that began with the Prime Minister’s speech after UN Security Resolution 2334, and the UK is now looking to prevent unfair and inappropriate conduct towards Israel. This is particularly important during the final days of the presidential transition period in the United States, when we know that the incoming administration has indicated a very different approach to the incumbent.
“The American Jewish Congress is clear that the only way that peace can be advanced in a fair and proper manner is by direct, bi-lateral negotiations, between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the British government for its commitment to ensuring a fair and balanced narrative is presented within the United Kingdom, especially in a political context which is often set against Israel.”
I would like to thank New York Senator Charles Schumer for his professionalism and grace in helping to move along the confirmations of General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense and General John Kelly as the head of Homeland Security.
I realize that as the leader of Senate Democrats, Schumer could have attempted to flex his political muscle and filibustered either of these two Generals. This is especially true of Mattis, who needed a waiver since there was a seven-year moratorium in place on appointing a recent Veteran to the position.
Thankfully, Senator Schumer chose country over party and now these two supremely qualified men will be able to lead in positions that are extremely well-suited for.
I have written in-depth about my admiration for both Generals and have given reasons why I think they will do a great job.
And the fact that they were so easily confirmed is a testament not only to the judgment of President Trump, but also the judgment of Senator Schumer and his fellow Democrats.
I know Senate Democrats don’t agree with everything President Trump wants to do. I also know there will be many battles ahead between the two parties.
But on these two confirmations, both sides of the aisle came together and did the right things and that is a beautiful thing to see.
There will be disagreements to come, but for now, Senate Democrats deserve praise and I truly hope they are willing to continue working with President Trump and his team for the betterment of our great country more in the future.
Jeff Sessions is a longtime friend of mine and I am very happy to see President-elect Trump select him as his nominee for Attorney General of the United States.
Make no mistake, though – while I am personally delighted for my friend, I am much more pleased as an American to have a man of impeccable qualifications and integrity about to take the reigns as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
His resume reads like a roadmap to the Attorney General’s office: Six years as an assistant U.S. Attorney, 12 more as U.S. Attorney in Alabama, two years as Alabama Attorney General, and two decades in the United States Senate.
During his time in those posts, the Senator has been a constant champion of Law and Order.
He has pushed for strenuously controlling our borders, something that will unquestionably take center stage during a Trump administration.
But despite his penchant for tough enforcement of laws and wealth of experience, there have been a lot of complaints about Jeff Sessions supposedly being a racist.
He is not.
For starters, as I stated above, Jeff and I have been friends for years. I know him very well and can personally attest to the fact that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.
However, more to the point, there is no evidence to suggest that he is a racist.
After all, this is a man who pushed to desegregate Alabama schools and helped prosecute KKK leader Henry Francis Hays, who received the death penalty for abducting and killing a black teenager named Michael Donald.
He later saw to it that Hays’ accomplice and father were brought up on federal charges related to the murder.
All that exists as proof of his alleged racism are claims by a former U.S. Attorney who worked with Sessions and did not like him. Those claims were denied by a third-party who worked with both of them and said Sessions’ integrity was beyond reproach.
Moreover, claims that he only prosecuted a voter fraud case because of racial motivations ring hollow, especially when the son of Albert Turner – the main defendant in that case – endorsed Jeff Sessions becoming Attorney General.
Said Albert Turner Jr., “I have known Senator Sessions for many years, beginning with the voter fraud case in Perry County in which my parents were defendants. My differences in policy and ideology with him do not translate to personal malice. He is not a racist. As I have said before, at no time then or now has Jeff Sessions said anything derogatory about my family. He was a prosecutor at the Federal level with a job to do. He was presented with evidence by a local District Attorney that he relied on, and his office presented the case. That’s what a prosecutor does. I believe him when he says that he was simply doing his job.
I believe that he is someone with whom I, and others in the civil rights community can work if given the opportunity. I believe that he will listen, as he has in the past, to the concerns of my community. More than most I am very familiar with him. I believe he will be fair in his application of the law and the Constitution; as such I support his nomination to be the next Attorney General of the United States.”
That is what Jeff Sessions has done in every government position he’s ever held: be fair in his application of the law.
And it is exactly why he will make a terrific Attorney General of the United States.
The Chief of Staff for an administration is the procedural right hand who helps lead the president through political landmines and steers him toward strategic victories.
For President-elect Trump, that Chief of Staff will be the eminently capable Reince Priebus.
Priebus was a successful lawyer before becoming the youngest Wisconsin state GOP chairman in 2007. Once he took over, he excelled, helping bring Wisconsin Republicans to new heights, culminating in the successful campaigns of Scott Walker for governor and Ron Johnson for senator.
Much like a college football coach who rises through the ranks from a small school to a division 1 powerhouse, Priebus took his successes to the national level, first as general counsel to the RNC and then as RNC chairman in 2011.
When he took over, the RNC was seen as being in trouble. They were $23 million in debt and with President Obama in the White House, saying an uphill battle was ahead would be a major understatement.
But that didn’t stop Reince Priebus, who raised $20 million in cash within a year and began to turn things around.
While Obama won re-election in 2012, Priebus’s eyes were on the prize, which was building a long-lasting base of power. His efforts paid off in a major way in 2014 when the Republicans retained the house and took the senate, giving them control of both bodies of congress for the first time in eight years, and finally allowing the party to be in position to mount strong opposition to Obama’s policies.
Then, in 2016, the final cherry was placed on top of the Republican sundae, when Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States.
Not only did Priebus’s efforts help hand Republicans the most political power they have ever had – the house, the senate, the presidency, the majority of governorships, and the majority of state legislatures – but he defied all the odds in doing so
The pundits, the strategists, the pollsters – they all said Donald Trump didn’t have a chance. Some Republican insiders even felt that Priebus and his fellow RNC higher-ups needed to pull a convention coup to keep Donald Trump from getting the nomination in June.
But Reince Priebus – unlike Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazille who tried to rig the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton – stayed neutral and trusted his voters to make the right decision.
And every single time the “experts” began to insist Trump was done and Republicans should just give up, the man who would become President-elect continued to fight and Reince Priebus fought right along with him.
Now, they will continue to fight side by side in the White House, working each day to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of citizens who so desperately seek a better America.
This will be a terrific pairing because both men are winners who have had incredible triumphs throughout their respective careers.
Starting January 20, Donald Trump, one of the most prosperous businessmen of the last few decades, and Reince Priebus, who has shown on every level that he has what it takes to be an important part of the construction of one of this country’s most successful presidencies, will combine their collective genius for the advancement of America and the world.
They will Make America Great Again.
The self righteous indignation from the media and professional diplomatic quarters at the phone call of President Elect Trump to the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is improper.
Yes, our official policy has been a “One-China” policy where Taiwan isn’t officially recognized, but anybody who does two seconds worth of research can see that is only on paper and probably needs to be revisited.
Taiwan is our 9th largest trading partner and we sell them billions of dollars’ worth of weapons. We furthermore unofficially but actually spread our own military network as a defense for Taiwan. Taiwan itself is a major investor in mainland China and there is much official or unofficial business between them. This “no official ties” stuff is paper thin for both the relationship of America and Mainland China with Taiwan. The protests from Beijing are something we can live with to better secure the ties with Taiwan, a democratic ally in an area dominated by an ever increasingly belligerent mainland China.
Make no mistake: Donald Trump will speak to China, regardless of any discussions with Taiwan and he will let them know that while he wants diplomatic relations with them, but he is not going to let the United States be bullied or pushed around.
And really, all this Taiwan hand-wringing does is once again prove we pay no attention to our friends anymore.
While Sec. Hillary Clinton was accusing Vladimir Putin of tampering and hacking – claims she never came close to substantiating – while threatening to shoot down Russian planes with a no-fly zone in Syria, Donald Trump said he wants to sit down with Putin and work things out.
While the current administration made a deal with Iran that was so bad that they had to – as Obama administration official Ben Rhodes admitted to the New York Times – hid it from the American public and then compounded that by making a ransom payment they tried to deny making, Donald Trump has said he wants to get rid of that terrible agreement and make a better one that puts America’s interests first.
While the current administration puts out a press release touting the so-called mixed legacy of Fidel Castro, a murderous, authoritarian dictator who imprisoned and executed gays, Afro-Cubans and political dissidents of all stripes, President-elect Trump called Castro out for the monster he truly was and warned Cuba that if they don’t change their ways, the United States has no reason to do anything that is to their benefit.
Under the watch of the last two administrations, we spent trillions of dollars and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people – both American and those in the middle east – to fight wars that were not in the American interest while creating more enemies abroad. In addition to leaving Iraq a mess we turned Libya into a chaotic war zone with migrants struggling for their lives.
This is exactly why the American people elected Donald Trump in the first place. They want a President who isn’t going to pretend to not have relations with a country when we clearly do, he isn’t going to make terrible deals with foreign governments and deny them, who isn’t going to spend trillions of dollars and waste hundreds of thousands of lives in unnecessary wars, and who most certainly isn’t going to let the United States be anybody’s doormat.
Peace through strength. No more politics as usual.
It is about time somebody stood for that in this country and our friends again and I, for one, am proud as can be that we finally have a leader at the top of our government, Donald Trump, who feels the same way.