The American people feel abandoned by the institutions designed to protect us.
This is a scary time to be an American. So many of us feel as if we’re in a nightmare, we can’t wake up from. We know something has gone terribly wrong, and yet we have no power to do anything about it! Worse yet, we feel like the institutions meant to protect us, have abandoned us, instead.
I know I’m not alone in saying, that if I see one condescending, “take a deep breath,” or “it’s going to be okay,” my head may explode! No, actually, it’s not going to be okay, at all! Not for us, not for the people we know and love who are already suffering from bullying and hate, and not for our children and grand-children — and yet, no one is doing anything about it! This is the most disempowering feeling, ever!
Let’s start here, with what we now know: a foreign dictator acted to interfere with our election, and install a puppet regime. Putin succeeded. While the media wants to move along to cover Trump’s next Twitter storm, not so fast: what about We the People?
Yes, the media, with the exception of one journalist, largely ignored and obscured the most important storyline of the election. While obsessively and breathlessly waiting for the next daily batch of Wikileaks emails, the media almost entirely missed the real headline: Russia was behind having those daily emails released, as a way to tamper with our election! We the People have been yelling and screaming about Russian interference, as was, it turns out, the Clinton campaign; but our voices were not heard — or maybe they were, but the ratings from revealing confidential emails were just too enticing. Either way, it’s heartbreaking to know this grave injustice was largely ignored by our media until last Friday.
And Friday’s Washington Post story, “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House,” while comforting in a certain way because it confirms our suspicions that something was amiss — also confirms our worst fears that Hillary’s loss, which seemed so improbable, was also not fair and square. We know now that the CIA told President Obama about Russian’s interference, and Obama brought it to our Congress, and let Mitch McConnell stop him from warning us about what was to come. Stop right there! The media keeps moving on to the next story; but We the People are back at this story: what if? What if President Obama had gone public and notified us that our election may be in danger? And so, each state could have been extra vigilant on Election Day. What if Mitch McConnell hadn’t put party ahead of country (and yes, we noticed the cherry on top: his wife getting a plum appointment in Trump’s cabinet)? We want to stop right there and have a discussion, and some public accountability! Stop moving ahead to cover Trump’s new tweets and meetings with pop stars like nothing ever happened!
Which brings us to our government: another institution now losing We the People’s trust. You all took an oath to uphold the Consitution and protect us! The Republicans — save for a few heroes like Senators McCain and Graham — have forfeited the mantle of patriotism by putting party ahead of country. The Democrats meanwhile - again save for a few like Reps Schiff and Himes, and Senators Schumer and J. Reed — have gone quiet at a time we need them most. This is maddening, and at the same time, terrifying, for We the People! My friend Gazelle Williams said so eloquently what so many of us are feeling, “I called The White House this morning to remind President Obama that he took an Oath to protect the Constitution and that Trump is a danger and I am afraid.” We the People are scared (and it’s well beyond Hillary supporters based on recent Pew Research data)!
I don’t want to single out our President for not coming forward in October. I believe he is a good and patriotic man who cares deeply about our country, and I can only imagine how he feels now, knowing so much of his hard work over 8 years to move our country forward, will be wiped away in a Trump administration’s first 100 days. Still, President Obama, and I implore you to speak out for We the People. We are terrified that an authoritarian regime is about to take over, and destroy our country! And this call goes out to Hillary Clinton too. You, too, Hillary have an obligation to We the People: to be a voice for so many of us who don’t have one, to speak out against Russia’s success in infiltrating our election, and handing our country over to a man who does not have our interests at heart, and who the NYT Editorial Board described yesterday as a “malleable political novice” — a puppet for Russia!
To the rest of the elected Democrats who remain mostly silent: shame on you! I so appreciate Rep Schiff when he’s on air. Not only his courage and words; but also seeing the distress in his face, and knowing what has gone down is weighing heavily on his soul. He is fighting for us. Those of you remaining silent should all be primaried and removed from office! If you can’t speak out for We the People at the most perilous of times, you shouldn’t be in public service!
And finally our intelligence services: the ones we count on to protect us — so disappointing! Instead of doing something to strike out against the known enemy — on this point you can agree: Russia interfered with our election- you’re publicly battling one another. How discouraging. I am grateful for the work of the CIA, and I believe they have jurisdiction over what played out in essence: a coup by a foreign regime. I do hope President Obama will move forward on the letter from 8 Senators on the Intelligence Committee to declassify information on their findings. We the People deserve to know. President Obama, it’s time for the Democrats to stop bringing knives to a gunfight — just do it!
Then, there’s Comey and the FBI. Renowned prognosticator Nate Silver tweeted this past weekend that Comey’s letter — as Hillary, herself, said — cost her the election in the home stretch:
Starting this weekend, Sen Harry Reid has finally let loose on Comey and the FBI’s complicity. As background, Reid had written to Comey in August saying Russia may be planning to “falsify official results.” On Saturday, Sen Reid said the FBI had information on Russia’s intervention in favor of Trump, but didn’t release it to We the People. Sen Reid also made clear that Comey’s movivation were partisan. By Monday, Sen Reid was saying Jim Comey and Vladimir conspired to make make Donald Trump president. Again, the mathematical implication:
I need to pause right here and say how heartbreaking this is for We the People. On Election Night, we watched in shock and horror as every credible prognosticator, pundit, pollster and academic was proven wrong. Something seemed fishy back then, and knowing we were right, and no institution could stop it and protect us, undermines not only the integrity of our elections, but also our trust in institutions, and our way of life! Again, why is the media moving on to the next storyline like this is no big deal? This is the biggest threat to American democracy in our lifetimes!
Frankly, the greatest and probably only hope for accountability for Comey’s actions, rests with the lawyer of “Woman in Gold” fame, E. Randol Schoenberg, who has filed in New York Federal Court under the FOIA to get more information on what Comey relied on for his search warrant. Were there ties to Rudy Giuliani — recently discarded by Trump like so many others — and/or other Trump allies? Was therefore Comey’s decision, like Putin’s involvement, essentially in concert with the Trump campaign? I pray we will someday know.
Because sadly, if we wait to January 20th, we may never know. Former CIA Director, Michael Morrel, who served under George W. Bush and during 9/11, said of the Russian hacking: “This is the political equivalent of 9/11.” — and yet, Speakers Ryan and McConnell are already angling for what will be partisan and less invasive investigation into Russian interference. PE Trump has sought to delegitimize the CIA entirely, and has de facto sided with Russia over our own intelligence agency. Kellyanne Conway has publicly said Trump will install his own people to lead our intelligence agencies. These are glaring red flags to We the People that we’ll never get the answers or the justice we deserve once Trump takes office.
I know I speak for many when I say this is the most frightened and disempowered I have ever felt as an American citizen.
Copyright Amy Siskind, 2016