Alarming developments

Dear Editor,

So, in recent weeks, the following events (among countless others) have raised some very serious concerns and questions regarding Mr. Trump’s understanding of his responsibilities and duties as President of the United States, as well as his ability and willingness to effectively handle them.

1) Mr.Trump attacked the 1st Amendment, which he has taken an oath to uphold and defend, by threatening to “pull the licenses” of news organizations which report news which he dislikes. I wonder what the reaction would have been if Hillary Clinton had won the election and threatened to do something like this to, say, Fox News?

2) After only the first 3 weeks of FEMA efforts, he belittled the efforts of the American citizens living in Puerto Rico struggling to survive and recover from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and threatened to end these relief efforts soon due to the financial burden entailed. At the same time, he is pushing a “tax reform” plan which will result in hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

3) Mr. Trump has “de-certified” the Iran nuclear agreement, despite the fact that Iran has reportedly been fully complying with its terms and curtailing its nuclear weapon development program accordingly. Reportedly he is unhappy with other problematic activities Iran is engaging in (which is indeed a legitimate concern), but appears not to understand that this particular agreement was designed only to address the Iranian nuclear threat and not these other issues, which can be addressed through other means and in conjunction with this nuclear agreement.

4) Mr. Trump has been belligerently threatening, insulting, and provoking the already unstable and paranoid dictator of North Korea, whose country now has some degree of nuclear capability along with significant conventional forces poised too wreak havoc should he feel compelled to do so. At the same time, Mr. Trump has informed our Secretary of State that any diplomatic efforts pursuing a peaceful solution are “a waste of time,” thus undermining such efforts.

Such actions as these seem to: threaten a central constitutional foundation of our democracy; reflect our federal government’s readiness to “walk away” from its responsibility to compassionately support and help all of our nation’s citizens reeling from the devastation caused by natural disasters; and indicate a pivot away from our nation’s long-standing world leadership role in using all of its capabilities (diplomatic, economic, and so on) to reduce the risks of war, with military options viewed only as an absolute last resort — especially when the possible use of nuclear weapons with their unimaginable human costs and horrors may be involved.

Is this really the path we want our leaders to be taking us down? Do these actions truly reflect the American principles and values which we all share and hold dear? Are the real and significant dangers of these kinds of choices and actions not frighteningly obvious?

Or am I just overreacting and worrying needlessly? This is what I am hoping, and trying to convince myself is so. Time will tell.

Respectfully submitted.

Dale E. Buonocore,