On Trump, United States is uncertain first, divided second

I have been a student of politics since the 1960s. Except for the Johnson and Nixon years, I never have seen the country as conflicted as it is today.

Some say Americans are more divided now than ever before. (I’m guessing that doesn’t count the Civil War.) Suffice it to say you either love Donald Trump or you don’t. There seems to be little common ground between the two camps.

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I prefer to think of our current state of affairs as “uncertain.” Just like when my 18-year-old went off to college or I got divorced. Neither of us really knew what to expect back then except that (a) his time living at home was about to end and (b) I needed to reinvent myself. Stretching far beyond my family, I believe the nation, as a whole, is facing similar crossroads.

If they are being honest with themselves, neither the Republican nor Democratic party elite believed Trump would win last November. That said, both were in shock when he did. In years past, new presidents have tried to heal election wounds by moving toward the center of the political spectrum. But not The Donald. His early morning tweets have more than ruffled feathers. They have pushed people further to the right or left (ergo, why some say we are more divided than ever before).

My theory is the uncertainty of a Trump presidency — whether it is his picks for Cabinet secretaries, relations with Russia or North Korea or calls for repealing and replacing ObamaCare — makes Americans anxious, even jumpy. Because he never served in any elected office prior to winning the presidency, none of us knows how Mr. Trump will act if truly tested. Yes, we know his long-standing M.O. is to hit back 10 times harder than when initially attacked; but, will that behavior be on display during an international crisis? 

Uncertainty breeds distrust and division. Neither is good for the country. Donald Trump’s campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” It wasn’t make a few loyal Trump supporters great again. My hope is President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE uses the power of his office to bring Americans together — and soon.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif. 


G-20 countries’ hollow action on climate change mitigation

I laughed when I read that the G-20 is upset that the Trump administration won’t change its mind about the Paris climate agreement. Of course they are upset. Who is going to fund the $100 billion per year giveaway to the 170 countries or so for climate change mitigation? They know that if all 191 countries that have agreed to the Paris climate agreement actually meet their commitments, the impact on global temperatures will only be 0.17 degrees Celsius. So, what do they really want? They know the United States would have decimated its economy to meet its reduction in greenhouse gases, and who would have benefited from this collapse? Why of course the G-20 nations.

If the G-20 is truly concerned the world will be destroyed by climate change, they can allocate the emissions reductions that would have been made by the U.S. amongst themselves and avoid catastrophe. But we all know they won’t and we all know why they won’t.

From Allen West, San Diego, Calif.