Letter to the Editor

Blind men examining an elephant

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

As I read the letters to the editor in the Reporter that discuss the merits or demerits of our current presidential administration, I am reminded of blind men examining an elephant. In other words, it is possible for practically anyone to come up with something, real or imagined, that supports his or her preconceived notions.

I will give you my interpretation of the rogue elephant known as the Trump administration. I will tell you that right out of the box I thought Donald Trump would be a disaster as a president. Nothing has happened to dissuade from that initial judgment.

First, the economy. This is the item on which Trump supporters are most likely to hang their hat. When President Barack Obama took office, we were in bad shape. He managed to turn things around. When he was elected, I sold all of my losing stock market holdings and invested in stocks with a strong financial rating and a record of annual increases in dividends. That strategy paid off quite handsomely. Percentage wise, I did much better during Obama's presidency. I will grant you that my holdings have advanced nicely during Trump's tenure as well.

There is, however, a caveat that must be acknowledged. Obama managed to reduce the annual deficits he inherited by one half or more. By contrast, under Trump's presidency, annual deficits are soaring at the rate of a trillion bucks a year. For illustrative purposes, the total national debt that Carter bequeathed to Reagan was about a trillion. How this will turn out God knows. I don't think Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson will be able to cash in enough heavenly chips to make this turn out well.

What really bothers me, though, is the casual acceptance of Russian interference in the 2016 election. It appears that influence will also be exerted in the upcoming 2020 election. I served in the U.S. Navy at a time when the threat presented by Russia was quite evident. Our intelligence services have established without a doubt this Russian interference in the 2016 election was quite real. Trump even encouraged it. Yet now an effort is made to shift the blame to Ukraine, a fledgling nation that surely does not possess the wherewithal to indulge in such chicanery.

Alan Oppedal, Ruthven