No matter our political differences, when America is under attack, we drop our campaign bumper stickers and pick up our American flags. We are Americans first.
At least that is what I always thought. But lately, I am not so sure.
Except for our president, virtually every political leader agrees that America is under attack – and continues to be under attack. Our enemy has unleashed an insidious plot to destabilize our government. They are striking at the very fabric of our nation and pitting one American against another.
And yet, we have not joined together and we have not fought back.
When we first heard that Russian operatives had attempted to manipulate the 2016 election, most political leaders expressed outrage. Congressional investigations were initiated and a Special Counsel was appointed.
Today, every investigation, even those that are ongoing, has unequivocally concluded that Russia did attempt to influence the 2016 election. Far more importantly, we now know that they also tried to fan the flames of dissension by pitting one American against another based on race and religion.
All of the intelligence agencies in the Obama AND Trump administrations agree that we are under attack by Russia and that those attacks will almost certainly continue.
And other than expressing outrage, our leaders – Democrats and Republicans – have done little to nothing about it.
Whether you love Trump or hate him is not the point. We are under attack by a foreign power.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has identified 25 Russians including 12 Russian intelligence officers, by name, for violating the sovereignty of the United States. President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates said that there is “no doubt” as to what took place and compared the warnings about future Russian attacks to those that we received prior to September 11, 2001.
And yet we have not come together and have not met the enemy on the battlefield.
Perhaps we should take some solace in the fact that Russia has performed their dirty work against other countries – interfering in elections in at least 19 European nations. However, unlike Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May have publicly accused Russia of interfering.
But rather than leading a coalition of outraged nations and responding with tough countermeasures, we sit timidly on the sidelines while we are attacked.
But it did not stop with trying to influence the election
Perhaps even more heinous than the Russian effort to influence the election are their efforts to sow discontent and create division among Americans. Russians targeted people who were suspicious of Muslims and at the same time those who sought to defend Muslims from attack. They targeted Americans on both sides of the immigration debate.
The Russians attacked Black Lives Matters and at the same time reached out to those who were fighting for racial and social justice.
We also know conclusively that Russian efforts did not stop once the election was over. Thousands of social media ads were shown millions of times AFTER the election.
And just so you do not think that this is just about politics, in March of this year, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint alert announcing Russian government cyber activity targeting U.S. government entities in the energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.
Experts expect ongoing Russian attacks
Most, if not all of our leaders have warned that the United States is not prepared to handle Russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections. In regard to the 2018 elections, DNI Coates told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he expects Russian interference to continue unabated attacking both the election and “social and political fissures in the United States.”
U.S. Senator Mark Warner was even more blunt saying that we are unprepared to respond to Russian aggression. “We’ve had more than a year to get our act together and address the threat posed by Russia and implement a strategy to deter future attacks. But we still do not have a plan.”
Despite the universal opinion that Russia tried to mess with the 2016 election – and continues to be a serious threat in upcoming elections – President Trump has refused to hold Russia accountable.
His most recent press conference standing beside Vladimir Putin has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike. Even Fox news commentators and Trump defenders have criticized Trump’s lack of defense of his own country.
Former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump’s response to Russian interference “treasonous.”
If you assume that candidate Donald Trump, his family and his associates did not collude, in any way, with Russians during the last election, you have to wonder why he has done literally nothing to protect our nation from such a serious national threat.
Rather than defend our country against a foreign enemy, Trump is more worried that by acknowledging Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, someone, anyone, might conclude that without Russia’s help he might not have won the election. And in a battle between Trump’s ego and our nation security, Trump’s “America-first” policy will take a back seat to his “Donald Trump-first” policy every time.
And to make matters worse, last week feckless Senate Republicans voted against two nonbinding measures that would put them on record support intelligence agency conclusions about the 2016 election and calling on the president to fully impose sanction against Russia that they had already voted to put in place.
Here is a question for all of my Republican friends. In the midterms or in 2020, if the Chinese government tires of Trump’s trade war and decides to get involved in our elections in support of Democratic candidates, would you be willing to act then?
Respect for the flag
In 1776, Americans grabbed their muskets and ran into the fields to defend their new Republic. They risked their lives to save their fledgling country. Over the years, brave Americans risked their lives whenever their beloved country was under attack.
Make no mistake about it, today America is under attack. And right now, we are doing nothing about it.
Invisible missiles are being fired directly at our democracy and we have done very little to stop them. Worse, we don’t even seem to be willing to defend ourselves against future attacks.
This is not a matter of Democrats attacking Republicans. This is about Russia attacking the United States.
If you truly want to make America great again, then defend her from foreign intrusion into our democracy. It’s time that we grabbed our muskets and defended our great country and our flag.