During this time in America when the President of the United States is an unindicted felon and reading about the happenings in and around the White House leaves you feeling dirty, it is good to remember, even at his passing, Kofi Annan. “Annan came from a line of Ashanti tribal chiefs,” writes James Traub in Foreign Policy. “He understood, in the chiefly way, that one could win by allowing the other man to feel that he had won, a strategic act of ego suppression whose merits one could not even explain, much less justify, to the current President of the United States.” Annan was a different sort of leader. A different role model for the world. His current activities and his biography from the Kofi Annan Foundation are on page 6.
From around the world come reactions to the passing of Aretha Franklin at 76. She gave us a soundtrack that runs through our lives and lifted us up whenever we heard it. And even when she’s gone, her vibrations will stay with us, raising our spirits for the rest of our lives. What a gift to have lived in her time.
One cannot listen to Aretha and not have the heart flutter a bit, it is a reaction that is from the autonomic nervous system, it is in the soul and beyond conscious control. And there is no use trying to put into words what she gave us. That would require being able to write like Aretha sang. And God does not grant powers like that often. William Shakespeare had that gift and he wrote of the soul of humanity in words lasting 400 years. Striking the same notes, Aretha’s voice will endure the same.
The Unindicted Co-Conspirator
According to testimony by his former lawyer Michael Cohen, the President of the United States directed and coordinated a conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws, a federal felony to which Cohen had just pled guilty. The president is in office as an unindicted co-conspirator. A straight-up criminal. The comparison former FBI director James Comey made of Trump to a mob boss was not over the top, it was dead-on.
The nation has come to learn that despite a mountain of rules, regulations and laws, that much of our system of government depends on human decency and respect for norms of behavior. Trump has taught us that for him, as for any sociopath, respect for norms is for the weak.
And with the inexorable Special Counsel Robert Mueller continuing his investigation, the country may have to accept a difficult reality. Because if it came to a choice between disgrace and personal financial ruin caused by the Russians versus the alternative of crippling the United States, we all know in our hearts without a doubt, that Trump would choose self-preservation without a second thought.
With the Republican majority in Congress held captive by the 42% of Americans in their gerrymandered districts supporting Trump no matter what and voting against any representative who doesn’t, where this goes from here is unknown. What is known is that we must all be engaged in correcting the course of the nation by ensuring that all get an opportunity to vote and get out and do it. And after the midterm elections, be prepared to buckle up.