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Fear Thee Well to 2016

December 28, 2016 - 7:00am

As usual, the year's end brings reflections and ruminations on what was and what is to be. This time around, however, it feels as though an era is coming to an end. 

That gentle frisson between past and future about which columnists customarily write feels vaguely apocalyptic as we approach the new year.

The usual regrets -- too much ice cream, not enough exercise, too quick with a retort, not enough thank-you notes -- all feel quaintly irrelevant juxtaposed against a collection of very real fears about the future. During a year and a half of bitter political infighting -- sister against sister, neighbor against neighbor -- we've lost a better part of ourselves and unleashed armies of vengeful strangers.

To put a fine point on it, Donald Trump's election has released a malevolent spirit upon the land. He invoked the magic message -- essentially them vs. us -- and the demons disembarked from their dark hiding places. He raided the lost ark, lifted the lid, and the whirlwind of humankind's worst impulses escaped.

Hyperbolic, yes. But when the next leader of the free world casually comments that we need to build up our nuclear arsenal -- and seems to welcome a return of the Cold War -- alarm expressed in the strongest terms possible is required. When such alarm did find expression around the nation and the world, the president-elect huddled in his "fake news" bunker and claimed that his remarks were quoted incompletely. He took special aim at NBC News, tweeting that the network "purposely left out this part of my nuclear qoute: 'until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.' Dishonest!"

If NBC left out the balance of his tweet, shame on them, but the rest of what he said adds nothing to assuage the larger concern that he thinks we need more nukes. Or, since this apparently needs pointing out, that he believes having more nukes will have no effect whatsoever until the rest of the world comes to its senses. My guess is the rest of the world is thinking the exact same thing: This president-elect is not in his senses -- and he makes no sense.

Trump's complete original quote, as usual offered via Twitter, was: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

Really? By "greatly" expanding our already huge nuclear arsenal, other leaders will come to their senses regarding nukes? Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed earlier on the same day that he wishes to boost his country's nuclear strength, too. Just great.

And, really, again. What's with making such war-mongering threats when you're not in the White House yet? Tweeting on matters of such import is unpresidential, not to mention unmanly. Also, it's (BEG ITAL)insane!(END ITAL)

I could pause here and write verbatim the emails and social-media comments certain to follow these observations. They're as predictable as a 3 a.m. tweet from Trump Tower. This, too, is part of what's frightening as we take our leave of 2016. People who voted for Trump refuse to critique his behavior through any lens but that of having won a contest.

"We won, you lost -- get over it" is what now passes for a serious dialogue about matters of immense importance.

The notion that people who still express concerns -- including a growing list of psychiatrists and psychologists who've signed a letter suggesting the man isn't well -- are just sore losers is nonsense. When the president-elect of the United States so cavalierly threatens to unravel the fragile threads that hold civilization together, there are no winners. He or she who is not worried is not paying attention.

My personal stake, other than the fears herein described, is well and good. What's bad for the republic is good for columnists and cartoonists, though this time, I admit, the muse's generosity is less enjoyable.

These are also not simple partisan fears. Many Republicans I know are "slightly terrified," as one Trump voter recently put it to me. That most, if not all, Democrats are, too, doesn't have to mean they're all excessively disappointed, though many surely are. Nor, as the incensed have written, does my non-support of Trump translate to support for Hillary Clinton. We call that a non sequitur.

And when it comes to abusing logic, Trump wins hands down.


Kathleen Parker's email address is

(c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group



Laugh Out Loud, you poor cry baby creature, despite all the allegations of demons rallying around Trump what I have actually seen is hateful, vengeful people attacking average Americans time and time again for daring to hope that the future can be bright and that America can be GREAT, I have never seen so many hypocrites in my life. You put forth that you believe in angelic society then you damn almost half of America, it is truly sad.... Actions speak louder than words you should hold your tongue and wait to see what America is in 2 years, maybe your doomsday hype is just that, hype. My two bits....

I happen to be one of your "demons" Ms. Parker but when "lid lifted" I expected media types, such as yourself, to climb in to be flushed, instead you continue your self righteous attitude writing as though you actually know the future. I, for one, am proud to have supported & voted for Mr. Trump but if Hillary had won I'd have swallowed the disgusting taste of loss and would support our President, unlike types like you who will continue to whine and lick your wounds for the next four years! Why not be constructive and actually be fair in your writings and support 'OUR' next President and hope for your best? I believe there will be positive changes in D. C. and the old way of doing government business is soon to be dealt with. Like you, we ALL must deal with the dealt cards so play 'em like you've got a winning hand! GO TRUMP!

"Beware the military industrial complex" - Dwight D Eisenhower, 34th President and Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, WW II. "The weapons of war must be abolished, before they abolish us" "The survivors of a (nuclear war) would envy the dead" John F Kennedy, 35th President and Naval combat veteran, commander, PT boat 109, Pacific WW II. "Let there be an arms race" Donald Trump, 45th President elect.

And you Kathleen Parker are a loser........ Trump will be our 45th President and it' writers like you that need to retire if you can not stand with President Trump!

What a lame, but totally expected response, Anonymous. This is the best you have to offer?

FOAD! Like it or not Trump won loser!

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