Opinion Columns

Nothing to fear but fear itself

Want to put up some money on who will be our next, President? I lived in Atlantic City off and on for five years and had not one friend who was not a gambler, most thinking I was weird with no passion or interest in the world’s second greatest passion, maybe the first.  

When I did want to lay down some money on a wild bet, I knew whom to call in Atlantic City, and my pal not only laughed at me, but also took the bet with glee, knowing he would take the money. That was a long time ago, at the very beginning of Donald’s throwing his hat in the ring. Now I imagine my pal is getting a little nervous, like the time they forced me to a blackjack table and I walked away a big winner, not telling them I had learned the game on outposts in the military. 

Now there is a lot of money out there on Trump winning; but also a great deal of fear, jealousy, suspicion, downright hatred among some, others who would be willing to destroy the basic frameworks and rules that define who America is as the world greatest democracy, a democracy thousands of America’s warriors shed their blood and existence on foreign battlefields, sacrificing their lives so we all could be free, in a democratic America.

Let’s face reality America, Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States, and as Franklin Roosevelt said: “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” for Donald will go through another transformation as he did long ago: from a Queens New York city dude with bucks in his pocket to a rich guy and then to a billionaire, and a global force in international business.  

Some just see him as a rich guy, as I often did, but having lived for a decade in New York City, including a year in Queens, I know better, for within the city’s culture fathers often pass down their trades to their sons: most notably firemen and cops, tradesmen, traders, pizza shop owners, taxi operators and on and on. 

Donald’s old man was in real estate, so that what he passed on, along with a little financial grease to get him started in a city real estate market inhabited by some of the most cunning wolves of capitalism. The kid not only made it, he became more than his own father, which every father hopes for. And, as a guy from Philly, I came to appreciate the swagger of guys from Queens, on full display with the Donald. Ok, I get it you say: “but can he change enough to be worthy of the American Presidency?”

Let me tell a story. At the end of my chapter on the future of terrorism in my published 2014 book, “American Foreign Policy: Fighting, nuclear, chemical, & biological Terrorism” I tell a story from my maternal grandmother’s Iroquois roots, the Mohawk legend of Atotarho.  Some of the most ferocious American Indians were the five nations of the Iroquois  (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondga, Cayuga, Seneca), there were no limits to their cruelty in battle, even with feuds that erupted into cousins killing cousins, after killing all opposing warriors they massacred the women and children. 

They conducted unlimited warfare as tribes sought to eliminate other tribes, presently a crime against humanity backed by a tribunal at The Hague. 

The greatest obstacle to peace, as the legend goes, was the Onondaga warrior leader Atotarbo, whose mind was so twisted and evil that snakes grew out of his hair (as some believe with our Donald),

his body bent in seven places. His evil magic was so powerful that birds fell dead from the trees and dead fish floated to the surface in the streams and lakes when he was near.

In legend, one day Atotarho was approached by Ajontwatha (whom we know as Hiawatha), or “one who combs,” as she sang a hymn of peace with sounds so mystic he became hypnotized and calmed by the hymn that she was able to comb the snakes from his hair, straightened his body, and set him up as one of the Peace Chiefs. 

He became head of the Five Nations and thus created the famous “League of the Iroquois” that brought peace to the Five Nations that lasted over 200 years, long before the League of Nations or the United Nations.

The lesson of the legend is to take the worst and most violent and make them leaders; with the evil energy transformed into doing good. This conflict between good and evil is a favorite Iroquois theme, that some good lies somewhere in the worst of men. If you can find and nurture that good in the wild beast, that warrior quality can be used as a force of good, not evil. 

Just a story, but when President Trump sits down with an array of our military guys, he will be in contact with a new reality; men and women so different from all those he has encountered in business and our shallow political types, he will encounter what I argue elsewhere in the book, the best men and women in America today, and he will soon come to realize not only are they the best, but when they finish combing his hair, he will know our military for what it is: the strongest in the world. 

So many attacks upon Trump are based on pure hysteria, except for millions who have direct experience with the things he is talking about, whether it be jobs going overseas or our being duped by China. I witnessed men in my family beginning with my father, who was never late or absent from his factory job for 30 years  and left without  a job or pension,  times when  American companies took their technologies, equipment, and money overseas.  Why? Cheaper labor.  

I have known good men, family men, from eastern industrial cities who lost not just their jobs, but also their families and their dignity. By trade, I became a China specialist, early on attempting to advise American businessmen, as I watched them ignore my warnings on the Chinese, our current relationship exposed by candidate Trump. Trump gets it: all the things I write about China not just in chapter two of the above book, but in two other books on China, plus a novel about the First Emperor whom the current Chinese leader is beginning to look more like every day.

As Bob Marley once sang, “Don’t worry about a thing, for every little thing is gonna be alright.” And even candidate Trump himself has said, that when he gets into office he will change, he will become more “Presidential.”  

The responsibilities of office, along with the learning curve that goes with it: not just our military guys and gals, but intelligence, state department, and others will enlighten the spirit of Atoharho, and we will have a leader who not only knows how to win, but win big; nothing less than what a great nation deserves.  Don’t worry about a thing, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.