Res­o­lu­tions for the year

The Star Democrat - - OPINION - SU­SAN ESTRICH To find out more about Su­san Estrich and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at www.cre­

It is our col­lec­tive frayed nerves that worry me. Christ­mas cheer has been re­placed by dirty snow, un­clean toi­lets, clogged roads and un­paid bills.

The sun is shin­ing. But Cal­i­for­nia is de­cep­tive. Be­neath the sur­face, even here, gloom lurks.

In Los An­ge­les, the teach­ers are get­ting ready to go on strike.

And the kids? Do their brains go on strike? Does any­thing work any­more? “Breathe deep,” I tell a friend who is about to ex­plode about some­thing some­one has said about Pres­i­dent Trump. It was a hard Christ­mas at too many ta­bles. Pol­i­tics is im­por­tant — I’m the last to say oth­er­wise — but there is some­thing very wrong when our pa­tri­o­tism and love of coun­try is some­how turn­ing us against one an­other.

Mitt Rom­ney is right. The fish rots from the head.

And we are all be­ing in­fected by the dis­ease. We must not let him de­stroy our spirit, our de­cency, our fel­low­ship, even as he turns his back on our poli­cies.

Shine the light on him. Make it bright. Do no more than re­peat his words. He needs no com­men­tary. His own words undo him. His stunts re­veal him. His al­lies shame him.

The prob­lem, Mr. Pres­i­dent, is not the left, and it is not the me­dia, and it is not Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or CNN or the Wash­ing­ton Post. The prob­lem is not Mitt Rom­ney or Nikki Ha­ley or the es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans or the Clin­tons or the DNC or Michael Cohen or Robert Mueller or James Comey or Dianne Fe­in­stein.

The prob­lem is not one that can be solved by adding an­other lob­by­ist to the Cabi­net or an­other Fox Newser to the Cabi­net.

The prob­lem is the pres­i­dent him­self, and the more we see of him, the worse it is. Un­fil­tered Trump is tear­ing us apart; that he doesn’t even care is a mea­sure of ev­ery­thing that makes him the wrong man for the job, and of the dan­ger we face that could yet get worse.

We need some he­roes and some pa­tri­ots, not in anony­mous col­umns and care­ful leaks but in hon­est tes­ti­mony. It is time for Repub­li­cans in this coun­try to stand up, to turn Congress into an in­sti­tu­tion bound by the rule of law and not the de­mands of par­ti­san pol­i­tics. There is no other way.

Trump is liked even less than Pelosi. I’d like to say Pelosi is liked more, but no one is liked. The faces you see are dis­gust. And fear. And anger. As we look to­ward our na­tion’s cap­i­tal, those are the faces of Amer­ica in 2019.

I will not let the hate make me hate. I will not let the fear make me walk away. I will not turn my back, as much as I would like.

And I will thank ev­ery Repub­li­can who will hold out his or her hand.

We are bet­ter than this.

Happy new year.

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