As the Biden Administration begins, many of us are pivoting from dread and outrage to… happiness. And it’s about a lot more than “Ding Dong, the wicked witch is dead!” isn’t it?

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Let’s see if I can hit some of the reasons.

I’m happy that after four years, a good and decent man is in the White House, a president with a lifelong record of integrity, compassion, and dedication to this country and its Constitution.

I find it a huge relief that the White House is no longer the national epicenter of corruption, lies, incompetence and venality. …

As the Biden Administration begins, many of us are pivoting from dread and outrage to… happiness. And it’s about a lot more than “Ding Dong, the wicked witch is dead!” isn’t it?

Let’s see if I can hit some of the reasons.

I’m happy that after four years, a good and decent man is in the White House, a president with a lifelong record of integrity, compassion, and dedication to this country and its Constitution.

I find it a huge relief that the White House is no longer the national epicenter of corruption, lies, incompetence and venality. …

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The Whole World Was Watching

As you digest the stunning events in Washington DC on January 6, consider this.

There are now more US troops in this nation’s capital than in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are massive iron and concrete barriers blocking approaches to the platform where the transfer of power will take place this week — they look like the protections around the American Embassy in Baghdad.

Because I served as a US Foreign Service Officer for many years, my thoughts immediately go to this nation’s allies, and enemies, abroad. How are they seeing all this? …

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#78 A Risk Too Damn Big to Take

Last Friday, after a Trump-inspired mob had occupied the Capitol, leaving five people dead and the nation’s reputation in tatters, a deeply worried House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to ask him about “available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”

We don’t know what Milley told her, but it couldn’t have been reassuring. …

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You don’t want to hear this right now but, after the mob attack on the US Capitol, I need to tell you something you need to think about.

The biggest danger this nation faces in the two weeks before Joseph Biden becomes president is that a deranged Donald Trump could start a nuclear war.

Nuclear weapons are something I know about. For three years I was a member of NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group (NPG), a super-secret team charged with planning nuclear strikes to combat a possible Soviet attack on Europe. I learned all the details of America’s nuclear arsenal and I helped plan where and how it could be used in defense of NATO. …

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The Cowards in Congress

Every four years, on January 6, Congress meets to confirm the people’s choice of the winner of the presidential election. This meeting has always been just a formality. It has never changed anything.

This year, however, a small group of die-hard Trump supporters in Congress, led by Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, and Representative Mo Brooks, have announced their intentions to object to Biden’s win in the Electoral College, using an 1887 law to mount their challenge.

Under that law, Congress must formally vote either to deny their objection, leaving the power to elect a president to the people — or to accept it, which would take that power away from the people and give it to Congress, ending the balance of power so carefully crafted by the Founders. …

Smart Speakers

A year or so ago, a smart speaker came into the house as a gift when my wife Ann subscribed to the New York Times. I was agin it but Ann and her son David got it set up to say “Good Morning” and report the day’s news and weather, play podcasts, and radio stations anywhere in the world and — with the addition of a bunch of special plugs — to turn the lights on and off here in the living room.

I had to admit that lights-on-and-off thing was nice. Nevertheless I grumbled a lot about having that thing listening all the time. Ann’s response was to quietly put mini speakers in other rooms, so she could get answers to questions and listen to Radio Lab anywhere in the house. She didn’t go as far as some people — our devices didn’t control the heating system or house locks, although David did threaten to turn the lights in this room on and off from his phone 40 miles away. …

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A lot of smart people are working hard to figure out who should get the new vaccines for COVID-19 first. I trust them to make these difficult decisions. But the vaccine IS coming and most of us should have it by summer. That’s the good news.

But there’s another pandemic raging in this country that ultimately could cost us more than Covid 19.

I’m calling it the Ostrich Plague — a relentless virus that’s caused millions of Americans to put their heads in the sand, refusing to acknowledge the danger of the colossal assault on American democracy and values we’ve seen over the last four years. …

Talking to the enemy—and in these incredibly polarized times, who doesn’t have some?

I’ve got some useful suggestions on how to turn battlegrounds into conversations.

Know first that I’m no idle theorist. My ideas on conflict communications come from a lifetime of dealing with serious conflicts, from planning nuclear war for NATO, to environmental battles in the Pacific Northwest, to trying to cope with an out-of-control teen. I’ve learned a lot from my successes and, even more from my mistakes.

If you’re new here, I’ll just tell you that I’m a lifelong adventurer, a former Foreign Service Officer, a writer, a speaker, a social and political activist, and for over three decades a leader of the Giraffe Heroes Project, a global movement that gets people to stick their necks out to solve tough public problems — like getting through pandemics and much more. More at johngraham.org …

#72 Battle Fatigue 11–27–20

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Tonight I’m thinking about battle fatigue. Mine and yours.

Reading, listening, figuring out what just happened, braced for what could happen next, I’m just tired of all of it. Maybe you are too.

I’m tired of this pandemic and mostly because an inept and uncaring national leadership has made it so much worse than it had to be — so much more sickness, too many deaths, more and more losses of jobs and homes, more people going hungry, and the frustrating new rules we have to live by.

I’m tired of Trump’s absurd efforts to undermine the constitutional transfer of power. …

About

John Graham

John Graham is an adventurer, a former Foreign Service Officer, a writer, speaker and political activist, and a leader of the Giraffe Heroes Project,

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