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I believe most Americans are awake, if not woke, to the fact that the wellbeing of America and the world is at risk. Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrated by unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, that he’s willing to risk major war in Europe to regain dictatorial power that Communist Russia once exerted over much of Europe. His words indicate willingness to consider nuclear weapons.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s acquiescence of Putin’s moves, and his rhetoric about the prospect of stripping Taiwan’s independence, increase the risk of world military conflict.

On the home front, our southern border has become an open gate for thousands to illegally enter America each day, and a pipeline for Fentanyl to kill tens of thousands of Americans each year. With an overworked understaffed border patrol, these illegals are dispersing into unknown destinations where they require lodging, food, medical care, and children’s schooling.

With American taxpayers footing much of the cost, how many tens of millions of “illegals” can America absorb? How many of the “undocumented” immigrants pose a direct threat to the safety of American families?  With 2.3 million reported apprehensions last year of individuals trying to enter illegally, no one knows how many dangerous individuals get through. Some defenders of the status quo point out accurately that we also have dangerous home-grown persons in America, but that is no excuse to allow hundreds or thousands more to hike or wade across the border.

Cities are plagued with increasingly brazen crime like the frightening “smash and grab” tactics that we get to watch on nightly news. Mass shootings, and violence on public transportation have become the norm. Public schools once considered safe-havens for children, are becoming locked down fortresses.

One might question whether the state of our nation is as upbeat as we heard in the President’s recent State-of-the-Union address.

We can wish that elected officials in Washington would close ranks in an all-out effort to address these problems, but reality is, our two-party political system is failing. Instead of electing capable honest leaders who work together to cure our nation’s ills, we get little more than political bickering by many politicians from both parties. It often seems their primary goal is retention of political office at any cost, and/or personal enrichment at the expense of taxpayers. At risk of alienating readers from both sides of the political aisle, here are examples from a long list.

Recently elected New York Republican Congressman George Santos, grossly lied about his qualifications in order to win election. Some NY Congressional Republicans did distinguish themselves by calling for his resignation.

Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar publicly demonstrated her allegiances by publicly equating the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, but she was reelected in a landslide.

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s rude behavior during the State-of-the-Union address should be an embarrassment to everyone in Congress. Hopefully this is her last term.

While the above are relative amateurs, senior Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff used the prestige of his position as chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, to claim he had personally seen evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and Russia. However, after a $32 million investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller (a highly respected former FBI Director who was appointed to that position by Presidents from both parties), no evidence was found to support Schiff’s collusion allegation.

I was one who rejected any possibility that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could receive nominations for the 2016 election. While Donald Trump had demonstrated ability to get things done, I believed his oversize ego would be a barrier to uniting the nation, and that Hillary’s dishonesty already on display while Secretary of State, would disqualify her.

The 2020 choice was no better.

President Trump’s personal behavior diminished his chance for reelection, and the best Democrats had to offer was Joe Biden who would be the oldest president in our history, and whose major qualification seemed to be that he was a life-long career-politician. So where do we go from here?

I want to believe Democrats understand that having a Commander-in-Chief in his mid-80s is not what’s needed to enhance America’s future security, and that Republicans understand that nationwide destructive demonstrations that would result if former President Trump was returned to the White House, is not what’s needed to restore American unity.

If either man truly cares about the wellbeing of our nation, it is time to withdraw from consideration for 2024. But what do I know?

Wes Mader is a former Prior Lake mayor. Following retirement after serving as president of Bowmar Aerospace and Defense in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Wes and his wife Char retired in Prior Lake.

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