We the People: What will Trump do?

President-elect Donald Trump changed his high-handed rejection of reports from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia cyber-attacked the U.S. to grudging acceptance that it really happened.

He originally rejected any allegation that Russia was the source of the hack attacks or that Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to lose the presidential election by sarcastically suggesting that China or a 400-pound hacker in bed may have been the source. The reports pointed toward Vladimir Putin as the director of the hack attacks because he wanted to support Trump and damage Clinton.

Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chair who Trump tapped to be his chief of staff, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said that Trump now believed Russia was behind the cyber-attacks on the Democratic Party organization but remained silent as to whether the president-elect agreed that the hacks were directed by Russian President Putin.

This acknowledgment that Trump now accepts that Russia directed the hacks and disclosure of Democratic e-mails during the election was the first one from the president-elect’s administration. Priebus said that the president-elect “accepts the fact that this … was [from] entities in Russia.” However, Mr. Trump still tweeted that having a better relationship with Russia is a “good thing.”

Priebus maintained that Mr. Trump plans to order the intelligence community to recommendation actions that “may be taken.” President Obama has already imposed sanctions on Russia for the cyber-attacks, including expulsion of diplomatic staff.

Mr. Trump scoffed at those moves and had General Michael T. Flynn, his pick to be national security adviser, call Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, to arrange a phone call between President Putin and President Trump after the inauguration.

Hopefully Mr. Trump will not vacate the sanctions and make the U.S. look even weaker by failing to respond to this aggression. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham maintained that the evidence was “conclusive” and that Putin sought to influence the presidential election and that Mr. Trump must remain strong in the face of Russian aggression. He correctly stated that Mr. Trump must “let everybody know in America, Republicans and Democrats, that you’re going to make Russia pay a price for trying to interfere” with our internal affairs.

Mr. Trump continues to say that, since he won the election, he will be unintimidated in his political actions by any potential political backlash. Hopefully, this will mean he will be unintimidated by his dear friend Vladimir and be able to admit to any error and move on to build cooperation in Washington, D.C. and across the nation.

There is nothing wrong with working together toward creating consensus. When the center cannot hold, things tend to fall apart, as the poet Yeats wrote. That is true in life and in leadership. You do not want a divided nation since it will create an environment of hopelessness where the best of us lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.

Intensity is a good thing but it must be balanced with thoughtfulness just like might must be tempered with mercy or we shall find ourselves in a troubled wasteland without hope or progress toward a better future.

Mr. Trump and the rest of the nation need to take inspiration from Detective Steven McDonald, who was laid to rest after being shot and paralyzed from the neck down over 30 years ago by a teenager in Central Park. The doctors initially believed that he could only survive a few years. McDonald beat the odds and lived; he beat the odds again and survived all of these years living on a ventilator and confined to a wheelchair. His challenges failed to confine his spirit.

He loved his family, fellow officers and the community he served.  He became a beacon of hope and an inspiration to anyone facing a difficulty. He overcame all obstacles including hate and went on to live an incredible life spreading a message of love and forgiveness like a modern day saint.

He forgave 15-year-old Shavod Jones, the robbery suspect who shot him three times and almost killed him. Somehow, Steven McDonald overcame hatred and self-pity, and spent the rest of his days loving his family and fellow human beings while making inspirational appearances throughout the world.

He exhibited monumental courage and lived the meaning of forgiveness. PBA President Pat Lynch described him as “a powerful force for all that is good” and “inspiration to all of us.” Steven McDonald said, “We’re here for a reason … we’re here to do good.” If we strive to be like him and do good and inspire good in others every day, no challenge will ever defeat us.

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