We are all too familiar with Act I: the shock of election night with Donald Trump's (increasingly questionable) Electoral College victory, Hillary Clinton's overwhelming popular vote win, and the emerging scandal involving the Russians. Blame for the loss fell on Hillary. She didn’t connect with voters in critical states, the conventional thinking went. He was a crude sexist, a racist, and master of the dog whistle, yet she didn't treat the "deplorables" who ate up his shtick with kid gloves.
Act II has brought us nothing but evidence of his ineptitude and failure to grasp what it means to be president. Many hoped the man-boy in his 70s would change once he sat in the Oval Office and felt the gravitas of power — but the tweets never stopped. Some try to convince us he is changing the nature of the presidency. Perhaps it shouldn’t be changed, especially by a minority president.
Meanwhile, Trump demands loyalty while giving none; see the disastrous press conference he forced his secretary of State to put on today. Diplomacy becomes name-calling, and the world moves closer to war thanks to a commander in chief who acts first and (maybe) thinks later. Hurricanes destroy with a fury unseen before, and many Republicans still deny climate change. The nation experiences its worst mass shooting and there's not even discussion of new gun controls.
The swamp is restocked, not drained as promised. The White House has a revolving door, and out that door went FBI director James Comey. He wouldn’t pledge loyalty to the leader, although on October 28, 2016, he may have handed the presidency to the same man who fired him. Enter special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, a former marine, and a no-nonsense guy who believes in the rule of law. Mueller investigates and a clearer picture begins to emerge.
The more we find out the more we are horrified at what probably happened. Vladimir Putin may have determined the outcome of a presidential election. Trump may be the choice of Putin and not the American people. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan continue to pretend not to hear, see, or speak of the evil that most likely occurred as long as they might get an unpopular legislative agenda turned into law.
Now we begin Act III. Hillary's book is written and she is speaking once again, while Trump blusters behind the presidential seal. One is presidential and one is not. Mueller and his team continue their work and the dominos start to fall. Paul Manafort may be at the end of a long, very dark career as Mueller fixes his unflinching eyes on him.
Don Jr. tells us of meeting with Russians along with Manafort and Jared Kushner to get dirt on Hillary. Jared certainly can’t be sleeping well, perhaps waiting for FBI agents in the early morning. Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions might get deals. Flynn definitely will if he’s got the goods on the others. Sessions may have just been a stooge. Not difficult to believe. Mike Pence is in very hot water, but that's being kept on low simmer right now.
As investigations proceed, it becomes more certain that Russian interference did give a vital assist to that Trump Electoral College win. Ads paid for in rubles may have helped Putin get his choice in the White House, especially with him targeting states that Manafort knew were within Trump's reach.The cast of mob wannabes from Trump world will go down in the wake.
While Mueller pushes forward to the truth, Hillary offers ideas and real solutions to not only the American people but the world. She speaks smartly about containing North Korea. It's reassuring she is still willing to put herself out there for us and take whatever personal heat it brings.
Recently, Hillary took to Twitter and called for the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship, to make its way to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, all while Trump raged against NFL players. Two days later, the administration took her advice. She called out the disgraceful bill proposed in Congress that would have made it easier to obtain gun silencers. That legislation is now going nowhere.
It’s a good bet those people suffering in Vegas and on that decimated island are glad Hillary didn’t fade away. Her voice made a difference. She isn’t giving up and neither should we.
SUSAN SURFTONE is a musician who previously served as an FBI agent. Her latest EP is Making Waves Again.