None of The Nome Nugget’s requests to the president-elect’s transition team have been answered yet. We sent out the first one in mid-November and inquired about Mr. Trump’s intentions in the Arctic and Alaska. We heard nothing back. Our request vanished into a black hole, which to me comes as a surprise since every request we made to the White House has so far been answered.
Now we learn that the new President Donald J. Trump contemplates to do away with the traditional press corps that covered the White House to keep Americans near and far informed about what’s going on in the country’s center of power. The signs do not bode well for the American public if communications and communication channels are altered or cut off. Sure, every government wants to highlight the good and hide failures or scandals. But the public has benefited from professional reporting by trained journalists, the free press and the first amendment that says “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” and we were allowed and expected to do our work.
Ever since being elected, Trump held one press conference. It happened last week in the foyer of the gilded Trump Tower in Manhattan, and in retribution to critical reporting, Trump did not take questions from a CNN reporter. The 45th president of the USA dismissed a legitimate reporter with two words: Fake News.
That is taking us into a new territory, where the press as a pillar of our democracy, good manners and time-honored traditions are tossed out of the window.
The restriction of the free press is not the only part of the coming four years that ought to freak us out. World leaders and especially NATO allies around the globe are feeling anxiety, too. What can all of us expect of the leader of the free world who has yet to sketch out a roadmap of where he’ll take the country and what philosophy or political conviction would guide his decisions? A U.S. leader, who says that NATO is obsolete? A president who tweets one thing and his cabinet says another?
Things seem to be upside down. Russian hacking and meddling in the US election process is played down and Trump is set to cozy up with traditional foes, like Russia. Who would’ve thought that the ultimate capitalist in person of Donald Trump would embrace the ultimate Russian comrade Vladimir Putin? In an interview with BILD Zeitung in Germany, Trump angered Germans, staunch U.S. allies since the Marshall Plan, with uneducated remarks about the foolishness of the country’s decision to accept over a million refugees from Syria and war-torn regions in the Middle East. I saw the shelters set up in a small town in Germany firsthand. I saw Germans giving little refugee kids chocolates or applies in the stores and I saw the gratitude in their faces for having a safe place and kind neighbors. I asked how the residents of the village felt about the refugees. “We’ve never seen our community hall so clean and well-tended to,” was their answer. The refugees pulled their weight and kept their temporary home spic-and-span clean.
Trump pissed off China by talking to Taiwanese leaders and not adhering to the “One China” doctrine. The dismissal of the value of NATO for keeping a fragile and volatile world in balance and peace is astonishing. The world is a powder keg as to begin with, now we have a President who has no qualms to light the fireworks and to see what happens.
And we haven’t even touched on Trump’s dismissal of tackling climate change and bracing for its effects. I have not forgotten the Access Hollywood tapes in which Trump boasted of groping women. For this state and region, this is the worst message to send to young men and women. What are we telling our daughters? That sexism is now acceptable because the President thinks it’s ok to take whatever he pleases from a woman?
I fail to see a silver lining in all of this. Maybe there will be something good coming out of the 45th administration, maybe not. Send a letter to the editor if you have an idea what that could be. —D.H.—