Get our newsletters

Charles Meredith: A coming of age on campus


Dear Friends,

Good morning. Dr. William Elkins is a member of our book club which meets five times each year. He recently sent a New York Times column that hit the nail right on the head. It got my thinking about President Trump. Is Donald Trump getting any sleep these days? The president believes that a strong economy and positive stock market will carry the day for him in November. So how’s he doing?

Last week, Wall Street experienced a 10 percent loss in just three days. Will the coronavirus epidemic cause a global recession and pandemic? If I were Donald Trump, I’d be shaking in my boots.

Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidates are helping Trump to win another four years … but not if Thomas Friedman’s advice becomes reality. Friedman writes opinion columns in the New York Times. He’s one of my favorites. Here’s what he opined Feb. 25:

“Democrats, you can defeat Trump in a landslide if you promise voters something our narrow-minded President won’t,” the headline began.

Friedman writes that if he were president, here’s his ideal cabinet … Friedman’s team of rivals: Amy Klobuchar as vice president; Mike Bloomberg or Bernie Sanders as secretary of treasury; Joe Biden as secretary of state; Elizabeth Warren as health and human services secretary; Kamala Harris for attorney general; Mayor Pete Buttigieg for homeland security secretary; Tom Steyer to head a new cabinet position: secretary of national infrastructure. (“We’re going to rebuild America.”)

If Friedman were president, he’d ask Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark to become secretary of housing and urban development. Friedman would ask Mitt Romney to be his commerce secretary. He’d ask Andrew Yang to be energy secretary.

Friedman would ask Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to serve as our United Nations ambassador. Friedman wants Sen. Michael Bennet, the former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools to be secretary of education; Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna as secretary of labor, balancing robots and workers, creating “new collar” jobs.

Finally, Friedman would appoint retired Navy Admiral William McRaven to be the defense secretary. It was McRaven who recalled the famous Irish member of Parliament Edmund Burke famously saying in the late 1700s, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!”

Friedman concluded his column with this: “If Bernie Sanders or Michael Bloomberg or whoever emerges to head the Democratic ticket brings together such a team of rivals, I am confident it will defeat Trump in a landslide.

“Back in May 2018, the former House Speaker John Boehner declared: “There is no Republican Party. There’s the Trump Party. The Republican Party is not taking a nap anymore …the Republican Party is dead.

“We have no responsible Republican Party,” Friedman added. “The GOP is a deformed Trump personality cult. If the country is going to be governed responsibly, that leadership can come only from Democrats and disaffected Republicans courageous enough to stand up to Trump. It is crucial, therefore, that moderate and progressive Democrats find a way to build a governing coalition together.

“Neither can defeat the other. Neither can win without the other. Neither can govern without the other. If they don’t join together …if the Democrats opt for a circular firing squad ... you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.”

Friends, Thomas Friedman’s column is exactly how I feel. Do you agree?

Sincerely, Charles Meredith