Larry Buford (File photo)

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – JFK

Triple A projects that an estimated 55 million people will be traveling during this 2023 Thanksgiving holiday season to see beloved family and friends. So, what a good time to talk about politics, right? Beware: talking politics at Thanksgiving is bound to shorten the Christmas gift exchange lists! However, if we lose our democracy, we may lose Christmas as we know it all together.

Sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated in broad daylight on a Dallas, Texas street. It shocked the nation and the world. The ensuing reports from eyewitnesses said they heard shots coming from another area besides the Book Building where Lee Harvey Oswald was later identified as the sole assassin. Despite all the witness testimony, the single-shot theory was the conclusion reached by the investigative committee lead by Earl Warren (the Warren Commission).

Because of all the conspiracy theories that had surfaced, America began losing its confidence in our most sacred governmental institutions and has been spiraling downward ever since. Despite his shortcomings that were later revealed in the press, JFK died a hero’s death for the inspiration and hope he instilled in a new generation. With his famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” he challenged every American to contribute in some way towards the general welfare of all.

So, fast-forward to 2023 where we find President Joe Biden and his administration leading the charge to combat the QAnon conspiracy theories and former president Trump’s misguided MAGA constituency who have now released a whitewashed video version of the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021 – calling it a peaceful tour.

Now we know presidents are not perfect, but while President Biden keeps getting things done for the American people, the former president continues to complain that the 2020 election was “stolen” and offers nothing more than vague and empty promises on governance, but much more on vengeance. Therefore, without any evidence of widespread fraud that would change the outcome of the election, he continues to brainwash his constituents with “The Big Lie.”

Instead of accepting defeat, Trump abandoned his oath to the Constitution by refusing the transfer of power and inciting a riot to overthrow the government. In addition, he lauds dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un – enemies of our republic – as great leaders. That being the case, how can he be trusted with our most confidential classified documents claiming, “If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”

Well, let us think about that for a minute: Trump’s lack of deference to classified documents as a matter of national security. The Mar a Lago investigation says it all: Trump is careless! His lackadaisical, flippant response to a subpoena on such a vital matter should automatically disqualify him from attaining a security clearance from the Department of Justice.

According to Yale Law School regarding government background checks: “There are three levels of security clearances which correspond to the sensitivity of the information to which the applicant will have access. The three levels, in ascending order of sensitivity are: Confidential (information that could cause damage to national security); Secret (information that could cause serious damage to national security), and Top Secret (information that could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security).

In addition, there are some Special Access Programs that are commonly associated with higher levels of security, which require access to information that is particularly vulnerable and demand even greater security clearance; Sensitive Compartmented Information is one common category of information requiring greater scrutiny before access can be approved. While most agencies use this three-level classification system, the Department of Energy, because it has employees with access to nuclear information, classifies security clearances differently as “L”, which is equivalent to Secret, and “Q”, which is equivalent to Top Secret.”

Again, I say, while we are all gathered together for Thanksgiving, what a good time to talk about democracy; how precious it is for freedom and liberty; and how important it is for each generation to fight for it. If for nothing else, look down the road five or ten years from now to see what kind of future our little ones will inherit if we don’t do the right things today. Thank God that we now have rights and privileges that may go away if we choose autocracy over democracy.

Larry Buford is a contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email: [email protected]