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What a month for disasters: three hurricanes, two earthquakes in Mexico and Donald Trump ranting in front of the United Nations.

The people of Texas and Florida can come together to begin recovery from the devastating effects of nature's storms, with help from the government. But Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands sit helpless in the Caribbean with insufficient power, water and food, medical help, or even essential clothing and shelter. We could invade another country in a war faster than we can get aid to our own people in Puerto Rico.

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Two unstable leaders with overblown egos, excessive rhetoric and thin skins are talking about nuclear war. The rest of us sit and watch the tube to see what happens next. Will we all be "fired!"?

And the news of the day is more about the tiff between people with hurt feelings over a difference in how you define what the American flag stands for. We've seen the tweets, screeds and panels of commentators, and scowls between factions at the local coffee shops.

Talking heads on the TV seem to have all the answers, but they ask the wrong questions.

I have a few questions.

If the flag is the symbol of the American Constitution and American values, what does that say about the system that gives us the checks and balances of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government in gridlock as we see it today?

Can a nation conceived on the notion that freedom to succeed also means freedom to fail survive in the modern era?

Can a great nation allow a considerable number of its citizens to live in failure and still be a great nation?

Is it disrespectful to the flag — the symbol of America — to question any actions by those inside the system that the Constitution established and the flag symbolizes?

Is constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech absolute?

Should absolutist minorities dominate political agendas even to the point of working against the wishes of the constituency?

Would the country be better off with just one political party, unopposed and singularly responsible for preserving the Constitution?

Do we really want a dictator or king?

If the British Empire wanted to preserve the status of the American states as colonies, does that mean King George and Parliament were conservatives?

Were the forefathers progressives? Liberals? Or libertarians? Whatever they were then, how is it that today libertarians want things to be the way they were, but liberals want things to change?

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If conservative libertarians want to change America, is that progressive?

Is it possible to believe in God without believing in the teachings of Islam? Of Judaism? Of Christianity?

How many Americans still believe that a Catholic cannot be president because of implied allegiance to the pope first, with America second?

Can you respect motherhood even if you have never, will never, can never be a mother?

Is it possible to love America and the culture of our ancestors who lived in another country before they were Americans?

Can a nation built on the assembly of diverse cultures withstand the weight of the freedoms its Constitution guarantees?

If Obamacare wasn't worth putting on the table in the first place, why can't Congress get together votes to repeal it?

If the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is fiscally unsustainable, why won't opponents spend as much time trying fix it and make it more viable instead of denying the public something people want and need?

Is it politically realistic for elected officials to acknowledge that working across party lines is preferable to gridlock, or is gridlock now a permanent cornerstone of American politics at every level?

What happened to the idea that we needed an "outsider" in the White House to bring Americans together?

What is the evidence that we are on the road to making America "Great Again?"

Are we better off as a country than we were before the 2016 election campaign began?

Are we any better off after the election than we were two years ago?



Dean Minnich writes from Westminster.

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