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Month: June 2018

Artist of the month inspired by travels

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

The painting came to her in a dream.

A black, white and gray piece of a spiraled keyboard, ukelele, trumpet and floating musical notes.

The artist, Doris Jackson, titled her work Unfulfilled Dreams.

“I love music but I never had the opportunity to take lessons,” Jackson said. “My dad played by ear and he thought all us kids should have that gift. I woke up the next morning and I had this vivid image of what I had dreamed and so I drew it and painted it in the same day.”

Two and half years ago, Unfulfilled Dreams could have described her painting career, until, at age 68, Jackson decided to take a watercoloring class with the Keizer Art Association.

“I’ve loved it ever since,” Jackson said. “I’m obsessed.”

Jackson, KAA’s June Artist of the Month, has long been fascinated by watercolor, drawn to the paintings at museums or in people’s homes. But with a career with the Department of Education and two boys of her own as well as three stepsons, Jackson never had the time to pursue it herself.

At Oregon College of Education, now Western Oregon University, Jackson minored in art but never took painting.

She was invited to Angela Wrahtz’s watercolor class, which meets Thursday mornings at KAA, by Terry Witter at a dinner party.

Next thing she knew, Jackson had turned the craft room in her home into an art room, and was taking photos on her phone when she traveled for future paintings.

One of the works in her KAA exhibit came from a photo of a flock of ostriches she took while in New Zealand five years ago.

“I put them on there and they looked so plain I couldn’t stand it,” Jackson said. “I had to do something else. They’re going to be a chorus line so then I added the stage and the curtains.”

Jackson has also been inspired by trips to Portugal and Spain.

In December, Jackson is going on a cruise around Australia and next spring will explore France and Germany.

“I take my own photos of flowers or scenery,” Jackson said. “I have a quirky mind so you never know.”

Jackson loves animals. Another piece in her exhibit at KAA is of her daughter-in-law’s cat, Sasha. She’s also painted Misty, the former family dog, with her tongue sticking out from an old photo on a hot summer’s day.

Painting people is much more difficult.

When she took a life drawing class in college and the nude model posed wearing nothing but tennis shoes, Jackson drew the tennis shoes.

Jackson doesn’t set hours for herself but just paints when she has the time.

“I’m a pretty fast worker,” Jackson said. “Everybody has their own techniques, their own style. My style is totally different than someone else’s style. I tend to like detail but not as bad as some people. Other people are much more abstract in their work.”

Jackson’s work can be seen for the rest of June at the Keizer Art Association gallery, located at 980 Chemawa Rd. NE. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ebbs joins wrestling powerhouse

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Brayden Ebbs was just 5 years old when he fell in love.

It only took 8 seconds.

“I had been wrestling a lot. I had gotten better in the wrestling room. I just hadn’t competed at all,” said Ebbs, who started wrestling at the Celtic Mat Club camp when he was 4. “And I remember my very first match lasted 8 seconds total because the kid just tried to shoot in on me and I just put him straight to his back and pinned him. And that was my very first memory of wrestling and ever since then I just fell in love with the sport.”

Brayden Ebbs, with his dad, head wrestling coach at McNary High School, holds up his national letter of intent to wrestle at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley

Not long after, Ebbs knew he wanted to wrestle in college.

“That was always one of my big dreams because I love the sport of wrestling and I love the community and the friendships you make within it,” Ebbs said. “Ever since I was little I always told my dad that I wanted to wrestle in college and he definitely helped me get there.”

Ebbs signed with Grand View University, winner of seven straight NAIA National Championships, on Wednesday, June 6.

“Grand View is an amazing school,” Ebbs said. “I went down on my visit and I absolutely loved it, great community, great school and their wrestling program is phenomenal. It’s a great group of guys that I got to know and they’re all super close, which is a big thing that I look at. I don’t want to be part of a team where everybody is kind of doing their own thing. At Grand View they’re all great friends and like brothers to each other.”

Ebbs got in touch with Grand View, located in Des Moines, Iowa, through another former McNary wrestler—Devin Reynolds.

Reynolds, who placed third at 149 pounds at the national championships, will be a senior at Grand View next year.

“With him going there it definitely helped out a lot because the thing with Grand View is they don’t normally recruit outside of Iowa,” Ebbs said.  “They tend to stick with Iowa because that’s where a lot of tough wrestlers go and are from and with Devin going to Grand View it gave me an opportunity there.”

Ebbs thought about playing football in college, too, and had an offer to participate in both sports at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.

“At the end of football season this year I was kind of thinking about it because I’ve played football since I was just a little kid, too, and I’ve always loved the sport of football,” Ebbs said. “But when wrestling season hit I think that’s when I decided I just wanted to be a wrestler. It was just kind of the leftover feeling from football being over and how I wasn’t ever going to play again so I think that was just me wanting to keep playing football. But I think after I got out of that little vision my mind cleared and I decided I just wanted to be a wrestler.”

Ebbs has been around wrestling his entire life. He was only 3 when his dad, Jason, took over the McNary program in 2003 after being an assistant coach at Crook County.

“Even at Crook County, I’d be on my dad’s shoulders as he was coaching on the side of the mat,” Ebbs said. “At McNary I grew into the wrestling community. I got to know a lot of the high school wrestlers and they all took good care of me. I just made good relationships with the wrestlers which helped me grow through wrestling and helped me become the wrestler that I wanted to be.”

When Brayden was 8, Jason saw how much his son loved the sport. Tired from high school practice, Jason told Brayden they could take the night off from mat club. Brayden responded, “If I don’t go to practice, they’re going to learn something I don’t know.”

At age 10, Ebbs joined the All-Phase Wrestling Club in West Linn, and finished third in Greco-Roman and freestyle at his first national tournament.

In high school, Ebbs won two district championships at 138 and 160 pounds. After placing sixth in the state as a freshman, he placed fourth as a sophomore and then third his senior year. Ebbs said his favorite match was his first at the state tournament when as a freshman he upset No. 1 seed Bennett Mesa, a sophomore at Roseburg, who had won the 106-pound title the year before.

“I think that’s my best match because I’d spent that whole season waiting to wrestle him and I wanted to wrestle him,” Ebbs said. “There were two times that I didn’t get to wrestle him when we wrestled against Roseburg and I finally got to wrestle him at the state tournament and I did exactly what I needed to do.”

All along the way his dad has been there.

“It helped me out a lot having my dad in my corner because I never didn’t have faith in my corner because my dad was there,” Ebbs said. “I always went out on the mat confident because we always had a game plan for anybody that we needed to. He prepared me well for my matches and just life in general.

“It’s going to be different going to Grand View and not having my dad in my corner but I think I’m going to be just fine and I think he’s (dad) going to be just fine knowing that coach (Nick) Mitchell over at Grand View is an amazing coach and they have an amazing coaching staff. It’s going to be a change but I think it’s something that’s going to help me out in the long run.”

16,000 miles and counting

By CASEY CHAFFIN
Keizertimes Intern

Keizer resident Brent Bundy, 50, began his sixth cross-country bike ride for breast cancer awareness on June 1. He plans to take the “straightest and legalest” path through the country and arrive in Staten Island, New York in mid-October.

Bundy’s bike rides began in 2006, two years after his best friend since high school, Gina, died of breast cancer. To commemorate her, he rides dressed in pink and with a sign strapped to the back of his bike to encourage women to get screened early. Catching the cancer early is the best way to survive it, so he felt embarking on his one-man campaign to promote regular screenings would be the best way to prevent people as loved as his friend Gina from succumbing to the illness.

“Maybe [seeing my bike] will remind you to get tested,” he said.

In addition to the breast cancer awareness message, Bundy has written several other names and causes on his bike. These include Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla., the cities of two school shootings in 2012 and 2018, respectively, the name of war correspondent James Foley, who was killed in Syria in 2014, and the hashtag “So I Stayed,” referencing the plights of women caught in abusive relationships. He describes these names and causes as “the closest to my heart.” Raising awareness about breast cancer remains his primary goal, and Gina his primary motivation to continue.

“I pretend she’s helping me on the big hills,” Bundy said. He also attached her name to his helmet, and he taps it for encouragement.

Other obstacles arise on the road, however. Bundy described several accidents throughout his biking trips, the worst of which he remembers in Omaha, Neb., last year. He fell and hit his hip, but, he said, pushing harder and continuing the trip helped heal the injury.

Bundy learned about his own endurance during his bike rides. “I learned you can actually push yourself harder than you expect and recover,” he said.

Other incidents aren’t accidents, however. Throughout his trips, Bundy said he’s “run across all kinds of people,” including those driving cars who have hit him and spit on him as they drive past. Bundy said these encounters upset him, but ultimately any kind of response from him could worsen the situation in the moment.

“It’s really hard not to react, but you have to remember you’re on a bike and they’re in a car,” he said.

Bundy describes the bike ride as difficult and strenuous but biking across the country isn’t the most difficult thing he’s ever done. In 1997, a car crash broke his neck and he suffered seven strokes. During his time in the hospital, his mother told him to “make life worth living.” Riding his bike for breast cancer awareness is one way he sees himself fulfilling that advice. He describes his health as back to 90 percent of where it was prior to the crash and says that injury hasn’t impacted his ability to complete the rides.

Making a positive impact on others is a key motivator for Bundy. Throughout his route across the country, he stops to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity ReStores, which provide low-cost home goods and building materials to the communities they serve. He estimates he’s made over 100 volunteering stops over the course of his ride. Despite some of his negative encounters while on the road, he said there are “mostly friendly people throughout the country.”

At 50 years old, Bundy thinks he’s getting too old to keep up the pace of the bike rides and, despite saying every year will be his last ride, he thinks this year’s sixth ride will be his last cross-country trip.

Marion County looks at public health with new lens

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Disclosure: The author of this article was one of the participants in the workgroup at the center of the story.

When thinking about substance abuse in Marion County, what is the first substance that comes to mind? Heroin, opiates, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, methamphetamine… the choices feel endless.

For a group of about 50 local community leaders asked to participate in a workgroup at the Keizer Civic Center Thursday, May 31, the answer was either alcohol or opioids. However, the responses were based only on perceptions.

Answering that question with certainty, and then developing an approach to solving it, is the task ahead for the Marion County Public Health Division (MCPHD) of the Marion County Health & Human Services. And the work is just getting underway.

With funding either flat or shrinking to tackle public health problems, program administrators, led by Program Manager Kerryann Bouska, are rethinking how to address substance abuse issues with wide-ranging effects on society.

In the past, public health officials were reliant on donors with specific agendas and tasked with developing programs that catered to the needs of specific populations or mitigated risks. Despite good intentions, new information and shifting goalposts often left the same programs in the lurch when the money dried up or a new donor was secured with a different set of priorities.

Agencies like MCPHD are combatting those forces with new emphases, different tactics, and a bigger goal.

In contrast to past efforts, which focused on getting a program in place to care for specific subgroups, evaluating its effectiveness and then looking at how the approaches to such problems might be altered for greater benefits. MCPHD is using a Strategic Prevention Framework that puts the emphasis on assessing needs, system capacities and planning before execution.

This is why such a large group was put together to begin investigating substance abuse problems in Marion County. With representatives from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, health professionals, media, law enforcement and numerous other agencies, MCPHD tapped into a large array of perceptions within the local community. Even though opioids and alcohol rose to the top as the leading problems, participants were also asked where they would look for data to back up their assertions. Suggestions ran the gamut from student wellness surveys to police reports and hospital intake data.

Once the actual leading problem is identified, the next step will be to look at what environmental influences might contribute to the problem. That step will take into consideration retail availability, social availability, community and cultural norms, promotional aspects, law enforcement, prices and factors affecting individual factors.

The goal of the second phase is to identify environmental factors that could be addressed through public policy. For example, one of the most effective public health initiatives in U.S. history was raising the age of alcohol consumption from 18 to 21. Doing so lead to lesser rates of alcoholism and fewer alcohol-related deaths among youth.

Such steps fall under the umbrella of harm reduction. Rather than seeking to prohibit or put in place outright bans, public policy was enacted to reduce harm to some of the most vulnerable segments of the population. In an example closer to home, the community in Hood River, Ore., recently set out to combat the public perception of the city as a party town – an image bolstered by data revealing it had the highest per capita sales and consumption of alcohol in the state.

Rather than looking to close down bars, breweries, cideries and other outlets, public officials engaged owners who increased training for bartenders, servers, security and event coordinators; asked for commitments from local law enforcement agencies to enforce liquor laws; and reworked event licenses based on the behavior of the licensee and community expectations. As a result, public perception is changing.

The end goal of all this investigation and planning is to arrive at policy solutions with the potential to change an entire population – by raising the standards of the community – rather than risk and prevention needs of individuals.

It is a different lens to look through than what’s come before, but the results have the potential to be more surprising and, potentially, beneficial.

Volcanoes open season Friday

By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes

Salem-Keizer Volcanoes officials and players met Saturday, June 9 in Salem in preparation for the 2018 season, which starts Friday, June 15.

Saturday’s gathering at the Comfort Suites on Hawthorne Street was for paperwork, introduction of a new manager and coach and other club officials, and a discussion of policies by Jerry Howard, senior marketing executive.

The new manager is Hector Borg, a former Volcanoes infield instructor who last year led the Arizona League Giants to the AZL Championship Series. The new pitching coach is Dwight Bernard, who held that position for the AAA Sacramento River Cats from 2014 through 2017. Jake Fox, who was a utility player with four years in the major leagues, with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, and Oakland Athletics, is the new hitting coach. The fundamentals coach, Mark Hallberg, coached in the Cape Cod League for four years.

Also new is the training staff. Charlene Wichman, the athletic trainer, was the trainer for the AZL Giants last year. Joe Palazzolo, the strength and conditioning coach, is new to the San Francisco Giants organization.

Jolbert Cabrera, who managed the Volcanoes last year, is now managing the class A Augusta Green Jackets. Matt Yourkin, who was pitching coach, now has that position with the advanced A San Jose Giants. Ricky Ward, last year’s hitting coach, is no longer in the Giants organization.

Among the Volcanoes staffers at the meeting was Judy Fromherz, host family coordinator, who said a few more host homes were needed for this year’s Volcanoes.

Eleven of last year’s Volcanoes are returning. They are pitchers Stetson Woods, Greg Jacknewitz, Alejandro de la Rosa, and Sidney Duprey; catchers Chris Corbett and Will Albertson, catcher-infielder Dylan Manwaring; infielders Robinson Medrano and Kevin Rivera; outfielders Mikey Edie and Chris Burks; and outfielder-first baseman Dalton Combs.

The new Volcanoes are pitchers Gregory Santos, Norwith Gudino, Jesus Tona, and Zach Becherer; catchers Ricardo Genoves and Will Albertson; infielders Nico Giarratano, Trevor Abrams, Wander Franco, and Kyle McPherson; and outfielders Jose Layer and Diego Rincones.

Santos, Woods, Gudino, and Jacknewitz are the starting pitchers, with Jacknewitz the only lefthander. Of the other pitchers, Duprey is the only lefthanded reliever.

Salem-Keizer hosts Tri-City in its first weekend series. Fireworks will conclude Friday’s game and legendary pitcher Jamie Moyer will sign autographs Saturday.

Both games begin at 6:35 p.m. Sunday is Father’s Day with first pitch at 5:05 p.m. The Volcanoes series with Tri-City will continue into Monday and Tuesday with 6:35 starts.

The Class of 2018

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

SALEM—McNary math teacher Louis Tiller’s dad died when he was 9 years old, leaving his mom to raise six kids.

One of Tiller’s own sons had craniofacial surgery when he was 8 months old. Another was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Tiller failed his first Calculus class in college and when he interviewed for a math position at McNary, the first time, Tiller didn’t get the job.

“Sometimes life knocks you down,” Tiller told the McNary graduating class of 2018 on Friday, June 8 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Pavilion. “It’s your choice whether to get back up. The teachers who you will remember and the classes that you will recall from high school will not be the easy ones. In school as in life the best things come with the satisfaction of overcoming something truly difficult.”

Tiller said he expects the Class of 2018 to overcome disappointment and to continue when things are difficult.

“I expect you to get up when life knocks you down,” Tiller said. “I expect you to do something great. I expect these things because the Class of 2018 has shown me that that is who they are. You inspire me to be a better teacher, a kinder person and a better man. You, the Class of 2018, represent the best in Keizer, the best of our society. You inspire me with your talents but also your kindness towards others, your persistence and your resilience.”

Samuel Hernandez Jr., McNary’s student speaker, left the graduating class with a lesson he learned running cross country.

“You must treat every day as a new race if you want to get anywhere in this life because at the end of the day aren’t we all in the same race,” Hernandez said. “What is your race? How much effort, attitude and focus are you going to dedicate to accomplishing your dreams?”

A serene morning shattered

By TIM KELSH

On Saturday, June 2, the serenity of a beautiful morning overlooking the Willamette River in Keizer was ruined by semi-automatic gunfire from across the river in Polk County. Approximately 500 rounds were fired that morning, mostly by semi-automatic weapons; my neighbor’s home was hit by a stray bullet. The bullet traveled through the exterior and interior wall of their home narrowly missing my neighbor’s wife as she stood in her kitchen.

This reckless incident occurred less than a year after a similar incident at Sunset Park in Keizer, again the result of semi-automatic gunfire from across the river in Polk County from the same property. I am sick of the near constant shooting from this property, as are every single neighbor that I have talked to. I hate living in fear when the shooting starts. Now we know without a shadow of a doubt that we are not even safe in our own homes. This is no way to go through life, fearful, wondering if this is the day something terrible will happen.

My wife and I just celebrated our 30th year of living in our home in Keizer on the Willamette River. We have seen more than our share of tragedy while living here. There was the incident in the early 1990s while waterskiing on the river we were buzzed by a float plane. The pilot flew very low over us, with the sun in his eyes, we feared he did not see us and would collide with our boat as he landed. We filed a complaint with the FAA in Seattle but sadly they blew-off our complaint. That pilot continued his reckless behavior and it was soon after he struck and killed two people in a canoe near Wheatland Ferry, leaving two young children without parents. Then there was the horrible collision between two Jet Ski’s playing “chicken” that left a young mother dead in my boat, in front of my young children. That tragic accident also left two young children without a mother.

Reckless behavior will probably always be with us, but reckless behavior with guns capable of firing bullets 1-2 miles is completely unacceptable near residential homes and parks in Keizer. How pathetic is it that the reckless discharge of semi-automatic weapons is occurring on property owned by a Salem firefighter whose professional mission is public safety? It is almost unbelievable, except that it has been happening for years in spite of many, many complaints. Hundreds of rounds—perhaps thousands of rounds—fired several days per week, almost year round, suggest that this property owner is not very interested in the safety and well-being of the citizens of Keizer. This has to stop now.

Since the development of Keizer Rapids Park the Willamette River has become a busy place. Summer days can see hundreds of rafters, kayakers and power boaters. These people deserve an environment free of reckless gunfire in which to recreate.

I am a gun owner and lifelong hunter, and I firmly believe in the responsible and legal use of firearms. but I don’t believe in fools using guns recklessly in an urban area.

I am calling for a ban on the discharge of handguns and rifles on this property. It’s only a matter of time until a tragedy occurs. As I described earlier I have seen enough tragedy from actions that could have been prevented. Please contact Keizer city councilors, and especially commissioners from both Marion and Polk Counties.

We have to do something now.

(Tim Kelsh lives in Keizer.)

City officials need to protect

To the Editor:

Bullets continue to fly across the Willamette River, this time on June 2 into a home on the river and barely missing  the resident.

This, after an incident last Sept. 10 when a hail of bullets sent park-goers running for their lives from Sunset Park and just recently I learned of another occurrence about two years ago in the same neighborhood.

After the Sunset Park incident the West Keizer Neighborhood Association (WKNA) took our concerns to the city. The WKNA Board and numerous neighbors appeared before the mayor, city council and city staff several times, asking that something be done.

Letters were written to the mayor,  councilors and staff including the Keizer Police Department and the Marion and Polk County Commissioners  alerting them to this public safety issue.

We learned that the bullets were coming from a shooting range in a rock quarry across the river. A sign was posted at the quarry alerting shooters that there were residential homes across the river.

Obviously this is not enough!

I am asking our city officials including the police department to do something….Isn’t that your job? To protect your citizens?

This is a serious public safety issue—three incidents in four years!

Do not shrug your shoulders and claim it is out of your jurisdiction. We deserve better.

Carol Doerfler
Keizer

(The writer is president of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association.)

Keep cats indoors

To the Editor:

I read the June 8 letter to the editor (#Justice for Shadow) written by Lori Beyeler.  She let her cat outside and a neighbor trapped it and released it miles away.

It is wonderful that she did find her cat.  I feel the person who trapped the cat should be charged with malicious mischief and theft.  I adore cats and feel they deserve care, affection, and safety.

A large part of providing safety for one’s cat is to keep it indoors.  Cats do not need to be outside. People let their pet cats outside because they don’t want to be bothered with a litter box and because they have the misinformation that cats can’t be happy unless they are outside.

A cat cannot be safe outside.  There are numerous dangers to them.  Also, outdoor cats killed approximately 2.5 billion birds each year in the continental United States.  We can’t afford to keep losing birds.

Please keep pet cats indoors.

Aileen Kaye
Salem

Trump is operating on a different map

By MICHAEL GERSON

BERLIN—It is strange being in a foreign country and watching American post-World War II leadership—as practiced by presidents such as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan—collapse into a heap of chaos, ignorance and self-indulgence.

Donald Trump’s performance at the G-7 in Quebec—his personal attacks on other leaders, his tariff threats against close allies, his rejection of the joint communique via Twitter—will strike most Americans as just another day at the office for the great disrupter. For Europeans, it was a demonstration that the seedy, derelict carnival of Trumpism is not just a show put on for Trump’s political base. Or more accurately: Everything Trump does is a seedy, derelict carnival put on for his political base.

What did the alternative communique consisting of Trump’s words and actions convey? That the American president has a level of open animosity toward Canada, France and Germany that is unlike anything we’ve seen in the modern era. That the American foreign-policy process doesn’t work and should be treated as a joke. That the traditional leader of the West no longer understands or accepts the concept of “the West.”

To be an American in Germany these days is to be besieged by earnest, anxious questions about the intentions of America’s president. Germany is a country—because of a unique and horrible history—that provides leadership by standing for a rules-based global order. Since power proved so dangerous, it must be replaced by process. This worldview is especially threatened by Trump’s comfort with chaos and rule by impulse.

During the first year of the Trump administration, it was possible to assure concerned foreigners that the president was being constrained by responsible advisers. He did not dissolve NATO, or abandon NAFTA, or bug out of Afghanistan. But now we are seeing Trump unbound: a president increasingly confident in his own damaged instincts, untethered from reality and surrounded by advisers chosen to amplify his insanity.

So, if encouragement is no longer possible, what about a little schadenfreude? I lived through a period in the 2000s in which Europeans (and Canadians) often complained about American exceptionalism. It was dismissed as arrogant, messianic and annoying. And, no doubt, Americans can be a bit much to take.

But is post-exceptionalism America really more desirable? The Trump administration has moved toward a more Putin-like foreign policy: oriented toward narrow economic and security interests, dismissive of human rights and humanitarian concerns and tilted toward the cultivation of favorable despots. And this shift has been matched by a changing national self-conception. With a president systematically attempting to undermine sources of authority that check his power, our nation is becoming normal in other disturbing ways. We had thought that democratic digression only happens in other places.

One effect of this shift away from idealism and universalism is the loss of certain universal ideals that helped bind the Atlantic alliance. The Atlantic Charter, authored by FDR and Winston Churchill, was not just a statement of national war aims but of international commitments—to economic collaboration, self-government and a “wider and permanent system of general security.” These vows are what turned resistance to Soviet aggression from a necessity into a cause. With these commitments, western countries were a squabbling family. Without them, they are just squabbling neighbors, throwing garbage across the fence.

This is perhaps the largest foreign policy crisis of our time: an American president who has lost the ability to distinguish friends from enemies. Our traditional friends are attacked as freeloaders and cheats. Our real enemies are praised and cultivated — in the case of Russia, allowed to undermine American elections with minimal consequence and sponsored by Trump for readmission to the G-7. Trump’s moral blindness has led to strategic turmoil.

America has had weak leaders before. But since World War II, every president has mentally located his country in the free world, bound by democratic values, trade and common purpose. Trump is operating on a different map. He is actively hostile to the internationalism that defined the western alliance. And he is joined by rising ethno-nationalist forces within Europe itself.

We don’t know how this chaos will eventually coalesce. But one thing is certain: The alternative to the free world will be less free.

(Washington Post Writers Group)