Each morning millions of Americans awaken with the same question: “How can I serve others today?” This is not a “transactional” question: “How can I make me better today?” It is a “transformational” question: “How can I make others better today?”

President Kennedy reminded us that “we are the heirs” of the American Revolution freeing America from foreign influence, a “transformational” cornerstone of our republic over the ensuing almost 250 years. President Washington specifically rejected kingly, “transactional” powers when he assumed office.

President Kennedy’s words soared: “Let the word go forth” that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans … unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed.” America “shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

In plain view, Mr. Trump has renounced American principles, rooted in our Constitution, by his repetitive public support of dictators, notably Mr. Putin in Helsinki, by vouching for him, and in Syria by abandoning our Kurdish friends and our military outposts to Mr. Putin, and in the Ukraine, by withholding Congressionally approved support to an allied democracy under attack by Mr. Putin.

By endless pronouncements of “executive power,” Mr. Trump has repeatedly elevated himself over others, now using the tax dollars of all America further to extinguish the torch of liberty: Bribing a foreign power, in favor of his purely personal election interests, in exchange for release of Congressionally approved military aid to resist Mr. Putin.

President Kennedy warned Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you,” but instead to “ask what you can do for your country.”

Reject the Trump “me.” Embrace the American “we.”

John Erickson

Brainerd