America, do you rightfully expect our 45th president to defend and protect our constitutional freedoms or do you blandly trust him to say and do what he feels like at any moment in time? Facts are subjective to scrutiny to verify that the stated information is indeed factual. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America” is a promise, sacred and cherished, to protect and defend each of us, all of us, whether this is your country of birth or country by choice. It is not allegiance to any one person regardless of their position of power. Our forefathers must have had the brilliant insight and instinct to foresee possible future consequences of any abuse of power and so none of the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) could have its power left “unchecked.” It is called “balance of power” and “checks and balances” for that very reason. It may only take one person to be deceitful and duplicitous, but it takes at least two to activate the deception — two entities, two governments, two countries — it still takes two. Collusion may be corrupt or criminal or both. In any case, democracy has its very foundation in truth. It has survived and thrived in America for over 240 years — that is provable; that is a fact. Thankfully, democracy is our very foundation.

So what really happened on 11/8/2016? Inquiring minds want to know. What really prompted the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Was it just another example of someone getting far too close for comfort to the truth? Truth requires transparency. Why not have an independent, nonpartisan special investigation into allegations that a foreign government was possibly involved and influenced the outcome of a presidential election in a democracy? Why are so many so terrified of the truth, and what it would reveal? Was the president’s firing of Director Comey just another way of his diversion of factual knowledge being secured when Director Comey was in search of the truth about what actually transpired between two countries with some obvious contradictions? It is not inconceivable, to me, that any individual of any country could alter the potential future of a healthy and active democracy. It felt like I was witnessing the presidential version of The Price Is Right. Director Comey is invited to “Come on down” and choose Door #1 (personal loyalty), Door #2 (see no evil/hear no evil) or Door #3 (conscience/integrity). Fortunately for America, Mr. Comey chose Door #3 because his allegiance is and was to “one nation under God.” Unfortunately, Door #3 was also the “exit door” to transparency and truth. Doesn’t anyone else see this as obstruction of justice in seeking some definitive answers to actually proving if any criminal activity was involved, and if so, who, exactly, were the criminals involved? Perhaps when an independent investigation is initiated and completed, Americans will better appreciate our democracy. In the meantime, there are some undisputed facts that all of us need to remember:

                Fact #1: America is not for sale. Not now. Not ever.

                Fact #2:  America is a democracy and as such our Constitution must be protected and preserved.

                Fact #3: Our 45th president (and all presidents to follow) is not the CEO of America. Our nation is not a business. He is our employee for our nation, as in We the People.

                Fact #4: No president is above or beyond the reach of the law, as in the “I” word, aka “You’re fired.”

                Fact #5: If you’re not outraged, you’re not listening.

Did this president, elected only six months ago, somehow miss his high school Civics/Government 101 class or in his ignorance or arrogance has he not even read the U.S. Constitution? (Fortunately, his predecessor taught constitutional law and upheld it in highest regard.) Or is it that he believes that the world, and the United States of America, revolve around him? Incorrect assumption. To assume is to make an ASS of U not me. This so reminds me of not too many years ago when *CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband were getting much too close to the truth about our country’s actual “reasoning” for invading Iraq. And then not so coincidentally her identity was accidentally “leaked” to a reporter, thus terminally compromising her safety and security while undermining the security of our own country. There are no coincidences. Power is a privilege but often it is used as a weapon of mass destruction. In a world of way too many warriors waging war without questioning, why are we not seeking transparency and truth? But if you actually believe the “assertion” that this inauguration in Washington, D.C., on 1/20/17 was attended by more people than the second inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, then Fact #5 is not applicable to you. Blindness, literally and figuratively, keeps you captive in the dark. However, I will trust a blind human being (without even a guide dog) over self-perpetuated blindness any day. Reality check, please. Seek answers. Find truth. Know justice.

Linda Principe lives in Thousand Oaks. *National Geographic, June 2017, “Why Do We Lie?”