Suppose you were sitting in a chair and I came into the room, walked up to you and snarled, “I’m tired and I want that chair and if you don’t give it to me bad things are gonna happen!”

On the other hand, suppose I walked into the same room, approached you and said, with a smile, “I’m really tired. Would you please let me have your chair?”

The first is Donald Trump, and the second is every other president we have ever had.

As we begin 2019, we must understand that Trump’s approach to world and domestic problems isn’t going to change. The man will continue to demand, insult and threaten. Unfortunately that is who he is. Because of this, any of his good ideas—and he has some—are often lost by the harsh manner in which they are presented.

We started the New Year under siege, with the government shut down, the stock market in turmoil and a Congress that can’t agree on anything.

We are a nation divided with everybody hating everybody. And that constitutes a dangerous situation for, as Abraham Lincoln once warned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Stepping into 2019, let’s examine some of our problems.

First, there is the government shutdown, which, in itself, is no big thing. It is not as if we have removed all law enforcement, stopped paying our bills and sending out Social Security checks or stopped issuing bullets to the military.

When the shutdown is over, those federal employees who are affected will get reimbursed for their time lost. That’s a certainty. In other words, the shutdown is like free vacation time. Affected employees didn’t even have to use annual leave to get two weeks off during the holidays.

The hang-up is Trump’s border wall, or the $5 billion he wants to fund it. “Build my wall or I won’t agree to reopen the government.” In legal terms, that’s called extortion and it is not right.

Yes, I understand that the government was shut down during the Obama administration over Obamacare. That wasn’t right, either. That was also extortion.

Anyone who thinks building a wall will solve the immigration problem is nuts. Illegals can tunnel under it and they can scale it. They can go around it in the Gulf of Mexico and up the Pacific Ocean to California. Water didn’t prevent thousands of Cubans from getting to Florida.

I’ll support the wall under one condition: that every person who demands it promises me—in writing—$100 for every person that gets into the country illegally after it is built. It‘s put up or shut up. If you think the wall is an end-all to immigration, you should have no problem agreeing.

Of course, we could build a wall with barbed wire and a demilitarized zone and have border guards shooting anyone who tries to scale it. North Korea has a great one and that strategy worked well in Berlin. If we follow that plan of action, we are turning into the communist thugs we condemned for decades.

As for immigration, I have no problem with legal immigration, but illegal immigration is breaking the law. Our neighbors to the south should respect our laws, but shooting them down en masse is not the answer.

As for the stock market, we are enjoying the best, most stable economy in 25 years. Everyone is working, wages are good and families are prosperous. Much of Wall Street’s uncertainty is coming from the White House.

When you don’t know who or what the next presidential tweet will attack, it is tough to have stability. Most people are not anxious over their jobs; they are anxious over what is coming out of Washington.

This country has so much going for it as we begin 2019, but we are in the process of tossing it all away. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t lean left and I don’t lean right. I play it straight down the middle, as any good American should.

We can continue down this road only so far before the wheels come off. We are not immune to civil war and we are not immune to a military takeover. And we are not immune to coming under the rule of a tyrant.

If we keep fighting among ourselves, one of those three scenarios could happen. If you don’t believe me, just study your world history. Destruction often comes from within.

And our future could well depend on the manner in which we ask for the chair.

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