By Rabbi Corinne Copnick

Just finished reading the book co-authored by Bill Clinton, our past U.S. President, and James Patterson, author of countless, spell-binding espionage novels. It’s titled “The President Is Missing.” This spy-thriller is about a fictional American President (not Bill Clinton although the text sure bears plenty of resemblance to his way of thinking and dedication to the country he loves and still serves). This fictional President is called President Duncan, who, despite personal injury, goes missing from the public view for five days. (That’s why the President is missing.) Of course, he knows where he is, but he has to keep himself under the radar – like an honest-to-goodness covert agent — in order to counteract dire threats to the safety of America.

In “The President is Missing,” the U.S. is facing an imminent cyber attack in ways that we readers know are not just imaginary but will be catastrophic if enacted. In fact, if I have any criticism of the book, it is that the fictional account is too close for comfort to what could easily be reality. The cyber attacks, code-named “Dark Ages” and presaged with several concrete “warnings” when the nation is indeed plunged temporarily into darkness, have the potential to shut down everything essential to the running of the country, its communication, electrical grid, transportation, industry, and military –let alone the food supply chain and other necessities integral to one’s individual, family, and work life.

The five days become a suspenseful count-down to the destruction of the country, and, with risk to his own life – he shakes off his security detail – President Duncan uses all his know-how to prevent it from happening. (Sounds like the making of a good movie!)

So when you read “Our President is Missing,” keep remembering that what is happening is not real – not yet; it’s a story. I don’t want to tell you  – yes…this is a spoiler alert! – how President Duncan deals with the also fictional Russian Ambassador to the U.S. who (along with the Embassy’s entire staff) turns out to have been committing espionage along with his “official” duties for years. But it’s a lot different from the spineless debacle we so recently viewed in the televised Trump-Putin exchange in Helsinki.

What makes the book a really worthwhile read is the last chapter. It’s a speech delivered by President Duncan to Congress outlining the detailed direction in which he believes the country must go in order to maintain its best self, the democratic spirit and actuality that makes it America. I must confess I had tears in my eyes for the all too recent “good old days.”

It’s energizing to be reminded of our deeply-held values.

©️Corinne Copnick, Los Angeles, 2018. All rights reserved.