Joe Biden, not known for brevity, gave us and the world a bracing reality check. He did it in three little words. He said during the certification of the Electoral College vote, “It is over!”
Let’s begin right there. It is time for the Meryl Streeps of the world, various Democrats some of import and some not, and a whole lot of Hillary supporters to quiet down. For better or worse, and we won’t know which for a few years, Donald Trump is about to become the President of these United States. No ifs, ands, or buts. Given that reality, it is time to see the bigger picture, pulling for America, and pulling for Americans to get on board the ship of state.
Do we all have to become Trumpophants? Of course not. But we must not be party to pulling threads out of the nation’s sweater. Why? Because one of them, like the random straw that ultimately broke the camel’s back, might just unravel the fabric of society. Democracy has not been tested internally since the Great Depression. We’ve moved from a nation of expectations to one of entitlements, and I don’t mean Medicare and Social Security. More and more the balance between battling for one’s place in the American Dream and feeling like we ought to be able to pull material things right out of the dream and into our hands is shifting. The time has come, as John F. Kennedy implored, “To ask not what your country can do for you, but to ask what you can do for your country.” Stop pulling at the threads of the social fabric is one thing we can do. Stop harping on the personality of the president-elect is another.
What holes DJT digs for himself is his doing. What holes are dug for him are much more dangerous. If we weaken the office of the presidency then we weaken the nation. If we weaken the nation then the international jackals will come a-sniffing. That means more and deeper incursions into our body politic by Putin’s parasites and more attempts by ISIS to have lone wolves use the insanity of Ft. Lauderdale, terrorism or not, or Orlando, as a model and example. The best way to cure illness is not to get sick. We must keep democracy healthy.
Donald Trump will not change much, if at all. The tweets, the pugnacious bullying responses, the insecurities that drive him to a comfort zone filled with family and friends, they’re not going any where far. You may get sick of it all, but you can’t be a party to letting the nation become sick. For sure, if you’re a Democrat or Independent, are still feeling the burn of Bernie, or a non-Trumpian Republican make yourself heard. That’s what democracy is all about. Attack the policies of the president’s administration, but lay off the president himself. If he drives the state’s ship towards the shoals the many other people with roles in the captain’s pilot house will see to the wheel. We all must make it known that we expect the nation to be cared for, that we are watching them for that. When the stewardship fails then it is time to yell like hell about people as well a policy.
America has survived bad presidents. One or two were so bad, it was like they weren’t there. Count Warren G. Harding in there. He played poker more than doing much Presidential and Ulysses Grant whose drunken hazes blocked from his sight or mind corruption the Sicilian Mafia would have blanched at (or been proud of).
One or two were really dangerous. I’d put President Tippee Canoe and Tyler too in this slot. A racist par excellence he was, and drove America towards the Civil War. How about every body’s favorite kick ball Richard M. Nixon? Probably the most psychologically damaged of the whole historical bunch of Presidents.
One or two were inept. Herbert Hoover and the disgraceful and disgraced Andrew Johnson are good fits here. (All this courtesy by US News and World Reports research.) But the system is designed with shock absorbing cushions. Hitting the potholes, some so deep as to be jarring, are inevitable, but having the fenders fall off is not. In spite of all their ills and errors, these men didn’t kill the country. They passed on into history and better leaders took us to better places.
Will Trump be Moses or Pharoah? Only time will tell. The point is we all need to let him prove which himself and until then trust the system to grow with his good and survive with his bad.