Today is Inauguration Day. Originally I had intended to publish a longer political writing piece today, but as I was exploring the various avenues I kept hitting dead ends. What I came to realize is that this time I don’t have any sort of long-form writing on a single subject to share on this day. Instead, I just have a collection of thoughts that have been on my mind.
As of the time that I’m writing this, which would be the early evening on Inauguration Day, I’m reading a number of news reports about protests in Washington DC and other cities. Some of these have been peaceful, while others have turned violent with property being destroyed or vandalized, dozens of protestors arrested, and a number of protestors and police officers injured. I would never criticize people for protesting—the right to do so is a major part of a free society—but I would caution the anti-Trump protestors to remember the lessons of 1968. If the anti-Trump movement become associated with violence, then all these people are doing is helping Trump get reelected.
Now that Donald Trump has become president, he and his team will need to move at a lightning pace to get done whatever they intend to accomplish. With the way American politics works these days, people are already looking to the 2018 midterm elections, so even though Trump technically has 2 years of guaranteed Republican majorities in both houses of Congress he actually has less time than that to push his agenda.
The #NotMyPresident nonsense is once again rearing its ugly head, just like it did during the Barak Obama and George W Bush presidencies. I know what people mean when they say this, but it’s simply wrong. Unless you renounce your citizenship, Donald Trump is now your president.
I’m not impressed with the so-called Resistance that supposedly began today. If the Resistance is just people wailing online and damaging property then Trump has nothing to fear from it. A vigorous but respectful intellectual offensive will be needed to counter Trump, not a tempest of emotions on social media or rioting in the streets. Personal attacks and trying to brawl with him down in the mud clearly don’t work, seeing as how Trump won the presidency, so target his actual policies and actions instead.
Related to that last point, social media in general is going to be much more toxic than usual for the next four years. Others have said, and I’m inclined to agree, that it would be wise for people these days to limit their social media exposure, as the sheer amount of vitriol that’s going to be spewing from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms is not a healthy thing to regularly consume.
For those who are calling for Trump’s impeachment, my only question is this: you do realize that will make Mike Pence the president, right? Maybe I’m wrong, but I could swear that the people who hate Trump also hate Pence, so maybe they’re banking on the ability to impeach two presidents in rapid succession. If they do that, however, then Paul Ryan becomes president, and that actually might be the worst-case scenario for the Democrats, as I think Paul Ryan could be a strong opponent in a presidential election.
As this day has progressed I’ve been thinking back to Election Day, and the more I think about it the more I’m glad I did what I did in voting third party. Had I voted for either Clinton or Trump I would have arrived at this day feeling guilty for capitulating to the pressures of one side or the other, but instead voted my conscience and can walk out of this whole election with clean hands.
A lot of people are feeling despondent today, but for them I actually do have at least one thing to bring to your mind as a bit of solace. For all the problems of America, one of the things that we can legitimately claim as being great about our country is the uninterrupted line of peaceful transitions of power since our nation’s founding. Yes, even 1860 was peaceful, seeing as how no one stopped Lincoln from becoming president. For so much of human history, and even to this day in many parts of the world, the transition of power has frequently been accompanied by great acts of violence. The fact that Trump became president through free and fair elections and that Obama willingly stepped down is a testament to America and its system of government, flawed as it may be. We should all be thankful that Trump didn’t become president via a coup, and if his presidency really does turn out to be a disaster we have the option to vote him out in four years.
I’m thinking this will be my last political writing piece for some time. Maybe in a few months I’ll come back to politics, but for now I want to wait and see how things play out. As much as I dislike Trump, I’m willing to give him a chance to prove everyone wrong, so in the spirit of fairness I’ll postpone publishing any judgments on the Trump administration until after it’s had some time to actually do something.
Oh, and if you’re feeling really down and need some laughs, (and aren’t a Trump supporter) I would suggest going to Youtube and looking up Conan O’Brien’s series of sketches where he plays (fake) phone recordings between Trump and Obama. They’re beyond hilarious.