If you are anything like me then you did not sit up until 1 AM watching the broadcast of inaugural events. Okay for some, I suppose, but speaking for myself I might liken it to watching paint dry. I managed to catch the inauguration and the inaugural address live and was able to spend the rest of the day digesting it. I did not pay much attention to the talking heads on the networks, though I did entirely by accident catch a few snippets here and there. They seem to largely be the same voices that have since election night (and before) promised dark days ahead for our country. Doom and fear of the looming apocalypse. I retired last evening with some mild trepidation that we might all awake to some plague of biblical proportions. Or worse.
Today, which I guess we must say is officially day one for the Trump administration, I arose before dawn. Of course I always do that, but today it was with a sense of much greater anticipation. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sun did rise, in the east as it is supposed to. I checked and found that my family was still alive. There were no frogs or locusts populating my lawn. Still not convinced I then looked up various news feeds. There were no catastrophes, natural or man made, making the headlines. California is, at least geologically, still connected to the contiguous lower 48. Rivers have not run dry, the oceans have not flooded our coasts and NORAD reports that their screens are free of any impending threats against our country from the Russians, Chinese or NorKo’s. Its not a perfect world, but all in all a pretty benign start to what had been promised as a horrendous and dark day in American history. Of course as I write this the day is far from over. Still plenty of time for everything to fall apart. I’ll wait and see, but I am leaning more towards the glass being half full today.
My interests extend well beyond the topic of current political events, though I fear that I must sometimes leave the impression that this is not the case. It is a subject that concerns me greatly and so I often return to it. I can only offer my opinions based on what I observe and my knowledge of historical context. Much of my observation is of opinions which are frequently presented as fact and a startling level of misinformation being propagated through the traditional media outlets. That in and of itself is enough of a concern, but what I find more alarming are the number of people, young and old alike, who mindlessly parrot whatever they may have heard through these outlets, having accepted it as gospel truth without applying any critical thinking of their own. This more than anything is what continues to drive me back to such subject matter. It is not my purpose to change any minds. It is only my sincere hope that I may cause those who hear what I have to say will take the first steps toward doing some critical thinking of their own.
There are those who are predisposed to a certain ideology that will reflexively assume a defensive posture, assured by their world view that I must be an apologist for Trump. I understand it. It is part of their conditioning. Those who wont part with this probably have not even read this far, so I shall not trouble myself to refute their position. For those who have a mind open enough to have come this far down the page I will continue to explain. My observations, my interpretations of these and thus the opinions that I may form and posit here are not a defense of nor a promotion of Trump or republican politics. Rather, it is more a condemnation of the opposition. That opposition, whether characterized as democrat or progressive, liberal, socialist are what I will refer to as the left. It is a term that most will recognize and understand it’s connotation in a political sense. I am unable to be an apologist for Trump because thus far he is an unproven quantity. He has said a lot of things, some that I may agree with and some maybe not so much. For me anyway it is far more important to see what he does.
Based on nothing more than what we have heard from him we may speculate as to what those actions may be, but as none of these have been yet realized it is only that: speculation. On the other hand there is a history of what the left has done. Prior behavior being the best indicator of future behavior it is not difficult to form a well informed conclusion of what they are likely to continue doing. If you like what they have been doing then you must either be a part of government, and thus benefit from their policies, or perhaps a direct beneficiary of a government entitlement. In either case you are not likely to be swayed, though stranger things have happened. The success of the Trump candidacy is attributable to one factor more than any other. That is the fact that for the better part of the past two decades the republicans, who are supposed to compose an opposition, a check against unrestrained liberal policy, have operated in collusion with democrats in the ever expanding scope and expense of the federal government. Irrespective of politics nearly all Americans have suffered as a result. Not just those living and working today.
What our young people seriously need to start getting a handle on is that the tab is being passed down to them. And their children. For the duration of their lives. Consider the coming citizenry of the nation as children being reared to adulthood within a family. There are those who are simply given everything and then there are those who have been taught how to fend for themselves. Which of these are better prepared for life in the harsh realities of the world? Not the idealized world that has been promised by the left. The real world, as it is. Its a rhetorical question. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows the correct answer.
The American left has been promising this utopian vision for more than 50 years. We are 20 trillion plus in debt and have been overspending our annual budget by a trillion dollars a year. In spite of this massive “investment” to hear them tell it we still have so much more to do. Their script never changes other than to add more “free stuff” to their list. No matter how great all of this may sound there is a reality here that can not be denied. Its not a question of politics or party affiliation. It is simple math. Language can be tricky. Words can mean different things to different people at different times. Numbers are an absolute. The math is not subject to “consensus” or “interpretation”. It is what it is: unsustainable. Sustainability is part of the eco-left’s mantra, so clearly there is an appreciation of the concept on their part. Curiously they seem unable to translate it to fiscal policy.
It remains to be seen whether or not Trump can accomplish everything he has said. It’s an ambitious agenda. It may be that we are witness to business strategy as politics. Come to the table asking for a hundred when your actual goal is fifty. Negotiating down to seventy-five makes you look reasonable and yet you still come away with more than you wanted. If this is the case then we should consider that if Trump accomplishes half of his stated goals then he has succeeded. I suspect that most Americans would share in that success in one way or another. We’ll see. If more Americans are ahead of where they are today in four years time then the question will have been answered.
Trump’s inaugural address encompassed much of the same populist theme of his campaign. It was also full of the same stinging indictment of the establishment and their status quo. Unless one has a vested interest in that status quo I can’t imagine how there could be any disagreement with what he said. And how or why would any American find fault with a stronger, wealthier and safer country? Are these not conditions which provide universal benefit? If you can disagree with any of that you’re going to need to explain to me why. Maybe I’m missing something?
I’ve had a full twenty-four hours to digest the President’s address. There is one line from it which I believe is the clearest means of explaining how we make the country great again.
“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.”
It will be refreshing to live in a country led by a vision of setting an example than one in which the leadership seeks to make an example of it’s people.