Notes From an Extreme Centrist There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it may be a locomotive speeding toward us!
As of this writing (Friday, February 7, 2020) President Trump had a great week; the Democratic Iowa debacle, an effective re-election speech masquerading as the State of the Union Address, acquittal. But the spectacle of anger and division at the State of the Union by both parties, Pelosi and Trump and his bizarre “victory” news conference wasn’t great for America. In fact, it was awful.
Donald Trump could have been the historic president he pretends to be. The sad thing for the nation is that had he “pivoted” and became presidential with the office he could have united the nation and resolved some of our thorniest issues. He could have been like Nixon going to China on issues such as abortion, immigration, real tax and entitlement reform, deficit reduction… Instead, he chose to divide and demagogue us as president. As a result, today our nation and our 230-year experiment in representative democracy are in jeopardy.
The Democratic Party, despite the characterization we hear so often from Trumpists, didn’t call for impeachment to overturn an election either before or immediately after an election as much as millions and millions of Americans did. It wasn’t a conspiracy to undermine the election process. It was Americans exercising their constitutional right of free speech and assembly and some Democratic politicians following their lead. That’s what politicians do!
The real question to ask is, “Why?”
If you are objective, the underlying reason resides in Trump himself. He chose to launch his political career on the shoulders of the debunked racist birther conspiracy theory. He chose to run a campaign based on explicit appeals to xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia. He chose to be a demagogue at every opportunity, both as a candidate and as president. He chooses daily to base his presidency and now his re-election on dividing the nation, on appeals to fear and anger. He didn’t have to base his presidency on this same poison that got him elected. But he did and continues to do so. Either that’s who he is or he is simply choosing to continue what has (tragically for America) worked for him so far or both. In any event, when you run like a demagogue you reap what you sow. Trump himself is the problem.
In my lifetime, since Vietnam, America has been battling a deep cultural divide over our nation’s soul on more fronts than I can list here. Maybe Trump is both a symptom of and a catalyst for that divide. Maybe, one way or another, it’s time for it to come to an end. The last time we experienced anything as a nation so hate-filled was over slavery. I pray we can find a way out of this mess, build a national consensus for civility and compromise without any blood spilling in the streets. Had you asked me a week ago if significant politically motivated street violence was probable during the upcoming election season, I would have dismissed it as a highly improbable emotional over-reaction. Since the SOTUS spectacle and Trump’s “victory” news conference, however, and what I anticipate will be the ugliest election campaign of the modern era I’m not so sure. What I do know in my bones is that as long as DJT remains a political force, either as president or from the sidelines, it will never get any better. And I think most of you know that, too!