They are annoyed that I jumped out of the box to criticize President Trump only one day after his inauguration. They have pointed out that I am usually more open-minded, and that I did, in fact, say that I would wait and watch before making judgments.
And I didn’t. Nope. When huge crowds gathered around the world to stand up for women’s rights because they felt diminished and threatened by the sexist, objectifying comments of an admitted “celebrity” predator, who became President of the United States of America, I felt the obligation to join the discordant chorus.
Within a day President Trump had begun sweeping his broom across long treasured American ideals with policy that will see the EPA frozen and the regulations that preserved our land and protected our air removed. With policy to defund the NEA and NEH and the artistic culture that defined our creativity and once led the world will be left behind. With policy to end women’s preeminent health provider and to marginalize health care and public education by placing them among market forces and away from the nobility of compassion and wisdom.
By Monday, the President had reiterated his plan for the escalation of the Military Industrial Complex forewarned by President Eisenhower to be what “we must guard against” as “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power.” And with the re-introduction of torture in our war chest that will slap America’s promise of justice and human rights across the face.
By Monday afternoon President Trump also reminded us of his tax plan that will increase the tax burden of those who can least afford it and allow the top earners to increase their holdings (1% of America already controls 40% of the wealth).
By Tuesday, collective bargaining rights had been threatened and by Wednesday voter fraud “in the millions” had been declared without a shred of evidence to support the claim. Voter suppression, here we come.
And he just got started.
“Give the guy a chance.”
Was Obama given a chance? I recall hearing that it was one day after Obama was sworn in that leading Republicans met in a Washington bar to plot his undoing. A month later Senator Mitch McConnell galvanized the vow that Republicans will obstruct every single initiative the new President proposes.
I told one friend who is critical-of-my-criticism that I am afraid of the sweeping changes that have already taken place. She said: “Well, he can’t make things any worse than they already are.” That is a statement that I’ve heard a lot over the past few years. In fact, Donald Trump won on the drum beat of how bad America has become and the need for a complete reversal of fortune.
But, are things worse?
This is a sensitive direction to pursue because many people have not recovered from what in 2008 was the worst recession in 79 years, but that particular person bought a beautiful new house a couple of years ago. The auto industry (which is an economic barometer) had a record year in 2015. Stocks rebounded since their complete collapse over 8 years ago.
Is it terrorism she (and 62 million voters) believe is worse than ever? It is a tremendous concern to me (and 64 million other voters), as well, but wasn’t 9/11 the most catastrophic act of terrorism ever on American soil? That was in 2001.
In 2008 our economy was in a tailspin. Unemployment rose to nearly 10% (today it is at 5%). Many people I know took pay cuts during the recession. Today they have recovered.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of the Affordable Care Act (and I accept that it can be criticized), 20 million people who were previously uninsured are now covered. Debate it if you want, but it was an honest attempt to improve lives.
So…how bad is it compared to where we were 8 years ago?
And now those trends that have seen America rebound from the lows that began the 21st century, are not only in jeopardy, they will be reversed.
“Give the guy a chance”
Our system is not based on a “guy” it is based on people and all of the voices that rise within that body as the ultimate check and balance against corruption and tyranny. My voice will be one of them. Not because I want to see Donald Trump fail (I don’t), but because I want America to succeed.
I would like to finish with this: My friends who have asked me to give President Trump a chance, want the same thing; for America to succeed. I may be a thorn at times, we may infuriate each other and go to our separate corners or we may simply “agree to disagree.” But this process “with the right to peaceably assemble” and “petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances” is what keeps us strong, and it is how America will survive, regardless of who is in government. But that was put into our preeminent Amendment for a reason, and that reason was not simply to be read and admired, but to be exercised.
And we will.