While I’ve been inevitably active on social media, I have not posted anything in this space since the election. I have maybe a half-dozen aborted posts lurking, but I was unable to carry any of them to term.1 I’ve felt some bitterness, and I’m still feeling a fair amount of disgust. The way things have played out since the election is mostly how I expected them to go, even if I’d hoped for better. I think it’s well past time to move on, though. Trump will be President soon enough, and, except in the worst possible outcomes, I’d rather have him than Pence.
Unlike many Republicans2 in 2008, I don’t want Mr. Trump to fail. Re-phrase: I want him to fail in regard to most of his stated policy goals, but I don’t want him to fail in a way that is catastrophic for the nation. If, by the hand of God, our country prospers under his foul touch, well, good on him. That said, much like President Obama, he is not entering the White House with any measure of respect from me.
I have a few specific things that are my ‘governmental priorities’, and they are generally the opposite of many of his stated goals:
- Improve the ACA by either ramping up its’ weak points, or by enlarging the Medicaid expansion until the marketplaces are moot.3
- Nominate a Supreme Court Justice who is dedicated to protecting our individual liberties.
- Strike a balanced tone with our law enforcement agencies, recognizing their valor and the vital nature of their work, but also the sanctity of our lives.
- Work toward balancing the budget, but not solely at the expense of the most vulnerable elements of our society.
- Recognize that we must balance our need for energy and jobs with our need for a healthy environment and our desire to pass on a flourishing habitat to future generations.
- Work toward an economy that rewards industry and risk-taking, but that also guarantees everyone a seat in society and a vote in the free market.4
More important than any of those, though, is something that Mr. Trump will need to learn in rapid fashion. That is the idea of service. Being President- being any sort of leader- isn’t about issuing commands and being feared and wielding power. It’s about service to those under your leadership. It’s about building trust, and creating a space in which we can all feel safe.
One would hope that someone that comes from money would understand this inherently. It’s the basis of ‘noblesse oblige’, or, for today’s generation, “With great power comes great responsibility”.
However one identifies it, Mr. Trump has not yet demonstrated it. He has consistently consistently made business decisions, rather than leadership decisions. He has protected himself at the expense of the people beneath him. That will not fly as President of the United States of America.
Mr. Trump will need to carefully walk a winding path to earn my respect, and he will need to earn it from millions more to have any chance at a successful Presidency. If he begins to step down the path of service and humility and grace, he has a chance. I fear it will be far more difficult for him than merely winning an election.