In preparation for this post, I just read over the post from December 5 titled “Reasons to be Happy About the Election of Donald Trump?” I wanted to see if any of those reasons on the list, beginning with three that I endorsed from the Glenn Reynolds essay with the same name, without the question mark. Here are the ten:
1. “Killed off dynastic politics, at least for now.”
2. “Kept Hillary out of the White House.”
3. “Crushing the media’s sense of self-importance”
4. His election, and Clinton’s defeat, pushes back against group identification politics.
5. It demolishes the propaganda that Barack Obama was a successful President.
6. It might spur more citizens to vote next time.
7. Trump’s victory showed that cheating to win, and behaving as if the ends justify the means, still don’t go down well with a lot of the public.
8. The entire Clinton saga has been predicated on their belief that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time, along with a well-practiced regimen of deny-deny-deny. lie, obfuscate, stonewall, accuse and delay, to get away withe all manner of unethical conduct while achieving wealth and power. Finally, it didn’t work. Hooray.
9. Trump’s election exposed, and is exposing, the hypocritical, anti-democratic, bitter, ugly, hateful side of progressives and Democrats.
10. It is the kick in the teeth of political correctness that this restrictive, arrogant, smug and stifling cultural trend had been begging for.
The post concluded,
“I have not changed my analysis that the price we will pay for these boons is likely to be exorbitant and painful at best. Nonetheless, they are still things to be grateful for, and not insubstantial.”
Almost two months later, having experienced the Trump transition and observed the horrifying 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, which of these ten bear amendment or repeal? All but a few are as accurate now as then. #9, relating to the Democratic and progressive freak-out and what it represents, has intensified since December 5 and has been longer-lasting and more outrageous than anyone could have expected. Reynold’s item #3 about the election crushing the news media’s sense of self-importance was clearly wishful thinking, for it joined the embarrassing and destructive Democratic reaction to the election rather than learning anything. Fools.
Finally, there is #5. Trump’s election should have demolished the mythology that Obama has been a successful President, because he obviously has not been, and if he had been successful, Hillary Clinton would be about to be sworn in today.But Barack Obama, who like Donald Trump lives in his own narcissistic fantasy world, exited with a series of self-lauding propaganda lines—some issuing from the mouths of his team, like John Kerry—that the news media and punditry have treated as if he were a burning bush. No, Obama improved race relations! His was a scandal free administration! He did most of the things he wanted to do, and if it wasn’t for obstructive Republicans, he would have done much more! Citizens who weren’t happy and voted against Democrats just didn’t understand how well off they are! America’s standing in the world is terrific! He is proud of his handling of Syria, and those 400,000 dead don’t prompt any regrets! This has been followed by jaw-droppingly dishonest puff-pieces by writers who should know better.
Here are additional observations on Inauguration Day:
1. Presidential inaugurations are wondrous things, and no matter who is being sworn in, the event reminds the world of the inspiring success of the American experiment. I can’t bear the non-stop sneering on MSNBC, but I would like to hear Chris Matthews on the subject today. Race-baiting jerk that he has been the past 8 years, he is an old softy about American politics and institutions. He was emotional about George W. Bush sitting in the limo with Bill Clinton, and being inaugurated as his father, who had been defeated by Clinton, looked on. It wasn’t just the inauguration of the first black President that thrilled him; the process and tradition thrills him, as it does me. As for the angry Left, including so many of my family and friends, who can’t get past their bitterness to unite as citizens to admire and honor the nation today? I feel sorry for them, and for their nation, which they are wounding at a time when it needs to be nursed back to health. They sap the energy and vitality of America, and demonstrate profound historical and civic ignorance.
2. I admit, I still can hardly believe this happened. That it can happen is a good thing, even if the particular proof that it can happen is unsettling in this case. Jefferson wanted a government that the people could grab, shake by the neck, and change. He wanted the people, not Hamilton’s elites or Adams’ aristocrats, to be the ultimate drivers of the engine of state. I’m sure Jefferson would have loathed Trump personally, but his inauguration shows that the author of the Declaration’s vision still lives.
3. History repeats itself, to be sure. Trump’s attaining the Presidency and the shocked and frightened reaction to it among the Washington power establishment does harken back to Andrew Jackson, a rough, authoritarian, sometimes violent, natural leader out of the Tennessee back woods who led a populist electoral uprising to overthrow of the Virginia and Massachusetts monopoly on the Presidency. Jackson’s administration was a mixed bag indeed, but he was undeniably a skilled and transformation President who left the U.S government stronger than when he took office.
4. A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she was “disgusted” by all the white people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats around the Capitol yesterday. This struck me as akin to the joke about the boy who murdered his parents seeking mercy from the court because he was an orphan. African Americans, especially around D.C., have been urged and in many cases bullied to boycott everything having to do with Trump, and now people like my friend are suggesting that blacks are being excluded, proving the racism of the new President.
Too many African American politicians, celebrities, activists and citizens are being stunningly irresponsible in their reaction to Trump’s election. A recent revolting example: when outspoken filmmaker Spike Lee learned that Chrisette Michele, a black singer whose music he’d been considering for one of his projects, had agreed to perform at the Inaugural, he decided to punish her, posting on Instagram:
“I Wuz Sorry To Read That ‘Sistuh Girl’ Is Singin’ At DT’s Inauguration (And To Use His Fav Word-SAD) I Wuz Thinkin’ ’bout Using Chrisette’s Song- BLACK GIRL MAGIC In My Netflix Series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT…. NOT ANYMORE. And Dat’s Da Truth, Ruth.”
As Anderson Cooper asked regarding John Lewis’s declaration that Trump was not a legitimate President, how does this help? Well, it helps in one way: it marks Lee and those like him as every bit as cruel and intolerant as they claim Trump to be. It also diminishes their ability to have meaningful influence on the administration, and alienates members of the public, like me, who regard intentional divisiveness as the mark of the undemocratic—the nascent totalitarians.
5. I begin the Trump era wanting him to succeed….that is, to make America better, stronger, richer, more powerful, more just, wiser…greater. Eight years ago, talk show king Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, a miserable, unpatriotic, stupid thing to say. I never listened to him for more than five minutes at a stretch again. Democrats, and fair and ethical Republicans, condemned the sentiment, and rightly. Now, as one more aspect of the Left’s hypocrisy-fueled self-immolation, a large segment, not all but apparently a majority, has loudly announced that they—feminists, blacks, Latinos, the LBGT community, the artistic community, educators, journalists, progressives and the Democratic Party—want Donald Trump to fail, which means the United States fails. This is a cataclysm for the nation, but mostly one for them. We cannot trust citizens who root for a duly-elected President to fail.
6. Ethics Alarms has noted more than once that either Trump will make the Presidency worse, or the office will make him better. Today is the first day for us to begin to find out which will happen. Nothing in the President-Elect period indicated that the looming office will temper Trump’s worst proclivities.
7. Other institutions are at risk, notably the news media. It is clear that Trump will not continue the practice of treating journalists as respectable and objective commentators when they are not. That’s not necessarily a bad development, if he does not regard all criticism through fair journalism as equally hostile.
8. Trump will change the style and traditions of the office, which should not be confused with harming it. Direct tweeting to the people, carefully, civilly and responsibly done, is an inevitable consequence of social media, and can have salutary effects. Not staying at the White House all the time isn’t a threat to the office either, though Trump would do well to respect the structure’s symbolic power.
I can only hope that he stops lashing out at every critic, punching down, engaging in crude insult wars and allowing his inner junior high school sexist to run amuck, because what the President does will become more acceptable to society. It is always thus. Watch: Trump affects a codspeice-like extra-long tie that extends well past his belt, a sloppy style that has been taboo for decades. I guarantee that we will soon see most men affecting this style. If that’s the worst impact he has on the culture, we will be lucky.
9. Another Facebook friend wrote sadly that she would be saying “Thanks Obama!” for the last time. I thank Obama; I thank him like I thank anyone who accepts this job, and who shoulders the killing responsibility of steering the United States of America through the always stormy seas it has, so far, braved so well.
I do not thank him for the disastrous results of his faltering leadership, of which the Left’s vicious treatment of Trump is a prime example. I do not thank him for attempting in many ways to make it more difficult for his predecessor to clean up the mess he leaves behind, something Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, did not do.
10. With great power and opportunity comes great risk and accountability. The Republicans blew it badly in the Bush years—the party betrayed the nation—yielding to greed, incompetence, dishonesty and corruption. They made Barack Obama President, just as Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi so botched their opportunity and betrayed the trust of the people that the GOP once again has control of all three branches of government.
Trump is really a non-partisan, non-ideological force. He wants to get things done and help the nation; if he didn’t there would be no reason for him to seek this daunting challenge. He needs to do what neither Bush nor Obama had the strength and integrity to do: keep their parties in line and focused on their duties, not holding power. Maybe he will.
Today, after all, is about hope.