What does that mean? I want Donald Trump to succeed for the good of the country. I want the great national divisions to heal and intentional conflicts to abate. I want the economy to do well, and its benefits shared by all. I want to have hope in the future. But what will be the measures of his success? Fulfilling his promise to repeal Obamacare? Building a wall on the border with Mexico? Backing away from strategic alliances and trade pacts? Denying the validity of climate challenges? Filling the Supreme Court with Antonin Scalia wannabes – and worse – affecting us for generations?
Or will success be measured by the extent to which Trump himself, without apparent rhyme or reason, reverses or modifies the positions that helped make him President? Relying on that solution is hardly reassuring.
How can we root for the success of a hateful man with jaw-dropping ignorance of the Constitution and contempt for facts? Who, as one writer put it, doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and has shown little interest in learning. Who won by fomenting hatred and is authoritarian in his tendencies. Who violates all norms, from refusing to release his tax returns, upending delicate diplomacy by talking to the president of Taiwan and celebrating the brutality of Philippine president Duterte, to suggesting a newspaper editor go to jail for reporting facts. Whose thin skin has him tweeting in the wee hours of the morning to lash out at anyone who criticizes him?
In previous elections where the outcome has not been the most desired one, at least we had faith that the system would right the ship of state, that checks and balances would make the center hold, to one degree or another. Now we have a President-elect who is unbalanced with checks yet to be tested. Trump may be a minority President, but for now the tail will wag the dog.
We have to lean on leaders of both parties in Congress to do what’s necessary to rein in Trump’s arbitrary and capricious tendencies. We have to talk with, listen to and try to persuade those with whom we disagree. We have to encourage actions by friends, colleagues, children and grandchildren to organize responsibly and keep the pressure on to preserve Constitutional safeguards and pursue the moral high ground. We can disagree on policy, but there is a legal and Constitutional framework for negotiating those differences, made more difficult by one-party control of the executive branch, Congress, Supreme Court, state capitols and legislatures. Tempting as it may be, this is no time to pull up the blankets and assume the fetal position. There’s much work to be done.
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