Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's Bizarre, But Let's Be Thankful for Trump

It’s end of the year time when journalists reflect on the last 12 months, a time to give thanks, or note regrets, for all that has transpired since the ball dropped on Times Square (here’s as good example as any of the recap genre:

First and foremost, let’s be thankful Donald Trump was elected. WHAT, you say!?! Hear me out …

Had Hillary Clinton won residency in the White House, no doubt we would be months into pending impeachment proceedings as Republicans would be like a dog chewing on a bone. If you thought their nonstop investigations of Benghazi and her emails while she was merely a candidate were over the top, imagine for a moment what they would have been like had she coupled her popular vote win with an Electoral College victory. 

The impeachment proceedings anti-Trumpers have been longing for would be a reality had Clinton won, not that I believe anything she did deserved such action, but impeachment is a political, not legal, affair and it is evident Republicans think political profit is more important than adherence to principle and the welfare of the country. 

Moreover, assuming the #MeToo movement would have occurred, as well, Bill Clinton’s past would have been dredged up again, further tainting and weakening a Clinton presidency.

Bottom line: Hillary would be spending too much energy and time defending herself and Bill against a Republican controlled Congress. 

Counterbalancing that sad prospect would be Clinton’s more humane stewardship of our legacy. She would not have appointed unqualified or conservatively biased cabinet and agency heads or judges with extreme, reactionary opinions or who lack qualifications for life-tenured office. She would not have alienated our international allies.

But she lost. We have to deal with the reality of a Republican president. So we are left with being thankful for The Donald. You have to admit. He has been entertaining, by himself and with the aid of inept acolytes like Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci. And by the daily ripostes of late night comedians.

Some context is in order. Having the blowhard-in-chief in the White House is preferable to any other Republican, even the warm-and-fuzzy-on-the-outside John Kasich. Trump has done what virtually any Republican would have. Indeed, someone with more Washington insider experience might have been more accomplished. The saving grace during this Year of Living Dangerously is that Trump has kept the intense dislike of his actions and policies red hot, thus igniting the potential for Democrats to have a chance to take over one or both houses of Congress next November. 

Trump galvanizes opposition. He will not change. Given enough rope Trump will hang himself. He cannot contain his toxic tweets and outlandish comments and actions which will inspire anti-Trump votes. They will energize Democrats and revolted true Republicans/Conservatives to show up at the polls next November in numbers generally reserved for presidential elections. 

It’s a long game, I know. Darkness has descended on the “city upon a hill,” Pilgrim John Winthrop’s Biblical visualization of a free society. But it is a game worth playing. And, for now, it is the only game in town.

Here’s hoping 2018 will be a healthy and happy one for all. Gilda and I will be spending New Year’s Eve attending the wedding of our dear friends Beth and Lloyd’s daughter Marin to Eric. A perfect way to end and start a year.