A long divisive campaign season, marked by coarse, vulgar taunts on the one side and cocksure arrogance on the other, ended in a vote that shocked many. A tall, white male had trumped a white, not so tall or slim female. The Democrats were convinced that woman’s time had come and their candidate would win. But all U.S. presidents to date have been male, tall and white or some combination of those. Why did we expect this year to be different?
Still, there was a difference in this election. Money, an ever-growing presence in politics, took stage front and center. Latent hostilities from mid-America bubbled to the surface. And the Internet allowed divisive, hateful language to hold sway. No longer was the election the purview of the two parties, the establishment media, the political pundits; the people took charge and their candidate played their renewed interest to his advantage, becoming, via social media and rallies, the demagogue for which they all yearned.
So the election came and went. The Trump supporters pointed their fingers and chanted “ha, ha, get over it.” The Clinton supporters wrung their hands in despair, wondering how this could have happened. And the vast majority of Americans, who had supported neither candidate, sat back and said “Now what?”
Yes, now what? What will happen next? Likely, not as much as people fear-or hope. Democracy, filled with diverse voices, is slow to act. Some warn of a Trump dictatorship, similar to Europe after World War I. Not likely, given Trump’s lack of a majority vote and the many voices rising up against his presidency. Impeachment? Ironically, it is some Republicans calling for this, for we forget that the Republicans won in Congress as well, and a Pence presidency would allow them to push their agenda full force. A Republican Congress is fairly predictable: reforms that benefit big business and the wealthy, new conservative anti-abortion judges, vouchers in education, less money for entitlement programs, changing the Affordable Care Act enough to ensure that it becomes a Republican plan. If Pence were president, this agenda would be handily implemented.
But with Trump as president? He remains a wild card. And thus he scares establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle. At best, he will respond to the reasonable voices calling for women’s rights, implement immigration reform with no drastic anti-immigration moves, build bridges with Russia and even China, see the light on climate control. At worst, he will send one too many ranting tweets to the wrong person and ignite a true conflict, will alienate our European allies, pick a fight with the Chinese, and pull out of treaties and climate change agreements. Will he build his highly touted wall? Unlikely. There are too many obstacles that will render his campaign rhetoric ineffectual. Will he overturn all the gains women have made? Impossible. He can’t oppose all the politicians, CEO’s, lawyers, and other high powered women in today’s America. And he relies for advice on his daughter Ivanka, who has shown more support for women’s issues. Will he hurt the disenfranchised, those on the bottom? Probably. But even he cannot dismantle all support systems now in place. Will he dump Obamacare? No, his supporters benefit from the Affordable Care Act, and anyway he doesn’t have that power. But he will seek to rename it Trumpcare. Where the Republican controlled Congress and Trump agree, there are likely to be changes to the nation that advantage the wealthy and powerful and hurt the poor and disenfranchised. Where they disagree, it is anyone’s guess what will happen.
And the nation as a whole? How will it change? We may become a rogue nation, with less international influence and third world in many areas, such as crime and poverty, even as we remain the wealthiest nation in the world. And China will take our place as the world power. This is negative for the United States but might not be negative on the international scene as a whole. Empires come and go. And civilization continues. Internally, we may become even more divided, a citizenry filled with hatred and invective towards the other. Or perhaps the young generation, recently politically awakened, will find its voice; the minorities, who are increasingly middle class and thus have more power, may begin to speak up as well, and in four years a new candidate might emerge, one who is of neither entrenched party, who is neither beholden to the old media nor to Twitter and Facebook, who is post-gender and post-racial, ready to lead us into a new world that is peaceful, calm, and filled with people who to get along with each other. One may always hope!
Meanwhile, what is the role of the common citizen? There are those who counsel a wait and see attitude, there are others who suggest that the “losers,” i.e. the Democrat/liberals seek to find common ground with the “enemy” and still others call for action, protests at every turn of the road. Which road to take? That is a decision best left to each one of us, based on our individual personalities, ethics, and political ideology. But what all of us can do, on all sides, is seek to be humane, honest and civil with each other, seek to protect our earth and all those living upon the planet. In short, we can become model citizens and strive together toward a more moral, just nation.
How Low Will America Go?
It is racial: white male versus minorities. And that does not bode well. Eventually, the minorities, denied a voice at the polls, will rise up in the streets. And hurt themselves in the process.
The United States has chosen
A tall white male for president
Except for a few short ones
Who somehow inspired
Enough "others" to vote
And had the charisma
To get elected.
Where are the women
Strong now, breaking
The glass ceiling,
More educated than
Often earning more
Than their husbands,
Where were they?
Life Goes On
People driving to work today
Go about their daily lives
As if nothing has changed.
And perhaps nothing really has.
The ground shifted beneath our feet last night,
The climate changed,
And yet this morning
The jay comes for its peanut,
The tom turkeys flaunt their tails,
The sun shines, the sky is blue.
Perhaps the ground only settled, back
Under the feet of the great, white male
Of the United States of America.
When faced with catastrophe,
People all over
continue their daily lives.
Step over the rubble
on their way for groceries,
Ignore the soldiers with guns,
the army tanks,
Turn away from the
already decaying corpse,
and hurry home
to their family.
For what else is there to do?
Until one day...
when it hits home,
a injured child, a brother killed,
They pack up and leave
towards a life unknown.
Nature knows no politics
to the sight
of a single hibiscus
on a green bush
flanked by rhododendrons
budded not yet in blood
A pink blossom
Shocking Election, Rude Awakening, Rare Opportunity
Buckle up! The post-election winds of change will soon begin to blow. Trumpism will soon sweep across the land. A better or worse America is in the offing. All depends upon President-elect Donald Trump: a highly perplexing eccentric, an opinionated and brazenly brash operator, a conceited, dramatic buffoon, a very capable risk-taking corporate-world executive, and an untried politician. Should Trump remain the questionable blunderbluss he was during the presidential campaign, America will surely go from bad to worse. On the other hand, should it dawn upon Trump that his personal interests have to become secondary to America’s general welfare—and this is definitely possible—America is just as likely to go from bad to better. It remains to be seen how many-sided Trump can be!
In the meantime, America is left deeply apprehensive about the campaigner Trump’s candid views and bluntly proclaimed intentions, and for good reason: Much that in America is generally accepted or even treasured is jeopardized, and much that Trump would initiate is commonly deemed appalling.
Trump would loose the hungry hound of change. He would act quickly and legislate decisively, and would have recourse to whatever measures or tactics he deemed necessary to make America great again.
To this end, Trump would immediately focus critically on those world-trade agreements that he considered detrimental to America’s well-being. The Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (2016), President Obama’s free-trade agreement with some eleven Pacific Rim countries, would be renegotiated or terminated, as would the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (1994) with Mexico and Canada. Irked by China’s veritable flood of state-subsidized imports to America and very troubled by the resultant negative impact on American firms and workers, Trump would quickly inflict a punitive remedial tariff on all Chinese imports. Undocumented Mexican immigrants would be summarily deported, a wall would be built to keep would-be Mexican immigrants out of the country, and for security reasons, foreign Muslims would be barred from America, and all American Muslims would be registered. To better contain a chronically militant Iran, Trump would forthwith dismantle America’s too lenient nuclear accord (2015) with the country, and to end the world’s half-hearted sputtering military engagement with Isis, Trump would have America’s military might boldly take on and annihilate the fanatical Islamic autocracy. And NATO would quickly have to learn to manage its affairs without America’s long-time military and financial aid.
The foremost threats and promises of Trump’s campaign domestic policy were no less forthright than those of his campaign foreign policy. To enhance America’s wanting healthcare, President Trump would immediately repeal The Affordable Care Act (2010), a.k.a Obamacare. And in emulation of the Western World’s industrialized countries, he would guarantee better care for America’s elderly and a six-week paid maternity leave for all American mothers. Persuaded that climate change is a hoax, Trump would quickly dismantle President Obama’s environmental regulations, and little concerned about the global level of carbon dioxide emissions, would promptly lift all restrictions on coal and oil use, and would even threaten to turn America’s back on the Paris Pact (2015) and its international efforts to stem Earth’s alleged warming. To enhance a flagging American economy, Trump would repatriate corporate profits deliberately stashed abroad (some 2 trillion dollars), to avoid an onerous 35 percent corporate tax, and he would manage this by reducing the corporate tax on profits housed abroad to but 10 percent. This tax windfall will boost America’s infrastructure spending and thereby bolstering its ever dwindling workforce. A later, standing 15 percent corporate tax on all corporation profits would suffice to stabilize America’s ever fluctuating economy.
A successful businessman’s belated determination to make his seriously-fractured and faltering country great again, has occasioned a bitter national uproar. Trump’s failure to expound upon his very contentious and but curtly expressed priorities—his failure to provide any telling details about this purpose, implementation and possible untoward consequences—left both Republicans and Democrats infuriated and with no alternative but to become bitterly ad hominem in their reaction.
An irate splintered and very troubled America began promptly to dispose of Trump in no uncertain terms, and America has to date continued to do so unremittingly. Publicly, one of America’s leading real estate tycoons became a xenophobe, homophobe, and Islamaphobe, an uncouth salesman, an inveterate liar, et al. These nasty epithets notwithstanding, America’s electorate chose to make Trump its president, and for a good, though not immediately apparent reason.
To consider America’s perplexing election of Trump nothing but an absurd aberration, as has commonly been done, is simplistic and inadequate explanation. More plausible, America’s low opinion of Trump was primarily an unambiguous rejection of his person, and the electorate’s choice of Trump was not an approval of Trump, but of his loudly trumpeted determination to change America for the better. Deep down, many Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, hoped desperately and perhaps even believed that Trump, highly successful pragmatic businessman that he was, would be an equally successful realpolitiker, and could indeed change America for the better. America was simply a seriously fractured and deeply troubled country desperately intent upon change, and any change could be for the better.
By way of summary: America’s low opinion of Trump was and still is primarily a brusque rejection of his person and not of his little-known sweeping political intents. Similarly, the electorate’s choice of Trump was not an approval of Trump, but of his determination to make America great again. Many Americans hoped that Trump the pragmatist would modify his brazen ill-considered policy appropriately enough to usher in a new great America.
Change has become America’s order of the day. A country in disarray is in dire need of change, an angry citizenry expects change, and president-elect Trump is planning widespread change. A propitious juncture in America’s history, one rife with possibilities, both good and bad.
But Americans will first have to better themselves, before America can be changed for the better. The public at large will have to become more informed, more reflective and more involved in matters social, political, economic and cultural; the gridlock in Washington and the corporate world’s manipulation of Congress will have to be scotched; and America’s very troubling financial, racial and religious divides will have to be bridged.
The betterment of America will depend no less upon Trump himself: upon a mellowing of his cantankerous person and upon a moderation of his drastic political intents. Just to dismiss Trump as a reckless buffoon, brash operator or a novice politician lacking all presidential qualifications, would only cause him to bristle and persuade him to continue to operate in his usual imperious manner, and any constructive interaction between president and public in pending changes in America’s medical care, education, immigration, trade, and outsourcing of jobs and industries, would be negligible.
More broadly, if America is to be changed for the better, its treasured materialism, rank consumerism, unfettered individualism and unbridled capitalism will also have to be sensitively moderated.
Finally, if his mission to make America great again is not to become an embarrassing fiasco. President-elect Trump will quickly have to become appropriately open-minded, well-meaning, duly informed and patiently persistent. Private interest will also have to yield to the common good. Furthermore, Trump would also be well-advised: to acquaint himself thoroughly and sympathetically with the general needs and wants of the American people; to steep himself as quickly as possible in both domestic matters and foreign affairs; to cultivate a good working relationship with Congress; to surround himself with knowledgeable and practised counselors; and to endeavor to become something of an idealist-pragmatist.
A Country Perched for Change
A fractured America is overdue for change.
Its angry people are demanding change,
And President Trump is championing change.
Will change take place?
Hope is high,
Time will tell!
-JM (December 11, 2016)
Preemptive attack only invites counterattack.
To focus on the mass is to lose sight of the individual.
Bold and outrageous words precede hesitant and mild actions.
Better to do what one wills to do than to do what others will one to do.
Bark when necessary.