Monday, December 12, 2016

Surviving Trump



Another day, and my Facebook feed is once again filled with the horrified screeds of my liberal friends, predicting all manner of cataclysms about to befall us at the dawn of the Trump administration. It's like reading The Guardian in the days leading up to the Brexit vote, only more unhinged. If my friends are to be believed, my country is about to be plunged into the dystopian abyss. In the terrifying days to come we should expect the four horsemen of the apocalypse to storm into every city, town and hamlet throughout the Republic, bespoiling our drinking water, polluting our air, going house to house dragging illegal immigrants through the streets behind them, all the while forcing every recently married gay couple to return all of their wedding presents. While we're all distracted by this spectacle, Trump will appoint some knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing evangelical to the Supreme Court, force every foreign dignitary visiting Washington to stay at his Hotel, and shutter the offices of The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC. And all of this on day one of his administration, angels and ministers of grace protect us from what he has planned for day two!!

In their defense, most of the folks most worried about Trump are of an age where their only memory of a modern President is Obama, who most of the time, especially between his election and first inauguration, was lavished with unvarnished praise by the press. They've never experienced a truly adversarial press openly hostile to a President, elect or otherwise. Those of us a bit older are used to it, having seen similar treatment of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush. I remember quite well the horror stories from the New York Times about the catastrophies to come after the American people rejected their choice, Jimmy Carter for a mere, B actor. Yep, we were headed straight for hell and whatever happened was our own damned fault for rejecting their advice!! With the election of Obama in 2008 we were congratulated for ushering in a post-racial America. All would be sweetness and light now that we had ushered in the new progressive century!

But now, suddenly, just like that. . .the press has rediscovered it's roll as truth speaker to power. No longer will they cheerlead the new President. Now it's time for war. The Fourth Estate no longer has much of an appetite for long, loving puff pieces about the incoming chief executive. The Atlantic will probably not run any sappy love poems to our new Messiah.

Granted, Trump makes it easy for them. For an angry, rejected press he is a target-rich environment. My personal optimism level for the success of his presidency lies somewhere between skeptical and resigned. As I have written a million times, I am convinced that the man is the most ill-suited for the Presidency by way of temperament and experience of any other in my lifetime. So why am I not as hysterically terrified as my liberal friends? It's simple.

Having lived 58 years in America has its advantages. For one thing, long ago I was disabused of the notion that any single man, any single President had the power to bend this unruly country to his will.  Our founders were, in fact, geniuses in this regard. Presidents are confounded at every turn, much to the frustration of his partisans. There's the Machiavellian quagmire of Congress. There's the stubborn, entrenched bureaucratic engine that powers government at the various departments, agencies and bureaus. Their employees are neither republican or democrat. . .they all belong to the government party and they have never lost an election! They survive every administration, and Trump's will be no different. There are the lifetime appointed judges sprinkled throughout the judiciary who will be hostile to him. Even our most masterful Presidents, like FDR and Reagan, were only able to ram through parts of their agenda. Ours is often an unwieldy beast of a government, unresponsive and plodding. When your guy loses, this is a great and mighty comfort.

So, to my liberal friends, let not your hearts be troubled. We will survive Trump. And when we do, how about we finally give my fellow Virginian, James Madison his due?