A grab bag of more-or-less random thoughts about last week’s election:
2016 will be remembered as the year when the American people looked around at the venerable edifice of our political system and went: “Hmmm. The roof leaks, the plumbing is a little dodgy, and it’s drafty in the winter. We could hire someone to work on these problems — someone who’s spent years in the business and knows what they’re doing … Naaaah. What we really need to do is hire a guy to burn the whole place to the ground.”
Markets in America and across the globe initially plummeted as they realized that the United States had actually chosen for the first time to elect a man who’d never held either office or military command.
National intelligence professionals expressed a “palpable sense of dread” to The Washington Post as they prepared to give the first “unfiltered” intelligence briefing to a man who’s expressed “abundant disdain” for their work.
There is one organization, however, that’s happy about Mr. Trump’s election. Other than the KKK, I mean. When the news was announced to the Russian Duma, its members reportedly broke into applause. Ultra-nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, even broke out the champagne.
So, hey. Maybe Trump can bring people together if he can get the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, and the Russians singing on the same page of music.
It’s impossible to know exactly how Donald J. Trump is going to govern, because his campaign was so maddeningly devoid of specifics.
He says, for instance, that he’s going to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but never seems to be able to answer the question “with what?” There’s some vague talk of “being able to buy insurance across state lines,” but there’s no real evidence that that will bring costs down, and no explanation of how that’s going to help people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer or arthritis, that made them uninsurable at any price under the old system.
Oh, and he’s going to “drain the swamp,” but that glib little catch phrase tells us nothing. What it mostly does is remind me of the old joke from whence it came: “When you’re up to your [posterior] in alligators, it’s tough to remind yourself that you set out to drain the swamp.”
What, indeed, will Trump’s fervent supporters do when he (and they) find themselves up to their posteriors in alligators?
What will they do when Mexico declines to pay for a 2,000-mile-long spite fence? What will they do when deporting 11 million people turns out to be impossible?
What will they do if President Trump shows as little interest in their “culture war” obsessions like gay marriage as Candidate Trump did?
What will they do when neither the constant use of the magic words “radical Islamic terrorism” nor the bringing-back of torture at the hands of American servicemen and women decrease the number or violence of terror attacks around the world — but in fact, cause them to increase? What will they do when “repeal and replace” turns out to mean “taking away the health insurance of 20 million people”?
I don’t know, and I don’t expect anyone does. But I’ll be here to watch it all unfold, just like I’ve been through the Clinton, Bush and Obama years.
I’m not going to Canada, and neither are 99.9 percent of the people who’ve been muttering about doing it. I’m going to stay and fight. I’ll give President Trump a chance to do the good things he said in his victory speech that he’s going to do, like rebuild our infrastructure, take care of our veterans, and “deal fairly with everybody.”
And, even as I understand their frustration, I won’t join in with the people who say “he’s not my president.” Donald J. Trump won the votes to win the Electoral College, so President Trump he will be.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to call out racism and bigotry and push back against cruelty and bullying, from him or anyone else.
If President Trump breaks candidate Trump’s promises and acts like the politicians he and his followers claim to despise, I’m going to call him on it. If the Orange Emperor has no clothes, I’m not going to pretend he’s dressed in silk.
And as I’ve been doing in these pages since 1996, I’m going to mock BS when BS needs to be mocked (in a fashion appropriate to a family newspaper, of course).
Stick around. Join in. The Resistance starts here.