The Trump Era Begins: What To Do?

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Posted on: 01/07/2017 by Pat O'Brien

In less than two weeks our country will inaugurate a new President, Donald J. Trump. Since his victory in the Electoral College on November 8, 2016, Mr. Trump has done little to reach out to those that did not vote for him - which was a majority of Americans. Still, he won the Electoral College and under our laws he is the legitimate President-Elect. In other words, you don't have to like him but he will be in the White House regardless. So, what should those of us who didn't vote for him think? More to the point, what actions, if any, should we take in response to the new Trump era? I don't know for sure. And that is why I am writing my first blog post in more than a year and a half. I need to have a better sense of what we are dealing with in Trump. This post is the beginning of that search.

For starters, we cannot pretend this has been a normal transition. It hasn't. The transition has been filled with basically the same P.T. Barnum stunts and carnival barker insults that Mr. Trump made the trademark of his campaign. He is definitely acting within his nature. This is as good as it gets apparently. And, this transition has been a bit scary. There has been more love of Putin and antagonism of China, this time over Taiwan. There has been the shaming of public companies - which might not be a terrible thing. There has been the same tired personal attacks on SNL and celebrities that didn't support him. Mr. Trump has been all over the map in his behavior - which is what we should expect when he becomes President because there is no other Trump.

When George W. Bush became President I reacted the way many people did. I gave him a chance. I voted for Gore and was very suspicious about the vote in Florida. But, I thought it my duty as an American to give Mr. Bush a shot at doing some good things. After eight years of Bush I was glad to see him go but I didn't regret my willingness in 2001 to give him a chance. In fact, his initial handling of 9/11 made me respect him until he invaded Iraq and I realized how badly he screwed things up. In other words, Mr. Bush was a typical President that I didn't agree with and worked to beat. He won, though, and elections have consequences. That was my attitude for eight years.

The new Trump era feels a lot different than 2001. It is not even the love for Putin that bothers me the most. It is the instability of our President-Elect and his complete lack of self-control. Do I really think he will launch nukes at someone? No, not really. My bigger fear is that one day this Spring you will be watching the news and North Korea will be threatening to execute an American fighter pilot on live television if we don't meet their demands. Our reaction will be to attack North Korea, or at least threaten to do so, as a response. But, few people will remember how this situation developed. Weeks earlier, President Trump ordered fighter planes to "buzz" North Korea as a show of strength. And, then they shot one of our planes down and here we go. This scenario has been my fear since about March of 2016. Now, that fear could become a reality. Or, some other unnecessary confrontation could arise because our President cannot think or act with any restraint. That is scary.

I'm not going to make this blog post a recitation detailing everything I don't like about Mr. Trump. I feel certain there will be ample opportunity for that over the next four years. Rather, I want to capture this moment. I want to document my natural fear before Mr. Trump becomes President on January 20, 2017. I don't think the next four years will go well. I think the Trump Presidency will be less than just a Republican President doing things I don't agree should be done. Rather, I think he is going to do things that have the potential to hurt some of the foundations of our country. The odd part is I'm not quite sure how he will do it. Thus, I have a fear that I cannot quite articulate. 

My fear is not personal. I don't think President Trump will do things that will hurt me financially or personally. For example, I am too old to be drafted. In fact, many of his policies might help my businesses in the short term. If he does things that might hurt the stock market I always have the option of selling my shares and waiting for a new President - that is a value strategy. I already have health care and that won't change under Mr. Trump. No, my fear is more for my fellow Americans. I fear that he will set the trajectory of our country back a decade or two. Again, I'm not sure how he does it and that is because I don't think he has any plan. He makes it up as he goes along. The people that get hurt will probably not see it coming.

I hope I'm wrong about Mr. Trump but I don't think I am. So, all that is left now is what am I to do? Should I "give him a chance"? Maybe that is the American thing to do even though it goes against all my instincts. Or, maybe the American thing to do is react to Mr. Trump in accordance with his words and actions. If I do that, then I will not be giving him a chance. He doesn't deserve it based on the campaign he ran, but more importantly, on the transition that he has run. Some people have said you should take Mr. Trump "seriously, but not literally". I have decided to do both. I think he is a serious threat literally because of his words and actions. 

So, when President Donald J. Trump does something that I think makes sense I will try to "give him a chance". But, if he tries to make Muslims sign a registry to track their movements or he really does try to build a "Great Wall" which will be as expensive as it is non-sensical, then I won't "give him a chance" because he won't deserve it. Rather, I will "hope for Mr. Trump". I will hope he does well. I might even root for him to do well. But, I won't expect it because he has provided no evidence he will. Good luck, Mr. Trump - I think you are going to need it.

 

 

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