From the Middle
Since I threw a hissy-fit about political posts on Facebook this week, I suppose it would be imprudent to post something political here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog. What follows isn’t meant to take sides but as commentary on what I’ve seen since the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States. I think I belong to a disappearing breed, the Moderate. That means I am liberal on some issues (mostly social), conservative on others (mostly economic and national defense), and somewhere in the middle on many. Hence, Moderate. I voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney because I felt that Barack Obama was too liberal and lacked experience. This year, I voted for Hillary Clinton for two reasons … her experience and my concerns about the character of Donald Trump, which … if you care … you can read about in my post, Enough.
But that doesn’t mean that, as a Moderate, I can’t see why people voted for him. All I have to do is look at the red-state blue-state map … or the near even split in the popular vote … to know that half of the electorate felt ignored by the Democratic party and President Obama. They weren’t all bigots or deplorables … although there are those on both sides of the aisle (they only differ what they are bigoted about). All people who favored limits on immigration or disagreed with some of Mr. Obama’s views were cast as bigots by Democrats and by the left-leaning mainstream media. People who disagreed with aggressive changes in LBGT rights were similarly cast, even when their concerns stemmed from religious beliefs. In my opinion, there is indeed a political elite that wants to dictate how we should conduct our lives, and the only thing that differentiates this elite on the left and right are the specifics of how they think we should act and believe. Trump caught lightning in a bottle by campaigning as someone outside the elite of both parties who would listen to those that felt disenfranchised.
As the election rolled toward it’s surprising conclusion, Democrats screamed bloody murder when The Donald said he might not honor the results. Once Hillary lost, Democrats began to do the same thing. The Electoral College was just fine to Democrats until it cost them the election. The media reported the vehemence and vitriol of Trump rallies with great alarm, but once Trump was elected, sometimes violent anti-Trump protests were not treated with the same disdain. Every Trump cabinet appointment was reported with alarm because they were Trump supporters (gasp), conservative (gasp!) and, like the president, inclined to shake things up. Isn’t that what a newly elected president is supposed to do once elected? Meanwhile, the closing words of President Obama and his departure were treated with reverence, as if he were somehow the savior of the nation. For weeks I heard the latest about which celebrities had refused perform at Trump’s inauguration, capped by Meryl Steep’s dismissive Golden Globes speech directed at the election and Trump supporters. Does anyone actually believe a president needs celebrities to govern? That they have any insight at all as to what most of us experience? Just more elites.
Now, at this point, you may think I’ve donned a red Make America Great Again cap but you’d be wrong. I’m not wearing anybody’s cap or anybody’s white pantsuit either. I am proud that our country elected a man of color to its highest office and I believe Mr. Obama and Michelle brought genuine dignity to the office, particularly during what must have been an awkward transition. But the red-state blue-state map shows he did not bring us together as he promised .. and that half the country wanted a change. I do worry about the Trump presidency. His personality and divisive style still scare me, as does his lack of experience. Just as I wouldn’t send Hillary Clinton to build a high rise hotel, I wouldn’t have sent The Donald to the White House. But after Obama’s election, I was concerned with his lack of experience and worried that he wouldn’t listen to conservative viewpoints. He ended up doing OK. We’ll survive Trump, too, and maybe he’ll surprise me and do some good. What worries me is that the conditions that enabled his rise, a bipolar political elite, each ignoring half the nation, will survive him, too. I don’t want to go to my grave in a nation divided, each half thinking the other half is the enemy.
Today, as I was driving to the park, I briefly turned on CNN. A speaker from the Woman’s March was saying, This is the second time that WE won the election and THEY walked into the White House. What ever happened to the Us in U.S.?