I opposed the campaign of Donald Trump. For various reasons that I wrote about during the 2016 election cycle. I object to his presidency and much of what he represents. I didn’t find him qualified in his wisdom or his mettle, and I still don’t. I was sorely disappointed with the American electorate on November 8th, not because they didn’t choose Hillary Clinton, but because of what they did elect.
I found myself unexpectedly supporting Clinton, in fact, I didn’t decide to vote for her until very late in the year. Had the Libertarian party nominated a stronger ticket, I likely would have voted their way. What I couldn’t do was vote for Trump.
As I watched the inauguration and heard the comments from my friends on the right and left, it prompted me to recall of January 2009. After the election of President Obama, half the country thought it was the end of the world and the other half thought there was a new messiah. The right believed he would take their guns, force them into Sharia law, and put all of us in prison camps. The left thought he would solve the problems of health care, education, LBGT rights, and end racial division in America.
Neither were correct.
As Trump enters the office, many are concerned and rightly so. The vitriol and rhetoric that surrounded his campaign did what they were intended to do. They rallied a base of support that was left feeling alienated, validity notwithstanding, eight years ago. People who were diametrically opposed to everything the Obama administration focused on and promoted.
Those on the right dismiss these fears as sour grapes, or simply being irrational. While some of it may be, the majority of the concern that we see is entirely justified. Even more so when the White House website immediately removed all emphasis on civil rights, health care, LGBT concerns, and climate change from its pages upon the swearing in of Trump. It was a drastic and swift change of course that put an exclamation point on how the next four years may look.
Trump supporters seem to have the idea that their lives are suddenly going to get better. Yet struggle to come up with things that are so atrocious about their lives and the state of America. Nonetheless, the belief is that somehow the new president will push us into some new golden age, where everyone knows their place and foreign nations will automatically and collectively kiss our ass.
The problem with any of these arguments is clearly that we have put entirely too much faith in government. Today as in 2008 half of the country is panicked, not just because of the fear of a new president, but more precisely the amount of power the government has in our lives.
We have become so reliant on government to “fix” all of our problems, and so willing to allow it into our daily lives we now find ourselves at its mercy. It has invaded every aspect of our lives, from our jobs to our bedrooms, and we have done so willingly. The danger is not that one radical leader can come along and threaten our way of life, it’s that we have allowed government to become an instrument that can be turned against the people. We have abdicated our responsibility and relinquished our control.
As long as we allow government to run amuck, we will be left feeling at the mercy of a new overlord every four to eight years. If we look for elected officials and the state to fix our problems, it will. Whether the results are beneficial or not won’t matter, an authority must impose itself where it sees an opportunity. Wherever we leave a void, whatever cracks we neglect, the government will fill them.
We cannot continue to use Washington as a weapon to support and impose our will and not expect it to be used against us when the tables are turned. Expecting the state to do what is right is the quickest way to be disappointed.
The next four years will be both significant and striking in the future of America. Not if we will survive, we will, but what we allow. Will we allow more intrusion into our lives? Will we permit any of our fellow citizens to be deserted? Can we function beyond politics and ideology to fight shoulder to shoulder for what is best for America? While we have allowed government to become an out of control hammer susceptible to the whims of the power brokers of the day, can we harness again into an instrument of the people?
If Trump is truly dangerous, it’s not because of any ability he has. It is because of the power we have given the position he now holds.
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