I’ve been joking that we entered into an alternate universe the day Lemmy Kilmister died at the end of 2015. How else can we explain 2016? It seems like every week – hell, sometimes every day – some core part of our collective soul was ripped out with the announcement of yet another brilliant person departing this orb too soon, or our hearts were broken by the deaths of innocents in Nice and Orlando and Chicago and Aleppo and Istanbul, and the too many other places around the globe. I am happy to see 2016 slide into the past.
And yet, this new year is a strange one. I am fretful of 2017 simply because Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th, and all signs lead to a bumpy ride. Trump is a volatile man, and I know many of his supporters believe his take on the world and disbelieve the “main stream” media and “career politicians.” I find it astounding that Trump and the Trumpists believe Russia and Vladamir Putin over all our own loyal United States intelligence agencies, for example.
On the other hand, I know America is great, that our imperfect system nonetheless is a robust system, and that this Republic of ours is greater than any one man, and can withstand any attempts to derail it. We are not Germany in the 1930s. We are not Italy in the 1920s. We are not Russia in the 1910s. America was founded on the concepts of Liberty, and Liberty is such a part of our DNA that freedom is a given. No one anywhere on the political spectrum is even considering repealing the Bill of Rights or changing our constitution.
The election of Trump was a monumental event. A lot will happen this coming year on the political front. Some of those things can be monumentally bad, but the optimist in me thinks we’ll avoid full-on disasters. There is a limit to what a GOP congress will do, and while Trump is volatile, he is not suicidal. Odd that I have to say this, but Trump’s desire to bask in a wonderful legacy is probably enough to keep him from pressing the button.
The Left and the Right are both invigorated. The Left (and certain “Never Trump” folks like me) never really took Trump seriously and were resigned to a Clinton presidency. However, Trump made chumps of all the experts and was elected, and as a result the Left has been shocked into action. On the Right, Trumpists are ecstatic that their guy won. They are crying “Mandate!” and are getting their plans in place. Right now, I can envision the groundskeepers laying down new chalk lines, trimming the field, and brushing off the mound in the 2017 political arena, with the teams in their locker rooms getting ready for the contest. This new vigor can only mean good things, ultimately. And so I am optimistic for 2017. I believe we will not only survive the Trump presidency, I believe that we will be stronger for it… eventually.
Happy New Year!