A number of folks have asked me what I thought about the election, and candidly, it’s taken me a while to really wrap my arms around it; but here goes. As I’ve written previously, when commenting on politics in this country, I think it’s important to start with the fundamentals and that begins with the thinking and writing of the Founders.
When drafting the Constitution, the Founders believed a free press was critical to the success of the new republic and they envisioned the press as the unofficial fourth branch of government. Jefferson in particular wanted the press to act as a watchdog, and to keep the government in check by informing the citizenry of potential abuses to our liberties.
However, as the last four years attest, the media, has not been a faithful arbiter of ideas and information. Consequently, America has lost its most effective check against the abuses of government. A situation I believe will haunt this country for years and perhaps decades to come.
~ A Dishonest Media ~
Donald Trump was excoriated in the media from the day he descended the elevator of Trump Tower and has been demonized more than any president in our history. Even Lincoln was only demonized by the Southern newspapers. Lest we forget, the Washington Post ran its first Trump impeachment article, “The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun,” on the day the president was inaugurated. Then, along with the NY Times they led the chorus to remove the President of the United States from office before he had confirmed a cabinet.
Over the next four years America would hear an incessant drumbeat from the media why the president was unfit while casting every manner of aspersion, beginning with perhaps the most vicious and insidious media lie of our time, that Donald Trump said there were fine Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen in Charlottesville. A lie that was finally acknowledged by a few in the media, but never retracted.
~ Results matter ~
During World War II, George Marshal, the father of the modern American military, and Dwight Eisenhower operated under a simple formula regarding their commanders — “Relieve & replace but no micromanagement.” Between the two they relieved nearly one hundred field and general grade officers during the war. If a general wasn’t getting the job done, he was replaced. The German high command noticed this too, and after the war many former Nazi generals remarked how unlike the British and the Russians, the American Army adapted and continued improving the quality of their generalship throughout the conflict.
Like Marshall and Eisenhower, Donald Trump is all about getting the results and no one was sacrosanct. Even one of his best cabinet position choices General James Mattis wasn’t immune. Mattis was an outstanding general and Secretary of Defense, but he failed the sing off the same song sheet as the president. And it’s speculated here that had he not disagreed with the president publicly (publicly being the operative word) he would not have been removed.
~ The importance of Vision ~
Recently I wrote about the need for a vision in government because vision is the leader’s North Star. And in the case of American politics, the president’s vision tells both voters and subordinates where he wants to take nation. Barack Obama used “Hope & Change” as a rallying cry and it likely got him elected. But what did hope and change mean to Obama’s Secretaries of State, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Interior, Energy, Labor, Transportation or Treasury? Who knows? It was a matter of individual interpretation. However, “Make America Great Again” and “America First” eliminates a lot of ambiguity for people who are running massive government agencies.
Ask yourself, if you were representing the United States in an official capacity and were faced with a complex and potentially dangerous situation and had to make a decision, would you feel more confident guided by “Hope & Change” or “Make America Great Again?” As noted, MAGA and “America First” were the Trump administration’s North Star and a reason his administration accomplished more in foreign policy than any president since Reagan.
~ Media Distortions ~
I raised the issue of the cabinet because Joe Biden is currently filling his cabinet posts, and it’s only fair to withhold judgment until we see the results of his choices. Will Pete Buttigieg be a good Transportation Secretary—who knows, we have to give him a chance, but the problem we have is that similar to how the media hyped Robert Mueller as the be all, end all; the media begins hyping the qualification of those who accept the media’s narrative before any results are in.
Recall when the Mueller Investigation began how the former FBI Director was lionized by the media as a paragon of virtue with the singular focus of a tiger on the hunt, only to be exposed when the curtain was pulled away, revealing an aging and somewhat addled septuagenarian. It was an abject embarrassment for the nation when the man chosen to lead perhaps the most important federal investigation in the nation’s history, not only did he not have command of the facts, but he also jettisoned the bedrock of our legal system—the presumption of innocence and instead chose the path of guilty until proven innocent. History will not look kindly on Mr. Mueller.
~ The Hatred Comes from the Left ~
I truly do not understand the guttural hatred toward Trump. But “We reap what we sow,” and I fear for what we have sown. Will the country come together now that Trump is leaving office? I cannot answer that, but somehow, I don’t see Antifa and Black Live Matters, coming together for the benefit of the nation. My rationale? I look at what they have done thus far, i.e., 27 dead, entire neighborhoods gutted and billions in property damage. Does Joe really think these outlaw groups are going to benefit his administration?
Perhaps more importantly, it’s reasonable to ask if 74 million Trump voters will forget…
- Four years of unrelenting personal attacks
- The phony Steele dossier
- The “Resistance”
- Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib saying “Impeach the Motherfucker!”
- Trump supporters being harassed in restaurants, department stores and gas stations
- The riots, looting and desecration of churches and monuments
- A liberal comedienne holding up a gross facsimile of the president’s severed head
- A Central Park play depicting the murder of President Trump
- Robert DiNiro yelling “Fuck Trump” and getting a standing ovation at the Tony Awards
- Nancy Pelosi ripping up the State of the Union address in front of the whole world
- The partisan impeachment.
- The phony Ukraine investigation
- The president and his incoming staff being spied upon
- A republican congressman being shot at a ballfield
- The states getting everything they asked for to address COVID and then blaming Trump, rather than the Chinese for the pandemic
- The left threatening prominent republican politicians and right leaning newscasters outside of their homes
- The attempted ruin of Brett Kavanaugh and his family
You cannot expect to grow crops on a salted field. So, will Joe Biden “heal the wounds” of the nation when it was a partisan media and his own party that caused them? Personally, I don’t think the hateful left will allow it. And the only comment I have ever heard Biden say on the how he plans to bring people together is, “We’ll follow the science.”
~ The Way Forward? ~
Do I feel this election was stolen? Stolen is a strong word, but I strongly believe without COVID and 50 million unsolicited mail-in ballots Trump would have won handily. And while I haven’t seen the polling, my understanding is the nation is divided about 50/50 on the matter of voter fraud, so perhaps Congress needs to pass legislation regarding national voting standards before 2024. As an aside, only a partisan wouldn’t want the voter fraud issue pursued with the same vigor as was the Russia collusion hoax.
So, where do we go from here? Personally, I support Joe Biden, he’s the President-Elect of the United States and I think it’s our duty to get behind him. That does mean I have to like it—I don’t because in my heart I do not feel his administration will benefit of the nation.
I predicate that statement on the fact that Biden has been in Washington for forty-seven years and in all that time has anyone ever heard a stem-winding speech from him, or a call to a greater cause inducing people to follow him? But perhaps the saddest commentary on Joe Biden I have yet to hear of a single accomplishment during his 47 years in politics. By the way, I have asked every friend I have who voted for Joe Biden why they did so, and to date, not a single one has answered the question other than saying, “He’s not Trump.” Now that is truly sad!
~ What’s next? ~
Our government was designed with an inherent tension between branches, especially between the executive and the legislative, so hopefully we’ll have a divided government come January 5th. If not, we’re really in trouble. Meanwhile assuming we do have divided government, I believe Congress will muddle through, and I trust the Court; but my real apprehension is about foreign policy—the domain of the executive.
As former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates opined, “Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” And that’s what should frighten all of us. Some say the president-elect is addled; I won’t go that far but I don’t expect him put America first. Just like Willy Loma in Death of a Salesman, Joe Biden doesn’t want to be liked, he wants to be well-liked and for 47-years, Joe has been a go-along to get-along kind of guy.
Four years is a long time and it’s likely we’ll meet with an international crisis of some nature involving Russia, North Korea, Iran or China. And frankly, I find it less than comforting that a 78-year-old man who’s lost more than a step or two, will be negotiating with the likes of Putin, Kim, the Mullahs, and President Xi. I fear it will be a long four years.
Quote of the day: “Never judge someone’s character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting aspersions.” S. Kassem