With this final column for another year, it’s always nice to look forward with anticipation of prospects for a new year.
It’s hard to do this year.
I accept that Donald Trump will be our new President. This isn’t the first time my vote went to the loser of a presidential election. No, that has happened numerous times since I first entered the poll as a 21-year-old in 1964 (yes, some of you may not remember a time when 18-year-olds were deemed too young to vote).
What concerns me about Donald Trump is not that he’s a narcissistic, self-admitted sexual predator.
No, what concerns me most is what type of White House we will endure for the next four years. He campaigned to “drain the system,” yet those same millionaires he railed against will be an integral part of his cabinet. He promised on “day one” to do away with Obamacare, but he’s backed off that. He promised that on his first day in office he’d appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton (remember the T-shits and signs that boldly read, “Hillary for Prison”? but now says “she’s suffered enough.”
He promised he’d build a wall on the Mexican border and that “Mexico will pay for it” to cheers from his backers. It appears now that promise will not be fulfilled.
He told us he knew “more about Isis than the Generals do, believe me” and now he says he’s “bored” with the daily intelligence briefings because he’s “a smart man” and doesn’t need to be told those things. He promised that he’d tell us about his plans to divest his interests in the “family business” in December; that date came and went and is now “scheduled” for some time in January. If anything, Mr. Trump has even closer ties now with the likes of Russia and Turkey, where he has luxury hotels.
He was the first presidential candidate who refused to release his tax returns in more than 40 years. We still don’t know exactly what those returns would reveal, but it’s quite frightening (and should be to all of us) to speculate on what he’s hiding in the vast Trump Empire.
Those things, and more, are all troubling. They should bring concern among all Americans, not just those who did not vote for Mr. Trump. America and its future are at stake.
Yet this vulgar New Yorker somehow charmed even the conservative Christian element in the nation to believe that he was their “savior.” He did it with a simple promise to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court who would side with the anti-abortionists across the country. That vacancy should have been filled by a judge appointed by Barack Obama; however, Republicans in the Senate refused to hold hearings, re-writing long-standing rules, spelled out in the Constitution. That Trump promise was obviously only a ploy to get more votes; he’s been quoted in the past that “in many ways, I’m more of a Democrat than a Republican.”
Despite all of that, what he’s doing now and what his “friends” are doing and saying has me even more concerned.
Already he’s proving that he’s the first President Elect who’s at ease involving himself directly into our nation’s foreign policy. Much of that comes through his Twitter account. Apparently, for the first time in our history we will have a President more at ease with middle-of-the night Tweets than with meetings of highly-educated intelligence folks.
We have no way of knowing, but should be concerned, with just what one of those Trump Tweets may cause down the line.
As much as I fear and dread four years of Donald Trump, I’m even more appalled by the statements of some of his closest advisors. Just this week, for example, Carl Paladino, a former Republican candidate for governor and an advisor to Trump said that among his wishes for the new year was to see “Barack Obama catch mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford and die” and that Michelle Obama would “return to being male” and be “let loose” somewhere in Zimbabwe.
Paladino is not the first Republican backer of Trump to utter such un-American racist remarks in the days and weeks before and after the election.
Perhaps many of today’s voters are too young to remember the days before Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. I’m not. I remember the church bombings in Alabama, the marches and murders of civil rights workers in Alabama, Mississippi and others. I remember Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus fighting attempts to de-segregate the high school in Little Rock; I remember Alabama Governor George Wallace standing in the door of the admissions building at the University of Alabama and defying both the government and the Alabama National Guard.
Perhaps, if you’re too young to remember those things, you’ve seen them recreated on film. I hope so. And, if you have, I hope they had meaning for you.
First hand, I saw the segregated south when I drove from Iowa to Georgia in 1966 while in the Army. I saw signs on public water fountains that read “White only,” and I saw signs on restaurants pointing around the corner and to the rear that read “Colored entrance.” I read of the discrimination that the early Major League baseball players faced, especially Jackie Robinson when he became the first black Major Leaguer, when they traveled with their teams. St. Louis was, perhaps the worst of those cities, as black players had to find separate lodging and separate meals from their teammates.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope Donald Trump can be a strong President for all Americans. The fact that his support, however, comes loudly from groups of white supremacists around the nation, gives me cause for worry.
Please, Mr. Trump, prove me wrong.