The United States under a new president – by Rusty Walker
I have until now refrained from commenting on the presidential race due to the vitriolic outcry from both sides of the American parties. It is now time to become one again as a nation, as was the plea from the losing side, Obama and Clinton’s post-election conciliatory speeches.
We have no monarch. We have a president, contained by congress. The overreaction pre & post-election has been more exaggeration than in the recent past. Nevertheless, it is part of the process of Americans’ free right of speech. Some of my friends and relatives in and out of the country think that we think we are a Democracy. No. “Democracy,” is “the rule of the people.” Perhaps synonymous with majority rule.
There is also such a thing as the “Tyranny of the Majority,” which we have fortunately avoided: We are not a Democracy, we are a Republic with checks and balances. After the Constitutional Convention, 1787, outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” And, keep it we will.
The difference is important, because, the United States is a “republic” [from Latin res publica, “the public thing(s),” or more simply “the law(s)].” No one president can change this. The Founding Fathers made clear “we the people” are, “endowed with certain unalienable Rights.” That is, unrestrained majority rights could be violated as easily as an unrestrained king or monarch. Our president is no monarch. So, there is no need to panic and make all kinds of exaggerated racial and biased claims that may come to pass because your choice for a president didn’t get the votes. “Awfulizing” and the rhetoric of disaster won’t happen, by virtue of sound government controls.
We would do well to remember that campaign rhetoric is not the same as policies established when in office. Obama had promised his first action, “I will close Guantanamo Bay.” After eight years of Obama in office, Gitmo remains open. Campaign trail speeches are merely “soundbites,” and press-catching phrases that are not policy. “I will build a wall and make the Mexicans pay for it,” said, Trump. This really more likely means, “I’m against illegal immigration and will complete the building of the wall.” Bernie Sanders, “Free education for all,” is easy to say, but unrealistic when the math never really added up – you can create statistics to show what you want them to show- statistics are not facts.” (A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age, Levitin, 2016). So, what President-elect Trump will do when in office is a less dramatic possibility than campaign trail-speak.
I tend to think the pick of the American people this election was the curse of an uninformed majority. Maybe selecting on the basis of wilful ignorance in the face of both candidates with problems. Hillary’s pay-for-play to Saudis, illegal server containing classified documents and Benghazi failure causing the lives of Americans, or Trump’s thoughtless and mocking remarks to other candidates, and his appeal more stemming from celebrity cult of personality, an unknown political neophyte. But, his win confirms the publics’ desire for no more “politics as usual,” and a clear mandate against opaque, crony politics and against disingenuous politicians.
This choice for president, does not change solid government controls. Our democratic/republic remains the best government of federal and state’s rights in the world for a country of our huge size. [(Socialism may work for smaller counties, but not so for our 300 million diverse people who do not want the government telling us how to live. And, take note, that socialism is not working for Europe and the EU is a failed experiment (always there for the intended purpose of benefiting Germany’s need for exports alone). Brexit in context]. We act the part of a privileged nation, even as terrorism continues to grow. We must not pretend that we do not have enemies that want us extinguished. That said, the fear that Trump will do as he pleases, “Bomb them into extinction,” will not be the reality. He will confer with the JCS and military leaders will guide his actions. Presidents that ignore congress can be Impeached (President Andrew Johnson).
Americans in our daily lives, tend to be self-centered and complaisant, even though there is a need to address domestic and foreign issues seriously, sensibly and collaborate with other nations in the face of global threats, so our decisions are tempered by the lessons of unintended consequences; consequences all too evident in our recent history of expectations of a short war following 9/11, that turned into over a decade of war in two countries. Bad strategic planning followed. Leaving too soon while declaring al Qaeda “on the run, and degraded – a politically-motivated myth- compounding the mistake, thus, creating a vacuum for ISIS. Americans judge success of war too often by our own high or low combat fatalities, rarely considering the number of innocents killed in collateral damage in those very foreign countries by “Shock and Awe” tactics. We often lack perspective: the 7000+ U.S. troop losses in the War on Terrorism is indeed mournful, but, compare this to Vietnam’s 58,209 U.S. combat fatalities. Perspective in times of war, in president’s actions, indeed, in life itself, is important to maintain clarity in times of change.
Citizen awareness is as important as presidential awareness. I have researched sufficiently to have been referred to by my past professor’s as “a scholar in comparative religions and history,” and I have written and been published extensively on essays covering the good and the bad of American foreign policy in geopolitical context in American Thinker and Let Us Build Pakistan and the Shia Forum. This has taught me lessons I had not expected: Lessons learned from Shia and Sunni Muslims and their perspective on American foreign policy, and their own internal problems. Please remember, that we have made egregious mistakes under both Democratic and Republican presidents. That good people with the best of intentions can make such egregious mistakes makes clarity of purpose and holding our government accountable of pivotal importance.
Hopefully we will have learned lessons, or as my friend who is a retired U.S. Army Colonel, and professor at the War College wrote in his book, “Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War,” 2015, Joseph Collins, “What did we gain? What did we lose? What costs did the United States pay for its response to 9/11, particularly from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq? How should the answers to these questions inform senior military leaders’ contributions to future national security and national military strategy? ….Those leaders must then ensure that the lessons are passed down to succeeding generations and applied under appropriate circumstances.” President Trump will be the Commander in Chief of a U.S. military that has experience and knowledge in current Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, which he has stated he will be guided.
We continue to examine our place on the learning curve, and we as a country have learned by what we did wrong and what we did right. We have had all kinds of presidents and members of congress throughout history; good, bad, or indifferent. Sustained under U.S. depressions, world wars, and unnecessary wars, and have always rebounded, stronger and mindful that we are indeed a young country still learning.
I’ve referred to us as “a huge, global adolescent” as a metaphor, for our need to learn from our domestic and foreign rights and wrongs. Sometimes too quick on the trigger, sometimes too slow and thoughtless in response. We are learning. This president will learn, as well. Checks and balances control the presidency, so those of you concerned about the high flying presidential race rhetoric taken as fact, please relax. There are no Kings in the United States.
The Founding Fathers put restraints on the Executive Power. After the Civil War, “these” United States, became, “THE United States.” It remains the country with the greatest natural resources in the world. When voting we become volatile and vociferous; when elections are over, we need to calm the waters of contention and work together. It is now time to put political back-biting away, as it tends to obfuscate the clarity we need. The Founding Fathers outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, a free country with state’s rights in-tact.
The Bill of Rights and Amendments to the Constitution have teeth, and minorities are protected. So, please remember when you start raging against the machine, we are ultimately that machine. There are laws and the rule of law in this country, for example, regardless of President Trump, the protections remain. To exaggerate is not helpful. Phenomena such as “Black Lives Matter,” when we actually had a black sitting president instead of taking the leadership roll of bringing the people of all races together, inserted himself into local, city-level crime, even when more black-on-black crime than white on black crime existed, unnecessarily exacerbated racial tensions. One would hope we can get past baiting each other. As my Homicide Detective cousin, Dave Walker can attest, many blacks that matter are part of police “Blue lives that matter,” and Asians, Native Americans, and Jews, and Muslims, et. al. serving in Law Enforcement in every American city.
Many minorities are on the police force and investigative detectives, not to mention lawyers and judges, some holding the highest government positions in the U.S.. Further, in the panic I am hearing, fear not, the LGBT community remains protected. Same-sex still will marry, and prejudice while in every facet of world communities, we have less in this country than most, and laws to protect minorities. We will still have immigration. Many will be patriotic workers upon which this country was built. Illegal immigration is not the same as immigration. So, there is no need to over-emote. “Obamacare, out? Paul Ryan has a Government Health Care plan that was never given proper attention while Obama was in office. So, I doubt Trump will “fundamentally change” the United States, as Obama claimed, nor will Trump throw out all underclass healthcare.
There is a document by which we live. The Constitution abides. The United States of America is not a Democracy, and never has been. Like much of what we say colloquially (We say, “America” to refer to U.S citizens, though we fully understand there is a South America. Lighten up world.). The U.S. as a “Democratic country” is a misnomer, and merely vernacular for what we are- we are a “Republic,” closer to a Democratic-Republic. All kinds of presidents managed to sustain this country, and so it will still be; many people with diverse ideas and freedom to express them, and overwhelmingly good people- good citizens. Let us all celebrate the United States and those of you that have traveled the most, understand the high living standard of the U.S..
The United States remains the best world hope. Just remember, as history confirms, when we are attacked, we come together. We are family. Family may quarrel, but in the end, we take the high road when we stick together. To Hillary Clinton’s redeeming credit, she said this morning, “Last night I called and congratulated Donald Trump on his victory, and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. And, I hope he will be a successful president for the sake of this country.” “…I still believe in America, and if you do, we must accept this result…we owe him an open mind and chance to lead.” Well said, and precisely the American way: cooperation between parties and the differences we have had since 1776.
I was waiting to hear what you had to say about the presidency. As a younger person in America, I feel right now like the world is burning around me. There were a lot of hateful fear-mongering people who were emboldened by Trump becoming president and it felt like hate won. This is one of those instance where I hope the system itself doesn’t fail, that we don’t somehow let him or Pence fulfill their hateful promises of building walls, reducing rights for LGBT community, etc. It is nerve-wracking to know that we have a Republican president, an extremist Republican VP while we also have Red House/Senate. History proves that in another couple of years House/Senate will flip to blue, but in those two years I feel like a lot of us are holding our breath and hoping we can limp through without things spinning out of control.
In short, thank you so much for this article. This is helping me take a step back and look at things objectively.