Monday, January 23, 2017

Concerning the President

When I was in college I watched every single reality show that came on TV. The Amazing Race, The Bachelor, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, and yes, even the Littlest Groom. Shame enters my soul as I remember. Of course, The Apprentice was on my list of "must-watch TV" and if you would have told me twelve years ago that the same man who oversaw a contentious board room would be my president one day, would have cried tears of fear and dread (Okay, let's be honest. I would have laughed hysterically and then winked at my George W Bush cutout.) Now however, reality is really and truly upon us and Mr. Trump is indeed our president. I enjoyed watching the inauguration. My favorite moments from the day include:

  • Travis Green and Chrisette Michele performing "Intentional."


  • Melania's Dress. PERFECTION.

  • And George W. fighting with his poncho

However, now that the inauguration is behind us and Donald Trump is officially the 45th president of the United States, I'm wrestling with how I should proceed. The 2016 campaign came dangerously close to turning me off to politics forever.  In order to recover I've kind of checked out since election day and instead committed myself to finishing Gilead, Hillbilly Elegy and The Way of Kings. But I can't stay in hiding forever and now that Donald Trump is my president I have had to seriously consider the lens through which I view the next four years.

There are some sad facts to consider. There has been much discussion whether Mr. Trump's persona as a candidate would differ from Mr. Trump's persona as president and the past two months have shown us that the argument that Trump would put his brashness and insults behind him once elected was a falsehood. One can hope that a strong-willed advisor will wrestle his phone from his hands, but as Eomer of Rohan once said, "Don't trust to hope. It has forsaken these lands." So what do we do in the face of president who is wholly different from any president we've had before? 

We must be kind.

Oh, more than anything we must be kind. I love politics. I love thinking about and discussing politics, but outside of my blog I rarely do. I have friends on Facebook who I mostly disagree with, but who post very interesting ideas. However, I so intensely loathe Facebook political conversations and their anger, insults, and unfairness that I can't bring myself to engage. That's a pity. That's not what supports democracy.

We must be educated about our beliefs.

One of the most jarring moments of the Republican convention this summer (and there were many) was the moment when Ivanka Trump called for federal initiatives to ensure paid maternity leave and increased tax breaks for child care costs. Both of these initiatives fly in the face of conservative principles that support limited government and the free market. Instead of her speech being met with confused silence she was met with thunderous applause and cheers. The moment was shocking, and it was educational. How many of us really consider the reasons we support the initiatives that we do? Is it because our favorite politician suggested them or is it because we support it based upon a well thought out out commitment to ideological principles? Donald Trump's history with the Republican party is short and while some of the policies and actions he supports are conservative, some are not. We can't let the excitement of a Republican president blind us to the reality of the policies that he is proposing. Support what aligns with conservative principles and push back against those that do not.

We must be judicious.

Just because Donald Trump may offend us in many ways, doesn't mean that he must offend us in all ways. We must keep our emotions in check to ensure that we don't unjustly criticize the president in one area because we are frustrated with his actions in other areas. Republicans and conservatives failed miserably at this during the Obama administration. We differed from him on many things and that convinced us that we must differ from him in all things. We allowed our frustration at his policies and behavior to blind us to areas of his presidency that were worth supporting and applauding. In many ways, conservatives have helped to create our current political climate of anger, distrust, and disunity. Those of us who are wary of a Trump presidency need to learn from our mistakes over the last 8 years and forge a new path that allows for both critique and praise.

Let the Trump era begin!