Been through a quite a few presidents now in my adult life.
But waiting for Donald Trump to officially become president is like waiting for a ticking time bomb to go off.
There was Richard Nixon. I was not a Nixon supporter. And toward the end there were concerns that he might have gone a little off his rocker and that he might do anything — surround the White House with troops to hold on to the presidency he was losing due to the Watergate scandal, do something with the nukes to pull a victory out of defeat in Vietnam, declare martial law to put down the protestors and protect himself from being removed from office. I don’t know if there was any substance to these concerns, except several of those who were in his inner circle have claimed such. I myself at the time heard reports in the news and thought that he might well declare martial law. There were riots and public disobedience brought on by a combination of racial strife and civil rights concerns and opposition to the Vietnam War.
(Vietnam has to have been our nation’s greatest blunder. We meant well but somehow we lost our way, but the issues around that fiasco are too complex to dismiss in one or two sentences I admit.)
I’m not going through all the presidents since then, but I will say I felt Jimmy Carter was hopeless. His presidency was held hostage by Americans being held hostage in Iran. All he could do it seemed was to sit in his Rose Garden contemplating. He did order the military to perform a surprise rescue mission but it ended in deadly failure — that was not necessarily Carter’s fault but it seemed to paint a picture of the impotency of his presidency and of the U.S. as a faltering once great power, now held at bay by a hostile and much smaller Middle Eastern nation.
I was not worried, just disgusted with the whole thing.
And there was Ronald Reagan, a hero to so many. I was never impressed with him, except that I thought he had a good, dignified presidential look, and he was a gentleman. And I would say he made the right moves in negotiating with the old Soviet Union, which was staggering under its own weight of the failures of socialism and a totalitarian government and its own Vietnam — its war with Afghanistan (ironically which would eventually become a trap for the U.S.).
Bill Clinton. Love/hate. In the end, just tired of the Clintons — Mr. and Mrs. But in the recent election I recall hearing some Hillary speeches I thought were well done. But good words are only part of the process of getting elected and this time around they meant less than in previous times.
(But did I vote for Hillary? I certainly did not vote for Trump. And now I almost sound like those people they say voted for Trump but won’t admit it, except maybe in the reverse. This is getting complicated. Why do people say how they voted anyway? Isn’t is supposed to be a secret ballot?)
Barack Obama: Yup I voted for him twice (and there I go disclosing my secret ballot). I think it was more out of the fact I was voting against the Republicans. Like I have always said I am perfectly willing to vote Republican — they just have to give me a reason.
But, except maybe for the last days of Nixon, I have never felt the sense of foreboding I have now. And really this is worse. Nixon, a little wobbly at the end, was a conventional politician based in reality. Trump defies reality or redefines it.
Trump, a blow-hard real estate mogul, whose positions (if you can even call them that) change in mid-sentence, is just about to take the oath of office.
He is like nothing or no one I have ever seen in politics. He is foul-mouthed, sometimes almost inarticulate with his extreme brevity and clipped sentences that lack any eloquence, vile, and most of all unpredictable verging on the irrational. Oh, and he spreads fake news stories either because he is too lazy to verify them or he seeks to confuse things (or both). And due to our system, although he appears to be indeed legitimately elected, he has no solid mandate, being so far behind in the popular vote (Clinton garnered 66 million votes, 3 million more than Trump), but of course he got more Electoral College votes by winning in key battleground states and taking advantage of winner-take-all in the Electoral College.
And as I continue to write this tome late Thursday afternoon zero hour is now less than 24 hours away. Scary. Maybe the world won’t end even then. I mean it might take a while. Who knows? We might even survive. Trump assures us that we will in fact be so proud of him — and that seems to stretch my imagination.
No one knows what he will do or how he will act. Professional observers kept saying or hoping that he would go into general-election mode rather than stay in the down and dirty primary election mode, but he did not. And then surely after being elected and just waiting for the inauguration he would become presidential. Well he has not.
His own party, or at least the one he latched onto to win the presidency, does not know whether to be giddy with victory or nervous about what he will really do.
I think Trump has the Republican Party and the nation and the free world held hostage.
A smooth, non-threatening, and even conciliatory speech Friday would help calm nerves possibly, but that is not his usual style, and one speech will not eliminate all the bad will.
Yeah I alternate between concern and all-out dread.
And still another thought I add now:
That is one more criticism of Trump: his penchant for constantly praising himself is annoying and unseemly and way over the top, even for a politician. You don’t have to be into psychology to detect something unsettling there, an insecurity, a need for constant reassurance. Why of why does he have to be the one to be the leader of the free world? But it’s too late folks.
Some possible insight into Trump’s electoral success with enough voters to win was brought out in an interview by the German publication Der Spiegel. Newt Gingrich, a confidant of Trump, was asked if he recalled when he knew Trump would win:
Gingrich: Oh yes, very early. There was this debate in August 2015 with the TV anchor Megyn Kelly, and everybody in the elite said he had lost that fight. But people on the internet, by about 60 to 70 percent, said he had won. I thought, If the gap between the elites and the average citizens is that big, something unusual is happening. The country is fed up with political correctness, and it is fed up with government that doesn’t work. It’s fed up with weakness being interpreted as wisdom. It’s pretty straightforward.
I think he was talking about that incident in which Kelly asked him about his history of crass behavior with and comments against women. Trump in his little boyish and bully way later implied Kelly was just being bitchy because it was that time of the month. But yeah, Trump voters no doubt just want their problems solved individually without all the niceties of getting along with each other and the complexities that real-life issues always involve. Okay fine. But a loose cannon with the power that is his alone in this government to end the whole world with the order to use nukes — I mean he likes to cut through the bull crap — he might just think nuke-em.