NOTE: Events seem to be moving so fast. I think we are moving into a dictatorship here in the United States of America — and they said it couldn’t happen here. I will likely have another post today. When I wrote this current post the full implications of the travel or immigration ban had not sunk in yet. This dictatorship can be stopped if responsible people in government, irrespective of party affiliation, consider their country first. They need to move now, however.
I generally prefer a strong president. And that certainly is what Donald Trump in his first week of office thinks he is no doubt. And to bolster that feeling he is holding the Republican Party hostage — I mean he won the presidency by the rules, and even if he did not get the majority vote, he did get a sizeable vote. And he did this under the banner of the Republican Party (with some reluctance until he seemed inevitable).
And to top that he has seemingly sent the Democratic Party into the wilderness. It is all but powerless at this time in both houses of congress and holds very few state houses anymore.
Commentator David Brooks of the New York Times and a regular on the PBS News Hour offered that Trump is really not a Republican or Democrat or of any party — he just used the GOP to his advantage.
And I would say that he does seem to have the GOP regulars confused and disoriented.
His first week of office, just past, was governance and foreign policy by tweet and executive orders.
It is preferable I believe to have a strong leader (not Trump maybe, but a strong person, male or female) in charge. I wish we could swap Trump for Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom. She speaks intelligently and sounds reasonable (don’t know if I would agree with all of her ideas). But at the same time we have something called the “separation of powers” between the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) which is supposed to create a system of checks and balances to prevent one branch from taking over and to prevent a dictatorship.
Now the modern history is that executives, often in conjunction with their party in congress, have done their best to pack the Supreme Court in an effort to use it as a tool, that is to select judges they think will render opinions favorable to their way of thinking. That does not always work. Justices have a habit of being not always predictable and of being independent and they cannot be fired, only impeached. No U.S. Supreme Court justices have been removed via impeachment. One did resign under threat of impeachment.
But anyway I would hope, even though Trump won on the Republican ticket and even though the GOP has control of congress, that the legislative branch who is not in lockstep with him on all issues, that is not in private (in public they are in a quandary), will not simply roll over and play dead or back down in fear they will anger Trump’s following. They have their own home constituents, many of whom will likely suffer from many of Trump’s proposals if brought to fruition or who at least don’t approve of his policies.
And finally, I give credit to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim (what, the third richest man in the world?) for explaining that Trump is a negotiator but not an experienced policy maker and that policy cannot be made by tweets. Slim, it is said, prefers face-to-face meetings or the telephone. He reportedly does not have a twitter account.
And then about business people running public policy:
Government is not a business and is not meant to be. The duty of democratic (small d)government is to serve the people, even when in doing so no profit is made. However that does not mean governments should bankrupt the treasury — of course they have to be fiscally responsible.
But one person’s fiscally responsible is another’s boondoggle.
Anyway, hopefully there will be checks on our new strong leader’s power: the other two branches of government, and most important, an informed citizenry, who can keep up on the issues via a free and unrestricted but responsible press.
The president of course has enacted a travel ban on all refugees entering the U.S. and the details seem sketchy or unclear as I write this, but apparently there are already reports of people who have green cards being denied entry back in and people doing scientific work, and other hapless travelers (due to confusion over enforcement). I’d have to digest all this — but in light of world terrorism we need to take strong measures, but there needs to be care in doing so. While it is said that we have not had terrorist attacks from people coming from out of country since 9/11 (ours have been home grown) that is not entirely true. As an example, the woman in the San Bernardino attack came from Pakistan (and both man and woman had visited Saudi Arabia), and others I would think may have been directed from abroad and we likely have people who have slipped in who are plotting. All the more reason we need comprehensive immigration reform — both Republicans and Democrats have failed in this. We need legislative action on this, not just policy by fiat from the president. But he claims his bold actions is what gets people talking. Congress needs to do more than talk and it needs to do more than cower before Trump (both Democrats and Republicans). It’s early, though. But things seem to be moving at warp speed.