Part of what we said here three years ago on the occasion of Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States bears repeating:
What history will think of Trump’s presidency remains to be seen.
Each of us retains the right to support Trump or oppose him, but it’s time for the tantrums, the sour grapes and the hysteria to stop (or at least simmer down for a while) so we can get on with the business of being America ... which already is challenging enough.
If anything, the tantrums, sour grapes and hysteria have gotten worse, and they are not limited to one person, one group of people or one political party.
The impeachment spectacle that played out in what used to be called “The Hallowed Halls of Congress” will have only one result: Trump-haters and Trump-supporters won’t change their minds, and those who didn’t care before it started won’t care now that it’s all over.
All over but the shouting, that is, and you can bet that will go on until Election Day and even beyond.
Some are complaining that the Senate impeachment trial was rigged. And the impeachment hearing in the House was not? It was the same during the travesty surrounding the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, only the party roles were reversed, with the House being controlled by Republicans and the Senate by Democrats.
The extent to which some people can be sore losers is astonishing. Even before Trump was inaugurated, they were hunting a way to remove him from office.
They insist that virtually everything he’s done as president is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal, proclaiming “Not MY president!” (which the Constitution they want to protect says he is). Others insist Trump has done no wrong, and they are no more credible.
Republicans and Democrats who dislike this ugly state of affairs are reluctant to speak up, lest they be punished for their disloyalty to the party.
Democrats admitted they were unlikely to get the 67 Senate votes needed to remove Trump from office. Were they just “proving a point,” as some claim? Or was inflaming the electorate against the president their true purpose?
If it was the latter, opinion is divided as to whether their efforts will succeed and Trump will be ousted, or they will backfire and not only will Trump be reelected, but Republicans may retake the House and strengthen their grip on the Senate.
Eventually, all this will be over. Rational people in this country and elsewhere will say, “If America can survive all that and keep going, it must be pretty strong. Other countries fight wars over less.”
Some new political crisis will come along, and this episode will become an unpleasant memory succeeded by an unpleasant reality.
The last three years have brought out the worst in many people, but others went on with their lives — either disgusted by politics and wishing there could be a better way, or paying little attention.
If there is a better way, nobody knows what it is. Even at their worst, America’s political parties tend to offset each other, and that is good.
We need political parties. For one thing, they give ordinary people the opportunity to become involved in the noble and important process of governing America. Most of those who govern at any level aren’t arrogant, self-serving jackasses (as are some in both parties). They are decent, honest, patriotic people who want to serve the country they love.
Political parties also provide an arena in which debate can take place. If we ever stop arguing with each other and start thinking the same way, THAT is when we’ll be in trouble.
Heaven help America if a single political philosophy ever seizes permanent control of it, particularly if it consists of the extremism that members of every political party in our history have been capable of demonstrating.
Moderates who are willing to compromise can act as a counterbalance to the firebrands. Most Americans are moderates, and it is high time for them to assume better control of politics.
Regardless of who is president, someone will despise him (or her, when a woman eventually is elected to the office). Can you imagine what would have happened to somebody who publicly said the type of things about Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler that people have said about Trump or most of his predecessors?
This is America. Freedom of dissent is one of the things that keeps it from turning into another Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.
Trump is NOT a dictator. The fate of democracy is NOT hanging in the balance. It’s endured far worse. If Abraham Lincoln (who many people thought was a dictator) were still alive, he could tell you about that.
The Republic will survive.