It’s instructive to go back a few months and re-read what writers said about the pending Clinton-Trump campaign.
It’s instructive to go back a few months and re-read what writers and prognosticators said about the pending Clinton-Trump presidential campaign. Doing so is a lesson in their utter lack of prognostic skill.
Even the good ones like political writer George Will said, as quoted in the Oct. 21, 2016, edition of “The Week” — only two weeks before Election Day — “Trump’s inevitable defeat will be so ugly and complete that ‘he can simplify the GOP’s quadrennial exercise of writing its post-campaign autopsy.’”
Yet the quadrennial exercise of post-campaign autopsy is not the Republicans but the Democrats to write. Their hand-wringing, political sobbing, and disbelief is so profound as to remind me of just four years ago when it was likely the Obama administration, it was forecast by similar prognosticators, was destined to be another Jimmy Carter one-term presidency, given the lackluster state of our economy and the poor recovery from the recession. Yet Obama won.
The recurring facts of GOP and Democrat trials and tribulations bring to mind the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 1:4-11, which goes, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever … What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
There’d probably be less anger in our nation if we all remembered the truth of the biblical guidance, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”
Another truth we could stand to remember: the news media — all of it regardless of its political persuasion — thrives on conflict, negativism, bad news, and the possibilities of cataclysmic events that rarely, if ever, actually come true. They like and cultivate anger and vitriol.
Yet most people — probably 99 percent of the media who are so critical of Trump — have never led any organization of any size, let alone an organization the size and complexity of the executive branch of the United States of America. Things never come out of the “chute” (with the possible exception of a healthy baby) perfectly. Things must have a chance to form up ... to find equilibrium ... to find their natural course ... to ultimately find success.
A personal experience: as commanding officer of a meager 500-man U.S. Marine helicopter squadron, I was as screwed up as “Hogan’s Goat” (as is said in the Marines) until I figured out “who’s who in the zoo” and could finally manage to find my rear end with both hands. Finding my rear end took me at least a year.
And if I was ever a good commanding officer, it was only at the end of my term when I had finally learned from the lessons of my many failures.
Trump’s been in office just more than a month. He has no previous experience in government or the military. He deserves at least that year I had to find his own rear end. And in his case, I think he actually deserves at least two years to get his feet on the ground and achieve some success given the size and complexities of the U.S. government, an outcome we should all hope and pray he realizes.
Presidents Bush were lambasted by the left and Clinton before them by the right and Regan before him by the left and Carter before him by the right and Nixon by the left and Johnson and Kennedy by the right and so on and so forth.
As a kid, I remember singing and skipping my way home from 4th grade — FOURTH GRADE! — with my friends singing the following little political ditty I picked up from who knows where: “Nixon in the White House ready to be elected, Kennedy in the garbage can ready to be collected.”
Kennedy got elected President in 1960 by a small margin despite our singing, and though he was Catholic (the first one) and therefore hated by many for his “Catholicness,” a situation not incomparable to Trump’s small margin of victory and his “Trumpness.”
A vitriolic Washington Post headline from this past week read, “Trump’s Cabinet has to work as a cleanup crew,” the headline’s image portraying cabinet stable hands cleaning up after an incontinent and incompetent horse.
No kidding. Trump is trying to lead a new presidency with a new cabinet, whose composition is not even completed yet in the first month of his presidency. Why should anyone expect anything different than turmoil? With its built in checks and balances, the Founding Fathers intended nothing less in our government than inefficiencies and disorder, actually a good thing for our liberties.
So President Trump needs a break from the extreme criticism. There are going to be fits and starts with anything as difficult as leading an organization as complex as the United States of America, just as there have since our nation’s founding.
And as my favorite music group the Moody Blues’ “Nothing Changes” lyrics go: “Nothing changes and nothing stays the same. And life is still a simple game.”
Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.