Over the next four years we’ll all be making comparisons between the new Donald Trump presidency and the soon to be departed Barack Obama presidency. At first we will all carry our current partiality to that judgement, but eventually the differences will become so stark that no matter which presidency is preferred a spade will have to be called a spade – circumnavigating the facts will be ineffectual for all sides. Even the most deluded among us will have to face facts.
Some of what’s to be recognized can be conceded to from the get go; Barack Obama has been a president with dignity, grace, intellect, and a measure humility. Although he was unable to rally the America people against a do-nothing Congress, he has had a successful tenure as president without even a hint of scandal.
Donald Trump by everything exhibited in his 68 years as a private citizen – his year as a Republican Party presidential candidate, his ten months as presidential nominee, and his nearly two months as president-elect – has exhibited none of the qualities mentioned above save maybe intellect. Trump has, however, been able to assemble a large gang of the American people to his election cause despite his exhibitions of blustering, bullying, boasting, self-aggrandizement, and being a sexual braggart, but will these qualities will allow him to govern effectively? So while we await the answer to that question, is it time to concede that the tone of the presidency will be at half mast.
Barack Obama built a government that came close to resembling the people they represent – women, gays, Latinos, white men, blacks, Asians, and the disabled. Obama’s governmental team looked like those who voted for Obama. Trump has assembled a government of white male generals and white billionaires, who may also look like the people they will represent, but not the people who voted for Trump – a difference with a distinction.
Barack Obama, who is half white and half black but has no genetic African American heritage, choose right to identify as African American because even in his greatest achievement those with whom he is connected by genetics abandoned, rejected, and persecuted him and his presidency. Obama’s only connection to African Americans is that he claims (and loves) us and we claim (and love) him. Our under twelve year old children, as all of America’s children of that age, only know an America with a black president. Now they will see what an America with a white president looks and sounds like. Somehow the contrast between Obama and Trump will trickle down to them. And those of them who have received any training on proper morals and manners will favor what they have seen in Mr. Obama over what they will see in Mr. Trump.
Poor and working-class people will compare how well they fared under the Affordable Healthcare Act that President Obama championed and what Mr. Trump does with healthcare – appeal, appeal and replace, or just continue to kick the question around for political gain.
President Barack Obama ran a scandal free administration for eight years. The people in his administration behaved every bit as noble as he behaved; that kind of leadership emanates at the top and oozes down. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has nominated people to head government agencies whose functions the nominee opposes. His nominee for the Interior Department is an anti-environmentalist; his pick for Energy is a man who wants to abolish the department if he can remember it. The lady to run the Department of Education has long advocated a lesser role for public education. There is no doubt that Jeff Sessions, who is nominated for the Justice Department will under staff and short budget the Civil Rights Division, bottling up discrimination cases brought to the Justice Department, causing hardships for not only African Americans, but also for women, gays, Latinos, Asians, and the disabled – this will cause the earliest of the Trump administration’s many scandals.
The future can’t be seen into clearly enough just yet to envision how huge a deal the Russian guidance in the American election of Donald Trump will turn out to be. American politicians have dropped referring to Russia as “Communist Russia” maybe because the Russian re-reign has handed over all of the valuable state owned properties to the oligarchy, the Russian people live under Communism but capitalism has reached the ruling classes. So American politicians no longer warn the American people about the pitfalls of communism; perhaps they are preparing the American people for the acceptance of Communist Russia as a future partner in world affairs. Whereas Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama fought against Russian influence in the world, the president-elect seems to want to yield to it – a difference with a distinction.
One thing is clear to me now; the electorate can 180 in four years and much of how that turns will depend on the contrast the American voter see between the performance of the Obama presidency and what they see in these next four years of the Donald Trump production, if, indeed it lasts that long.