This is background to my series of posts on what's happening in the White House.
I. First, I’m a historian. I don’t get bent out of shape by “current events.” When, for example, all around me were wailing about the election (and then re-election) of George Bush, I shrugged. He wasn’t going to destroy the republic. I didn’t want him, but I didn’t fear the future.
Now, however, I am terrified. And I am compelled to do something. I’ll never forgive myself if Donald Trump and Steve Bannon destroy the republic and I did nothing. (Of course I’ll likely be dead, but you get my drift.) Thus the series of readers' digests.
As for my background and politics: I’m a pragmatic, centrist First-Amendmentist. A category I just invented.
What’s that mean: More than anything else, I value the republic and the constitution that makes it possible. What makes an American an American is the consititution. Without it, we’re just another crew of oppressed human beings, millions among billions over the past thousands of years.
Let me repeat: I understand that the freedoms I enjoy are possible only because we Americans abide by the Constitution. It is the foundation of the republic. It’s what makes us who we are.
Thus my pragmatism: I worry far less about specifics than I do about fundamentals. If someone puts country and constitution first, I can live with the rest.
I voted the first time in 1972 (I think). Over the years, I’ve voted for Republicans and Democratics. Until 2008. That year, I vowed never again to vote for a Republican. And in 2016, I vowed the same about Democrats.
I also live in Iowa, where presidential politicking starts three years before the election (I’m not kidding). Waaay back when, I’d hoped that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t run. I didn’t believe she could win.
So I watched the Republican primary contest with great interest. I hoped Jeb Bush would get the nomination. But once he was gone, I realized we were going to get a crazy. And we did.
From the moment Trump got the nomination, I assumed he would win. I didn’t want him to win. But . . . the die was cast.
I enjoyed the torture of one brief moment of hope on October 7, 2016. That was the day of the "grab ‘em by the pussy" tape. For about ten days, I thought Clinton had a chance. I honestly believed that practicing Christians would refuse to vote for Trump. I thought they would stay home.
Obviously, I was wrong. (I’m noted among friends for my constant over-estimation of Christians.)
But there he was, and there he is. So I got busy and started reading up on what it was we’d gotten ourselves into.
By early December, after much reading and listening and thinking, I reached a tentative conclusion about the immediate future: By mid-March, DT would either be impeached or he would have instigated a “crisis” which would allow him, legally, to impose martial law.
I fear, alas, the latter is more likely. Thus far very few elected or appointed officials have been willing to put to stand for the constitution and the republic. Instead, alas, party politics come first; the constitution second.
Which is why this historian is concerned, deeply, about the future. And as of this moment, January 20, 2017, it ain’t looking good.
I can sit here and cry. Or I can do something. Thus my admittedly feeble project to help others make sense of the Moment of Trump. Thanks for reading.