By Jill Chapin
January 14, 2017
George Bush’s 2000 election put a man in the White House who lost the popular vote. Although the majority of voters were very unhappy about it, they never rose to a level of hyperventilating panic about our incoming administration. Basically, they just let it go.
Not this time. Distraught doesn’t begin to adequately express the emotions of so many from all corners of the world.Obama’s farewell speech elicited a loud groan from the 20,000 in the arena when he said, “And finally…”, because they didn’t want his speech to end. Someone wrote that she felt like a child hanging onto her father’s leg, begging him not to leave.
Their sense of loss is palpable as they mourn the end of class, dignity and decency that we have come to expect from the Oval Office. But there is much more to it than just saying farewell to a president admired by so many, as evidenced by his astonishing 57% approval rating. What is causing them to appear unhinged is that he will be replaced by his polar opposite.
Some people cannot sleep at night wondering what will happen once the president-elect is sworn in. For starters, Trump’s past business interests in Russia already has us wary our next president could be compromised by conflicts of interest.
Although Trump’s spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway admonished us to “listen to his heart and not his words”, most of us don’t have the ability to do so without a stethoscope, and must rely on spoken words. So when Donald Trump, Jr, speaking at a real estate conference in 2008 said that Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of Trump’s assets and that they saw a lot of money pouring in from Russia, are we to discount this admission if we are not a cardiologist?
More among the emerging unhinged are republicans in congress who are finally realizing that what we saw on the campaign trail is what we will get in the White House. They see that Mr. Trump is beholden to nothing – not his party, not our intelligence agencies, not the press, nor the rules of ethics concerning nepotism and other conflicts of interest. He is like an unpredictable wild animal and no one knows quite how to rein him in.
Then there is the conservative electorate, some who must already have buyer’s remorse if his 37% approval ratings are any indication. A recent Quinnipiac survey showed that only 34% think Mr. Trump will be a better leader than President Obama. Only 27% believe Trump’s policies would help their personal financial situation.
And then they look at his cabinet nominees and don’t know whether to feel confident or nervous about his choices, especially when the nominees themselves try to assure us that they will do what is legal even if the president would wish otherwise. We should be very concerned if the president summarily dismisses their expert opinions and does what he wants instead. We want our president and cabinet members to work together for us; some of their statements indicate that they may often be at odds with each other. If anyone believes that our respect around the world has declined, public bickering via Twitter within the top echelons of our government will not exactly enhance our reputation as a strong, united superpower.
Among the increasingly unhinged must be the media. When Trump recently slandered CNN at a live press conference, calling them fake news, I can only assume the other news outlets were too stunned to get up and walk out. I know we appreciate change and would like to see Trump shake things up, but not to the undisciplined extent he goes to silencing opposing views. All Americans of any party should be frightened of the ramifications of Trump banning news organizations – the Washington Post, the Des Moines Register and the Huffington Post to name a few. According to Politico, Trump banned nearly two dozen news organizations from his campaign events. Who will hold him accountable if news organizations are cordoned off from asking him questions to which we need to know the answers?
More unhinged are the many all over the third rock from the sun who must tremble as they realize that nuclear powers are controlled by Putin, Trump and Kim Jung Un – each a thin-skinned, narcissistic, man-child with an adolescent retaliatory mentality.
For those who have a growing dread that our future POTUS himself is the most unhinged of all, our biggest fear should be this: Will there be those brave enough and in a position to do something about it if he presents himself to be a clear danger to our country? We surely don’t want to find out what bad things might happen if good people do nothing.