Friday, February 23, 2018

Literal or Serious (3)- What is Success?

I had originally just planned on this being two posts from last Friday and Saturday. Wednesday I realized that these are answering the questions raised by a friend a few weeks ago that I have not been able to put into words. I was challenged to be as specific as I can about what Trump policies I disagree with. Because so much of what we have seen is wrapped in his language, tweets, and rhetoric, I really had to start with the first two that set out some of the ideas.

One thing I have seen asked of liberals like myself is

Do you want Trump to fail?
The inference being that any good, patriotic American wouldn't want the President to fail at what he wants to do. To wish for him to fail would be to wish ill to the country.

I don't agree with that argument.

It assumes that I agree with the direction he appears to be taking the country. It assumes I agree with his ideas, politics, and plans. It assumes that if the President fails, then the country has failed.

Over the eight years of the Obama administration there were many Republicans and others who wanted Obama's policies to be stopped. They took some of them to court and won. Others never happened because Congress didn't agree. In other words, they wanted his agenda, and therefore his plans and directions, to fail.

That is where I am today.

Let me start then by saying if Trump's policies do result in a even stronger economy than we have had growing these past three to five years, then I am with him. I want him to succeed. If his policies provide safe and fair immigration and security, then I am with him. I want him to succeed. If his health care policies provide good, positive access to the health system for Americans, then I am with him. I want him to succeed.

But if he does succeed at those,
  • I don't want it to be at the cost of who we are as Americans. 
  • I don't want it to undermine the system of social support that has been around since at least the mid-1930s. 
  • I don't want it to result in hatred and racism becoming more prevalent, further dividing us as a nation. 
  • I don't want it to be because he was unwilling to stand up to American values against white supremacists and Russian hacking. 
  • I don't want it to be at the expense of the first use of nuclear weapons in nearly 75 years.
If his policies result in those things, then yes, I want him to fail, and fail miserably. We will be a better nation if he does. That does not mean I am against our country. Much the opposite.
  • I want him to fail at those so that we may remain a strong and vibrant nation, offering hope, and opportunity, even to those who were brought here as children and have made America a better place because of their contributions. 
  • I want to see children feeling safe at schools, not because we have turned their buildings into locked and armed institutions, but because we have become willing to stand up to the false god of guns as a national symbol.
  • I want to see the middle class be given the opportunities to benefit from the advances we as a nation make and not simply receive some crumbs thrown out to them while fanning their fear and dislike of immigrants or others.
  • I want to see him challenge his friends in that upper 1% to give of themselves like many in the middle and lower classes do on a regular basis. Yes, many do, but they are being given some incredible advantages in the new tax law that should bring with it greater responsibilities. And not just to shareholders or in one-time bonuses in place of real salary increases.
  • I really do want him to face Russia and say in no uncertain terms that meddling in our elections is NOT the way we want. The hell with collusion. This was, and continues to be, an act of aggression against the basics of who we are.
We do not blindly follow any President. The GOP didn't blindly agree and follow Obama or Clinton. Democrats did not blindly follow either Bush or Reagan. We don't have to! We can debate and disagree. And yes, when it comes to specific policies that we feel are detrimental to the health and welfare of our country, we can hope he fails.

This is called democracy!

(I think there will be one more of these in the next week.)

1 comment:

Gregory Chamberlin said...

While it may be true that Democrats did not "blindly follow Reagan" their control of Congress put them in a position to have more vigorously opposed his policies; and lest we forget, Clinton's popularity derived in large measure from his attempt to forge a "new Democratic Party." The supposed novelty of this new party was its ability to court and receive corporate funding on par with the Republican Party.