This is my last blog about Donald Trump. He is, by overwhelming and global acclaim, the worst president in the history of the United States. He will likely be impeached and convicted, most likely for illegal financial dealings such as money laundering and likely much more. He is ignorant. He is almost psychotically self-absorbed. He is allowing and even encouraging the dismantling of those protections of the American ideal and American form of democracy that was once the envy and ideal of much of the world.
But note well: We are to blame for having put him in that position, and we are to blame for the colossal amount of damage that democracy faces because we did so. In Walt Kelly’s immortal words, we have met the enemy and it is us. It will take decades to repair that damage, and the effort to make those repairs needs to start now. So, from now on, this space will be devoted to pointing out what we need to do to restore American government to its ideal of promoting the inalienable rights of all human beings.
To begin, we need to first recognize those areas that need repair. First and foremost, we need to restore governance to what has traditionally been entitled “regular order.” This government can only succeed by discourse and compromise. The voices of both conservative and liberal must be heard and respected. The representatives of each side must work together to arrive at compromise on the issues that most concern us.
Let’s start with the federal issue of health care. The job before is not defined by repealing or retaining the Affordable Care Act. The job is providing basic health care for all Americans. The present system was only a start in accomplishing that, and it contained several significant flaws that are just now becoming obvious. While it is likely true that basic health care is a part of the inalienable rights that define our way of governing, it is at the same time true that we can only do what we can afford. Conservatives have made clear that, left as is, the ACA will impose huge costs on a government already deeply in debt. Somewhere, somehow, there is a solution to this. One thing sure, however: we will never arrive at that solution by refusing to listen to each other.
There are many such issues: environment, taxation, infrastructure, financial and industrial and commercial regulation, drug and alcohol abuse, and many more. Our legislatures — federal, state and local — need to face these issues now, and they need to face them with reason and compromise. And we — we — need to elect people who will engage in that reason and compromise. The people of this country have to give up their addiction to unreasoned opinion. If they do not, if politics remains at the level of shouting and ridiculing and condemning, then we will soon enough wake up to a country, and a world, without hope.
Here is my little bit. I am going to review the opinions of those whose views are contrary to mine. My next series of blogs will present those opinions and display what is reasonable in them. I hope you will be doing the same.