So things have been happening this week in the good old USA…
Any follower of this blog knows I am a strong and passionate conservative. Typically that has meant I align with the Republican candidates for office. However, this year I didn’t feel there was a conservative in the race so I voted for 3rd party candidate Evan McMullin. My hope was maybe Utah would vote 3rd party and that would be a message from one state on both of the terrible options we were being given. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in Utah and they voted Republican as expected.
Being a 3rd party voter this cycle has provided me an interesting vantage point that I didn’t entirely anticipate. I’ve explained in the past that a vote itself is statistically insignificant especially for president. That said, when I did vote for a major party I felt an investment in the outcome in a different way than this cycle. Voting 3rd party I’ve been able to simply observe and ponder the great country I am a citizen of and the tremendous events that have happened. It is this perspective that has made me a bit of a post-election coverage addict. I’ve watched an insane amount of pundits from both parties giving their conclusions of how this happened.
To be clear, I was completely stunned by the results on Tuesday. I was positive Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and we would just have to put up with more of the same type of failed policies we’ve had from the last 8 years. That was it and I could deal with that.
But then Donald Trump won state after state, and I couldn’t believe it. In our world of PC and quick to offend lifestyles it seemed impossible that someone like Donald Trump could become president, and yet there it was. I honestly support more of the platforms and policies of the Republican party that Trump adopted so in a way I was glad but I was also sad to see the highest position in the land come down to someone like him. I certainly hope he proves me wrong and ends up being a better president than campaigner, but I was still sad.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I have lost my faith in ‘public servants‘. I still believe that and stand by my sentiments in the post; however, I’ve realized a few additions to the ideas I presented. Politics today and perhaps always, is an exercise in self-interest and self-protection. This is why we saw senators and congressman distance themselves from Trump just enough to claim the moral high ground while riding his popularity to a win. For example, Mike Lee never officially endorsed Trump and he announced after the election he had voted for Evan McMullin, but that doesn’t mean much when you could have said something before the election. He rode that wave of self-interest in just the right way to keep his job and still claim he did the right thing at the ballot. It’s sad when you think about it but it is reality
But self-interest is what we’ve got and so where is the cause for hope? I actually think there is a fair amount to be hopeful about.
It might sound strange but oddly there is some hope to be had in self interest. Yes, Donald Trump has said some awful things and I understand why people are upset. I really do. However, it is not in his self-interest to implement all those things or continue saying all those things. I’m not excusing it in the least just stating what I think is reality. Even with a house and senate he still has to sell his ideas to the Congress and the American people. It’s in his self-interest to make them as palatable as possible.
It’s the same way with Hillary Clinton. She gave a gracious lovely concession speech where she said:
“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power and we don’t just respect that we cherish it”
She could have gotten up there and been bitter and gone on a tirade, and I have no doubt a side of her wanted to do just that. I mean just days before she had called Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’. Why didn’t she do it? Because it would not be in her self-interest to do so. Her best move at this moment is to do exactly what she did, and I commend her for it. I’m not trying to take anything away from her. I’m just being realistic about the motives of our leaders.
I think this is perhaps why the Founding Fathers made Supreme Court justices lifetime appointments. It removes, for the most part, this element of self-interest and forces them to look at the cases without fear of backlash or legacy. Their jobs are safe and so they are free to decide on these important issues in the way they see fit.
President Obama stated today he wants to see President Trump succeed:
““It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face…If you succeed, then the country succeeds”
What he is basically saying is that it is in all of our self-interest to make this work and to want President Trump to succeed because if he fails we all suffer. It’s as simple as that.
I’m not excusing any of President Elect Trump’s behavior. I’m merely saying- this is the situation we have and just like President Obama we have to make the best of it. It’s in our self-interest to do so. Peaceful protest is fine. I did it with the tea party and I’m proud of it but we must never allow it to harm the very institution we are trying to save. People breaking windows and destroying property are hurting the country they feel so passionate about. That is not the answer.
We also need to take stock of the toxic climate we have created where good men and women don’t want to be involved in politics any more. Think about your friends and family. I bet most of them avoid politics like the plague- even discussing it, let alone running for office. Perhaps we have left no one more to vie for leadership than what we got in 2016?
Either way, this is what we have left with. Agree with it or not, Donald Trump is our president.
I want him to be successful because I want America to be successful. It’s as simple as that.
Also you guys should read this post I wrote in 2012 about America and a female president.
Lastly I want to say thank you to Evan McMullin for giving me someone to vote for. You stepped up when nobody else would and that means the world to me. Thank you so much!