Thursday, December 1, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS




Dear Republicans,
Although no longer resident in the United States, my wife and I follow the news closely. We do so by faithfully scanning internet sites that aggregate news and opinion. We believe that this gives us a broad view of current events from a variety of perspectives since Flipboard, for instance, draws from sites as diverse as Fox News and Huffington Post, CNN and Al Jazeera and Business Insider and Forbes. And every November, we vote.

My point? I’m at arm’s length from the hurly-burly of the 24-hour news cycle but I’m still a reasonably knowledgeable news junkie. I am aware of the outlier sites, the ‘alt right’ and ‘progressive’ sites that claim to be presenting the real skinny on current events. I just don’t pay them much mind. Take my opinions for what they are worth but understand that they are the product of serious thought and not from having drunk someone else’s Kool-Aid. 

Trump is my President just as GWB was my President and Obama was yours. I say this even though Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 both lost the popular vote. I say this not because I think that Trump’s election win was illegitimate. I say this because I am tired of hearing Republicans talking about the will of the people. As of today, 2 million more people voted for Hillary than voted for Trump. The will of the people has been thwarted by a Constitutional compromise reached over 200 years ago for reasons that had nothing to do with protecting the democratic process and a great deal to do with keeping slave-holding states in the union. 

And speaking of losing the popular vote, where is the consistency in claiming that you lost the popular vote due to massive voter fraud, then damning Stein in a series of late night tweets for calling for a recount in the closest battleground states? And speaking of late night tweets, if SNL skits and actors speaking to his Vice President from a Broadway stage enrage Trump, wait until he attends a G12 summit and real heavyweights get on his case. 

But far worse, Trump is blaming the media for ‘inciting’ protest marches. He’s called in media bigwigs to excoriate them. After using the media as a puppet to provide hundreds of millions of dollars of free publicity, the worm turns. And we know what sort of leaders around the world, as their first acts in office, attempt to cow or muzzle a free press.

Trump continues to make it known that he doesn’t want the US to be spending money to address climate change at the same time that he claims to understand the importance of the availability of clean, potable water. It’s hard to reconcile those two positions. How do you protect the southern Florida aquifer from salt water incursion without addressing rising ocean levels? How do you secure potable water for the American Southwest without doing what’s necessary to ameliorate atmospheric heating conditions that have led to severe and persistent drought? And how will Pence, a notorious denier of climate change, effect Trump’s thinking?

And how can you refuse national security briefings and tell Pakistani’s head of state over the phone that he’s a terrific guy? 

So while I am willing to give Trump a chance, I am not encouraged. He has a steep learning curve to climb. He needs to demonstrate the seriousness due the Presidency.

Let’s see if the equity markets move as high as they moved under Obama. Let’s see if the dollar strengthens against the euro even half as much as it did under Obama. Let’s see if the annual deficit is reduced by the same measure and as inexorably as it has been reduced under Obama. Let’s see if he builds a wall and makes Mexico pay for it.

And for all the fear of terrorism on our shores, let’s see if the record under Obama of fewer Americans annually dying from terrorism than dying from having appliances fall on them remains intact.

Or will Trump follow the legacies of his Republican predecessors. GWB was President when the worst recession since the Great Depression began as measured by decline in GDP. Eisenhower was President at the beginning of the second worst. Nixon was President at the beginning of the third worst. Reagan was President at the beginning of the fourth worst. Republicans all. Now Trump…

I’ll be watching. I won’t be the only one.

Affectionately,
Ira


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