February 10th, 2017
Politicians never campaign to keep things the same. Even incumbents promise to make things better or at least continue the good work they had started. Every Presidential campaign talks about change, fixing the things that are wrong, making America great again.
The Tea Party movement promised the biggest change of all. The name alone conjured up images of revolting against big government and its overreaching intrusion into every aspect of our lives. That movement produced candidates who won primaries, won elections, went to Washington and . . . nothing changed. Those Tea Party politicians yelled and postured and even shut down the government for a period of time (remember Senator Cruz?) but in the end, nothing changed. Our government became even more polarized and the only way any legislation got passed was during a small window of time, seven years ago, when the Democrats held the Presidency, a majority in the House and a filibuster proof 60 seats in the Senate. This small window of power gave us Obamacare, a law that quite likely will be repealed.
Americans, especially those living in the “fly over” states, felt more and more isolated. No matter who they voted for the result was always the same, nothing changed. It seemed like Washington thought they knew more about what you wanted than you did; they knew how to keep you healthy, the best way to educate you, how to keep you safe, how to protect our borders, the best way for us to “keep and bear arms”, they didn’t need or want to hear from us about any of these things and there was nothing we could do to change it . . . until Donald Trump.
There’s a story that maybe some of you have heard that I think explains what happened this election season. A man finds that he has a family of dirty, stinking racoons in his basement and they are tearing things apart. He asks around and finds a highly-recommended exterminator who says he can get rid of the racoons. He comes to your house neatly dressed and is very polite and seems to work efficiently but the next night the racoons are back. You search for another exterminator and find one that tells you he has a process that is so complicated he can’t explain it but it is sure to solve your racoon problem. He does his work but the next night the racoons are back again. You go through several other exterminators with the same results, they all say they can fix the problem but the racoons are still there. Finally, after being disappointed over and over, and much to the chagrin of your neighbors, you called the least recommended exterminator on the list. He showed up in a smoking broken down truck, smelled like he hadn’t showered for a week, cussed and told off-color jokes and berated you for wasting your time on these other guys who all used the same methods that obviously don’t work. He said his methods are harsh and different than the others but he’s used them on hotels and golf courses and they’ve never failed. You believed him and gave him the go-ahead. He went down to the basement made a lot of noise and left. The raccoons never came back.
I think this is what happened this election, we just wanted someone who could fix our government and we knew that using the old methods and approach wasn’t going to work. We didn’t care how the President smelled or how he talked, we just wanted our government fixed and the polite, don’t rock the boat, business as usual approach just wasn’t working. In Trump, the ignored Americans found a man who was just audacious and brash enough that he convinced us he could really do what he said he would do. We saw it as he campaigned, he didn’t care about the rules and traditions and trappings of Washington, there wasn’t anyone whispering in his ear telling him what to say, he wasn’t consulting any polls to help him do and say the right things. He was doing things his own way, and it started to resonate with the forgotten Americans. The media and the polls focused on HOW Trump said things and didn’t hear WHAT he was saying. Middle America heard WHAT he was saying and voted for him.
So far, he hasn’t disappointed, he has been the same brash, politically incorrect leader he was as a campaigner and again the media and the Democrats have pointed out how un-presidential and improper he has acted. Once again, they have focused on HOW he is acting and ignored WHAT he is doing. He is doing exactly what he said he would do when he was campaigning. After he became President he didn’t have to get the “lay of the land”, settle into the job or find out how things worked . . . he only had to do the things that he thought a President should do. So far he is doing what new Presidents rarely do, move swiftly to fulfill the promises he made to those that voted for him.
We don’t know how this will all turn out. I’m sure he will do things that you and I may not like. He might test the constitutional checks and balances that limit the power of the President or alienate allied countries and steer America toward isolationism, but the one thing it looks like he can and will do is change things. He still often uses harsh language, at times makes us cringe and acts different than any other President we’ve had, but so far, he is doing something about those dang raccoons.