FROM THE LEFT COAST

“So, here’s my take on the next 4-8 years:

We’ll have a thin-skinned, uninformed, tweeting bully in the White House;

We’ll have crony-appointed oligarchs advising him;

We’ll have old, retired hawks running the military

And

We’ll have corrupt sycophants in the Congress.

What could possibly go wrong?”

 

Thus spake (emailed) an intelligent, beautiful woman of certain years from Santa Barbara, home to many of the renowned one percent.

 

Possibly, we’ll get all of the above.  But we hope, for 2017, that the country will be able to understand what’s going on in Washington, and the only way that will happen is if Mr. Trump shares with us all the answers to the many questions his administration presents.

This is our last hurrah for 2016, and we’re exhausted by holding ourselves back from simply going bananas and, at the top of our lungs, screaming “Watch Out!”

We admit – sadly – that Trumpistas don’t give a damn about what their leader says, does, dreams.  That does NOT mean, as we think we’ll all see in fairly short order, a dearth of anger and disharmony when his voters see their oxen gored.

As the details of the new administration’s plans become- at least we hope they’ll become – clear and open to all, based on the president-elect’s picks for cabinet posts and advisors and what we have been able to learn of these august personalities’ backgrounds and bents, there are going to be millions of Trumpistas facing some new realities about their daily lives.

More, about all our lives.

Very few of us – perhaps that fabled one percent only – are likely to be made happier in 2017.  For the rest of us, it’s likely to be refresher courses in budgetary science;  a second job or third job; less insurance; poorer health; less alert kids; more midnight worry over international face-offs; and continual  Orwellian newspeak.

Remember, in the comfort (or discomfort) of your desk chair that this administration will be the one fashioned by a man who cannot tell the truth.   Who fabricates as automatically as he breaths.  To whom bread and circuses are as real as food, clothing, protection from the elements, safety from our enemies.

Promises are the stuff from which he builds his empire.

Please note: we are not ranting.  We are calmly surveying the future as it seems to us, as the past has provided whatever small insights we have to the leanings and preferences and natural biases of a man who has, admittedly, overwhelmed the system brilliantly and is yet to replace it with anything of which we can be proud and confident.  In other words, no one in the world knows what’s coming, which is not unusual but in 2017 is certainly disquieting.

It seems moderately unfair to carp at an administration before its inauguration, before a concrete action of any kind has been taken.  But Mr. Trump seems to believe he is already King, content to ruffle and rifle the Obama administration even as it is allowed its final twenty-one days.  He’s having  little boy fun disrupting the world about him with off-the-wall ideas and statements and appointments.  So while it IS too early to lambaste him and his crew – and even more, too early to expect him to have begun to replace one set of democratic traditions with ones of his own – it is not too early to hope and expect that we will be led by a man of “parts,” a man who has learned how much is too much, how far is too far, how ambition can metastasize into greed.

We find, oddly, that “America first” is not a terrible slogan.  As the US sinks in the esteem of its allies and enemies, we will need to rehabilitate our image, our power, our compassion.

All of this is not going to be easy.

And while we cross our fingers that miraculous deeds and ideas will emanate from Mr. Trump and his pals, we are basically powerless to improve his odds of success.  It is he who must learn to listen, learn to weigh and measure, learn to work with as opposed to against, learn that while not everyone is on his team, some critics may well have ideas that are cogent and useful.

Our primary wish for the coming New Year has less to do with Mr. Trump himself but with one of the results of his campaign:  the brutal incivility of neighbors to neighbors, friends to friends, husbands to wives, children to parents.

It is paramount that this Sunday, when we walk out to shovel or go to church or warm up the car to visit grandparents,  that we remember we are all Americans together, united by 240 years of progress,  and that all lives matter: farmers’, professional football players’, teachers’, rich/poor and in-between.   Kids on farms, deteriorating cities and towns,  police, our men and women in uniform abroad.    The unemployed, students, dreamers.   Left-coast,  right-coast, and all the beauty in-between.  Hard-hats and liberals and conservatives.   Builders, believers, and bookish ivory-tower types.

And if Mr. Trump cannot find a way to unify and revive our fortunes, as well as change what needs to be altered in our American way of life,  then clearly it’s up to the rest of us to do so.

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