Change is in the air. President Trump is in the midst of seeking to fulfill his campaign promises as quickly as possible. His supporters are hopeful that our new president will shake up Washington and restore greatness to America.
This greatness is undefined, except possibly to refer to blue-collar jobs held mainly by white Americans, which were lost to outsourcing and automation.
Change is occurring with executive orders recently written to build a wall across the southern border, to re-institute torture as a means of arriving at truth from terrorists and to investigate 3 million supposedly fraudulent votes in the last election.
Even a change in the definition of what is fact seems to be part of this paradigm shift. The term “alternate facts” has now entered the lexicon of American culture.
The irony is that hope and change were also the themes pushed by President Barack Obama for the past eight years. The change that our previous president emphasized was meant to improve the lives of middle-class Americans and especially minorities, both sexual and ethnic.
Part of Obama’s goals was the increase of American jobs by reviving the economy after the Great Recession. There is much that is similar between our past president’s goals and those of our current president. Just the method to get there has drastically changed.
President Obama’s foreign affairs agenda included withdrawing from two very expensive wars.
President Trump’s foreign affairs agenda seems to be withdrawal from alliances that have been developed since the end of World War II. At the same time, our president wants to renew ties to a World War II ally, Russia, in order to deal with the new menace, China, as it moves toward becoming our next competing superpower.
NATO’s future lingers in limbo at this point. The original purpose for the creation of NATO was to act as a deterrent to the former Soviet Union, so perhaps this limbo-land is not without merit.
Our new president, just like our old one, wants to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and put Americans back to work, only this time the approach to do this is to close our doors to foreign imports through protective tariffs and by punishing companies who outsource.
Today, President Trump’s party controls both houses of Congress and soon they may also control the Supreme Court with a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.
Many of President Trump’s ideas are running into resistance from some among his own party. President Obama and many Republicans supported the Trans Pacific Partnership, which President Trump has just killed with the stroke of his pen. This act has scrubbed jobs that would have resulted from increased trade. Washington state will be especially affected by Trump’s decision and many of his conservative allies in the eastern part of the state will lose potential customers for their apples, wine and wheat.
The XL pipeline has been revived and it seems to avoid Native American reservations in the Dakotas. Trump’s decision on this issue appears to make more sense than Obama’s resistance to the pipeline. There are already thousands crisscrossing the nation. One more will hardly make a difference. Objections to the pipeline in the past were more symbolic than real.
Change was Obama’s emphasis and change is the focus of Trump as well.
Is change always beneficial? I believe it can make improvements, but it can also make things worse. Only time will tell whether the changes President Trump is initiating will be good for America in the long run, or whether they will cause the loss of jobs and a greater threat to America’s security.
There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Americans have wished for change, but they may come to have buyer’s remorse down the road. The die has been cast with the inauguration of a new president. We will experience change, but will we like it?