Two years into the Trump presidency, Americans aren’t feeling so “great.” And it’s not limited to those who belong to any particular political party – we’re all feeling the pain in some way.
First, we’re more divided than ever. While Republicans and Democrats have been fighting for decades, now Americans are literally hating other Americans for having different political points of view. And we all feel hated, Democrats and Republicans alike, made to feel evil when we disagree. Extremists even accuse people on the other side of hating America. Trust me, as someone who often presents the opposing view on conservative media, I get this one a lot.
We’re all responsible for our own actions, of course. But a major force is fueling this division: Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States. He’s just two years into his presidency, but this will be a lasting legacy.
To Trump’s credit, up until just a few weeks ago, the economy has been strong, with record low unemployment and a robust stock market. But now, as gun-shy investors worry about the next unpredictable move, trade war or spitting match from the administration, the Dow is as volatile as it has ever been and Americans worry about the future of their retirement.
All the while, our country faces an identity crisis with people openly wondering, Do we want to be a country led by a man that:
- Takes children away from their families, just to make a point?
- Shuts down the government to solve an issue that should be handled through the established legislative process?
- Forces 800,000 public servants, most of whom don’t earn much, to begin with, to stay home or work without pay? (Would you show up if your boss suddenly pulled this stunt?)
- Throws paper towels instead of a helping hand to suffering hurricane victims in one of our own territories?
In an odd way I’m grateful for the serious reflection President Trump has created. His actions and behavior are forcing us to think about the kind of country we want to be and the type of person we want to lead it. Which means that in 2020 presidential candidates are going to actually be held to a higher level of scrutiny.
- Heaps praise on dictators from Russia and North Korea while shunning European allies who have been with America during some of our darkest hours over the last 75 years?
- Has such a cozy relationship with Russia’s leader that a criminal investigation has already taken down some of his closest aides and led to the indictments of dozens of Russian operatives and organizations?
- Resorts to bullying, name-calling, and other tactics that would make us cringe if our children did it in school?”
The list could go on, but it doesn’t have to. I know you have probably asked some of the same questions yourself.
We are an anxious nation living under a cloud of uncertainty that never seems to blow away. We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, wondering what it will be this time. And we’re exhausted from it.
To sum it up, there’s no steady hand, someone who can credibly tell Americans everything’s going to be all right. Instead, we have a former reality show star who thrives on creating drama while haphazardly running the show, a man who is known for his erratic and unpredictable ways, who makes major policy decisions based more on his gut than data, and who has little concern for the far-reaching implications or unintended consequences that may result.
But, here’s the thing: As much as I and others lament this, in an odd way I’m grateful for the serious reflection President Trump has created. His actions and behavior are forcing us to think about the kind of country we want to be and the type of person we want to lead it. Which means that in 2020 presidential candidates are going to actually be held to a higher level of scrutiny. For the first time in a long time, more people are going to give more thought to the consequences of an election and treat their ballot with an even greater level of respect. That action, fueled by the American people, is what will truly make America great again.