Today is the day that Donald Trump becomes the 45th Fuhrer, er, President of the United States. The post title (and accompanying image) is meant as click-bait, obviously. Though I'm not a fan, and I didn't vote for him, I don't think he's Hitler.
As with most aspects of life, there are pros and cons to his victory. Both those cheering and insisting that he'll "Make America Great Again" (whatever that means) as well as those who lament his rise as the second coming of Adolf Hitler are profoundly mistaken, in this writer's humble opinion.
Living in Lefty Los Angeles (as an artist, no less), I've come to realize that if you don't hate Trump enough, you're a hateful person, somehow. (Irony is constantly lost on the fringe left.) As I didn't have a horse in the race, my reaction to the election was more "Meh" than "OHMYGOD! The world is ending!" I thought it was stupid when the Right reacted that way to Obama, and I think it's stupid now with the Left doing it to Trump. Once again, I didn't vote for Trump, I never supported him, and in fact I don't like him very much. I've even made some anti-Trump art. (See below.) However, I do see a silver lining to his election.
- Hillary lost! Regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, almost nobody really likes Hillary Clinton. Just look at her rallies versus the rallies for Trump and Sanders. Those two inspired people, while Clinton had to pay for attendees. (The Democrats should have known this, and not rammed her through. Oops!) The Clintons have demonstrated their corruption, lack of morals, and lack of accountability time and time again. Despite her attacking Donald Trump as not having the temperament to be President, Hillary is well-known in Washington as abusive to her staff and prone to outbursts that sometimes turn violent. (Most people who work for Donald Trump, on the other hand, love him.) The fact that we don't have to put up with the Clintons again is a cause for celebration.
- He seems to be better on foreign policy. It's too early to tell on this point, but so far Trump seems to be more anti-war than Bush or Obama. He accurately criticizes the wars that have been going on for the last sixteen years under both men, regardless of party affiliation. Obama had a golden opportunity to stop Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead started new ones in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. Will Trump stop them? Your guess is as good as mine. If Trump continues the disastrous foreign policy of his predecessors, at least the anti-war left will resurface. (Where the hell have you been the last eight years?) What's not clear is what Trump will do, but what IS clear is that Hillary would have continued down the same road; she said as much during the debates. Further, the Democrats seem intent on hostility with Russia. Who really thinks that starting another Cold War with Russia is a good thing? Make no mistake, Putin is not a good guy. However, having a good relationship with his country based on cooperation and trade is a good thing.
- Exposure of the mainstream media. Remember when Hillary was a sure bet? The mainstream media couldn't have been more wrong, and they have been discredited. That's a good thing. Maybe now we'll have a return of investigative journalism. (Of course, this will depend on whether or not the corporate media is allowed to collude with government to crush dissent and box out competitors.) Further, Obama's administration was not scandal-free as he claimed in his farewell address; rather, the media refused to report on it and instead chose to lick his boots. Trump's handling of the media is a bit harsh in my opinion, but it's an accurate reflection of the mood of most Americans.
- The Left will distrust power again. The Obama worship that I've witnessed on social media over the last few days has been sickening. It doesn't jive with the facts of Obama's years in office. (Then again, the Left is not known for their firm grasp of reality.) He expanded the size and scope of the wars in the Middle East. (Troops have returned to both Libya and Iraq.) He murdered innocent people with drone strikes, including American citizens. (Artwork below.) He signed the NDAA, which allowed for the indefinite detention of Americans without trial. He avoided transparency at every turn. His administration spent more money than all 43 previous administrations, combined. Healthcare is worse than ever, too, but I'll touch on that in my "Cons" section. With the rise of a Republican, maybe the Left will become liberals again. Power is supposed to be questioned, and they forgot that over the last eight years and gave Obama a free pass since they liked him. Trump has made a lot of enemies on both sides of the aisle, so his authority will certainly be questioned. That's a good thing!
- Nude First Lady! Why are you slut-shaming Melania? Okay, this last one is just trolling.
Despite these pros, and my disdain for the Left, please don't make the mistake of calling me a right-winger. The Right is no better, and I've written about why you should not support the Republicans, here. A Trump presidency is not a win for small government, or a return to moral values, or whatever further nonsense the Right would have you believe. Here are some major cons to a Trump administration.
- The rise and empowerment of the alt-right. While I don't believe Trump himself is a member of the alt-right (he's more like a progressive Republican), his election has empowered members of the group. The alt-right is not a specific movement, as some would have you believe, but rather a loose collection of far right idealogues united in their rejection of mainstream conservatism. They're united by nationalism, anti-immigration, and nativism. Some groups are racist, homophobic, and anti-feminist, while some are not. Racist groups should be opposed, but for me that's not the biggest danger posed by the alt-right. I believe the biggest threat is in its rejection of historical conservative thought. Historical conservatives, for all their many faults, have largely supported a liberal economy based on limited government, low taxes, and law and order. The alt-right rejects these principles which are essential to a free society.
- Protectionism. For someone who brags about his deal-making, Trump has already been terrible on trade. He's already promised protectionism at the expense of economic liberty. He's in favor of high tariffs to protect domestic industry. In practice, other countries retaliate with their own tariffs and global trade is obstructed.
- Healthcare. Obama didn't destroy healthcare, but he didn't help as many on the Left would have you believe. Premiums have skyrocketed, employers are struggling to keep up with the new mandates, and insurance companies are folding as the ACA destroys the entire concept of health insurance. We are seeing it unravel. The US used to have an unrivaled healthcare system, but government meddling and corporate greed has turned it into a debacle. What we need is more choice when it comes to our healthcare, not less. What we'll get with Trump is the opposite. He's expressed interest many times in socialized, single-payer healthcare. "Repeal and replace" is the plan, and whatever plan the Republicans come up with will not work, either.
- He's a wild card. The biggest danger posed by a Trump presidency is also what people liked about him the most. He's a wild card who will seemingly say or do anything, and since he used his own money (mostly) for the campaign, he's not beholden to special interests like his predecessors. While independence is a good thing, generally, it's dangerous for people who have been given the reins of power, as Trump has. It's more important than ever that the people keep him accountable.
Despite these pros and cons, for me, the only thing that changes today is that my Left-leaning friends will accept me again while we both can criticize President Trump. I just wish they would have opened their eyes sooner. Below, I've included a post that one of my Lefty friends posted on Facebook. (I've removed the names for protection.) It outlines a few things Trump has done so far that she deems horrible. Some are true, some are not, but she pleads with all people, regardless of their political stance, to oppose Trump's rise.
My response is this: Where were you when Obama was blantantly governing by his "pen and his phone?" Obama's dictatorial style of governance helped pave the way for this. And you said nothing. Did nothing. In fact, you licked his boots. Penn Jillette explained it perfectly, six years ago. You should oppose centralized power because sooner or later someone you don't like will take control. For the Left, that sooner has come. My hope for the Trump years is that more and more people will come to reject centralized political power, regardless of their political leanings. Only then can we have a liberal society.
As for Trump, he's not going to be Hitler, but he's not going to be the saviour of America, either. We actually have a couple of examples of wealthy, outsider liberal Republicans holding office: Michael Bloomberg in New York City and Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. So yeah, we're screwed.
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