As we move into fall it seems quite amazing that in a couple of months it will have been a full year since the 2016 presidential election.
In previous elections, it seems the animosity between those who supported the winning candidate and those who did not lost much of its hard edge after only a few months, but that has been much less true with the election of President Trump.
So far, Trump’s presidency has been full of crisis and fear, with growing division and anger.
On the international stage America has threatened fire and brimstone on North Korea, and troops are heading back into Afghanistan to continue the “long war” as well. We have shut the door on refugees from Syria and migrants from Latin America and limited access to American visas.
Our response to the outrageous threats from North Korea has been to ready our military, and last I heard America’s big guns were “locked and loaded.” It’s unclear if the hammer is back but the metaphorical finger is on the trigger.
It’s a fearful time on the world stage.
With all the international threats and crisis, you might think that staffing of the State Department would a high priority for the president, but at last report the department was still understaffed due to a lack of nominations being brought before the Senate.
There seems to be a focus on the military response, and one can only hope that there is a contingency plan that doesn’t involve a major attack.
That said, bombastic and verbose threats have often worked for North Korea, perhaps they will work for Trump as well. He certainly wields a bigger stick.
The refugee crisis has been left solely to the region and Europe to deal with, America declining to accept Syrian refugees. Migrants and refugees from Latin America aren’t faring much better, as Trump continues to talk about his “big and beautiful” wall.
The wall isn’t just planned for the border, it seems, as the young men and women who signed up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were put on notice that the protections they were promised had been rescinded and their future in the U.S. placed in doubt and limbo.
Like many of Trump’s actions since the election, there was little warning, poor execution, and no apparent plan as to how to go forward.
As divisions over race and citizenship are fanned into flame, Americans on both coasts face the challenge of disaster as hurricanes flood the East and fires engulf the West.
Unfortunately, as Hurricane Harvey approached, the National Hurricane Center was being led by an acting director, the job posting having not gone out until July. An administrator has not been named for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration either.
The new director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took office in June, and two deputies were recently nominated but are not yet confirmed.
And the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA’s parent agency, has been without permanent leadership for a long time.
It seems the basic job of the presidency — administration — has been neglected.
National trends have local impacts, of course.
Driving through The Dalles on Monday morning the smoke had cleared enough to see across the Columbia River. Traveling east on Fifth Street, I was passed by a big 1980s era pickup heading east sporting two oversized flags: One was the Confederate battle flag and the other I didn’t recognize.
I don’t recall ever seeing that flag in The Dalles, certainly not one of that size. There was a protest in Portland on Sunday, perhaps they were returning from the parade. They didn’t feel like part of the community.
But do we know what our community really is these days?
When local police Capt. Steve Baska recently retired after 31 years, he told a reporter that people didn’t know their neighbors today like they used to.
That lack of community stretches across the nation, opening the door to divisiveness and fear.
And until we find a way to rebuild our social neighborhoods, it seems unlikely things will change.
— Mark Gibson
The first known use of the term “Future Shock” was in 1965 and the definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “the physical and psychological distress suffered by one who is unable to cope with the rapidity of social and technological changes.”
In his 1970 book “Future Shock,” author Alvin Toffler explored the enormous structural shift going on in a society with an accelerated rate of technological and social advancements.
He argued that people could not cope well with such rapid change, which caused them to feel disconnected, stressed and disoriented.
He said information overload was responsible for causing social paralysis via the loss of familiarity with old institutions, such as religion, family, national identity, professions.
It is my belief that President Donald Trump is causing “Future Shock” stress for a large segment of our population.
He was elected into office to restore the traditional values this country was founded upon. However, the way he is going about it stirs up discord and creates acrimony.
People can adjust to change in an orderly fashion. That is why former President Barack Obama was able to wreak havoc on the constitutional authority given the federal government.
He just quietly made numerous end runs around Congress by changing policies in his implementation of the law. For example, he called the horrific deal with Iran an “agreement” instead of a treaty so it didn’t have to be ratified by the Senate.
Obama showed his contempt for the Second Amendment by authorizing then Secretary of State John Kerry to sign the United Nation’s gun control treaty despite overwhelming opposition at home. The list of Obama’s egregious actions is long.
Trump’s election was a referendum against the underhanded means being usedto replace our republic with a socialist system.
However, Trump entered the White House like the proverbial bull in the china shop. Every week there is a new controversy, or some comment made off the cuff and blown out of proportion by Democrats and the liberal media.
As a result, just 29 percent of voters in a recent Rasmussen Reports poll now think the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest number since the week ending Oct. 13.
In addition, Rasmussen tracks Trump’s approval rating by likely voters as 45 percent, with 54 percent disapproving.
These figures include 30 percent who strongly approve of the way Trump is performing and 45 percent who strongly disapprove. That gives him a presidential approval index rating of -15.
It will grow increasingly difficult for Trump to get his agenda through the House and Senate (full of spineless wonders) with those numbers. Career politicians headed into the 2018 elections will be thinking first and foremost of how to stay in office.
What remains hopeful is that the GOP is not only raking in record amounts of campaign capital, but Republican candidates have won every special election in 2017.
Clearly, there is something about Trump’s message that is resonating with Americans who are tired of the assault on the U.S. Constitution and heavy-handed regulations that are eroding our economy.
Trump is the same as he was on the campaign trail, the same person voters chose as their 45th president. He was never a politician and that’s what the electorate was looking for.
Democrats and the left-leaning media need to keep in mind that, when they impugn the president, they are also impugning the millions who support him.
For his part, Trump needs to get a tighter grip on his phone and his mouth so he doesn’t provide unnecessary cannon fodder for the media. Let Democrats act like spoiled brats, he needs to be the adult in the room.
People want to feel safe and are looking for a calm leader who will be measured in his approach and do exactly what he says, but in a less strident way.
There needs to be more time between big changes and a better delivery system than Twitter.
— RaeLynn Ricarte