I will not do this justice, but nevertheless I was moved to remark on the, and here it’s difficult to find the right adjective so I’ll just say ‘remarkable’ events of the past year.
The buildup to Anno Donaldi was of course the presidential campaign of 2015-2016 in which a powerful force bearing the name Donald Trump materialized out of the Great American experience at a critical time in American political (and cultural) history. It was a fascinating thrill ride. Some will say, with good reason, that Trump took advantage of a rising tide of dissatisfaction and a longing for stability, order and normalcy. Of course he did. The story, of course, is that HE did.
Countless others did not.
As referenced, when things actually started changing in a material sense, Anno Donaldi began with the election in November of 2016, because as we know, that is when institutions in this country began to look to the future. Much headlined, and yes, ballyhooed by Trump (which is part of the genius) were the announcements by major corporations and moguls of keeping jobs in the US, investing billions here, etc.
And of course the phenomenal stock market rise, the beginnings of the reversal of job loss and counter measures against ingrained, accepted idleness.
Then, in the lead-up to the inauguration, administration and cabinet positions were announced, the much-anticipated Supreme Court recommendations made, and several other crowd-pleasing overtures. Since then there have been shakeups, false starts, some disappointments, and some fretful periods where even the most avid Trump supporter wondered if the Glorious Revolution of 2016 would flitter away, fade, or simply evaporate, and The Donald would retire in humiliation to Mar-a-Lago.
Funny thing. Odds continued to be overcome. Tenacity, sincerity and righteous assessment or situational analysis prevailed. And the American ship of state continued to be slowly righted. Not all was smooth sailing, as things never are in times of profound change. The elephant in the room (ahem, sorry) is the Republican Congress, which is both a beneficiary and a casualty of the profound change going on. A stumbling block on the road to Obamacare repeal, and lately, meaningful tax reform. But, and this is an essential part of the story, try as they might, the friction factions have not been able to tarnish the star of Donald Trump to any meaningful degree with the failures of Congress. Yes, he campaigned on specific policies and themes, but upon further review, they weren’t exactly as “specific” as his detractors like to portray.
And at this point, kudos to the significant segment of the American public, the ones who elected him, to be able to nuance this. They somehow understand that short of dissolving Congress, the President can’t roll back hundreds of thousands of pages and decades’ worth of legislation. Perhaps the civics lessons of days gone by still linger somewhere in the bowels of the polity. But he has used both the bully pulpit and his good offices in the West Wing and Cabinet Room to get things done. His people are hard at work rolling back rules and administrative impairments, policies and procedures and divesting as much busy-bodyness from the
environs of The Swamp as can be imagined possible in this…busy year.
Illustrative of the effects of The Force was the amazing drop-off in illegal border crossings at the beginning of the administration. Border Patrol and ICE were finally allowed, and encouraged, to do their jobs. Just the mere fact of the hesitation involved in the hearts and minds of possible miscreants at the thought of a new sheriff in town and explicit threats of a new regime of law and order brought a sea change.
A new day. A new year. Anno Donaldi.
In foreign affairs, there have been many developments and most of them triumphs or major advances. ISIS is being destroyed. The President’s trip to the Middle East and NATO, while accompanied by the obligatory “He has no idea what he’s doing” chants from the back-benchers and Saturday night quarterbacks, was spectacular. And anybody who has one eighth of a brain knows that what is going on vis-a-vis North Korea is overdue by about fifty years. That, too, shall come to fruition.
One of the most satisfying things about how these things roll has been to watch the fallout from Trump’s “tweets” and off-the-cuff- remarks and “gaffes” and ‘hirings and firings’ …fail to materialize. Though the pundits and the purveyors of pap and the Illuminati and the self-righteous standup comedians-cum-tragedians sure have given it the old college try. But the Trump Train keeps on rolling along. Even the traitors within, and the vaunted ‘Deep State’, and the anonymous gossipers and dossier-providers, the lot of them have ranted and raved in vain.
Results? Oh, sometimes prominent, sometimes in the background. But on the cultural side, and this is where it really counts in the long run, they are there to be noted. With all the hubbub over the confederate and even traditional monuments and statues coming down or under assault, and the Main Scream Media constantly screaming, it was announced the other day that the FBI has included the initials “BLM” on it’s list of potential terrorist outfits to watch. (Much as we would like, this BLM is not the obnoxious Bureau of Land Management our western U.S. compatriots loathe so much.)
Betsy Devos is dismantling the abominable Duncan-Holder Bill of Rights violations in the education arena, while promoting the return of sovereignty in matters of education to the states and to the people. Again, Congress needs to get off it’s…and abolish fifty years of precedents and institutions, but things ARE changing. Dittos in the “environmental” and ‘climatological’ farce theaters as Scott Pruitt takes small and also giant steps to right wrongs and release businesses, property owners, and resource providers from bondage and unwarranted punishment and confiscation.
Oh yes – did we mention that there have been four major hurricanes to strike the US and it’s territories this year and each and every attempt to paint the Trump administration as the villains of the piece have been rebuffed, refuted and turned back upon the accusers, most notably in the Puerto Rican case of the San Juan mayor trying to pull a Ray Nagin. And while cautiously knocking on wood, it probably wouldn’t be a stretch to opine that the Trump travel bans might well have deterred more than one possible terror attack.
So anyway it has been one busy, transformative and hope-building year for We the People who wanted America made great again. As we said at the outset, no way could we adequately cover everything that has transpired. But in two specific episodes which are emblematic and symptomatic of the cultural divide and the disconnect of the elitists from “us” – recent developments have been, well, astonishing and in furtherance and perpetuation of the phenomenon we have been talking about (whatever that is, Ha!)
First is the National Football League hullabaloo over the “protests” and the disrespecting of the flag. You surely are aware that, contrary to what the media and pundits tried to pretend, Donald Trump did not start the controversy, just as, in way of reminder, he did not start the feud with Megyn Kelly, the farcical “assault” on faux reporter Michelle Fields, the spat with phony patriot Khazir Khan of ‘Gold Star father” fame or any of many other “controversies” “slights” “insults” and and whine waves. But he certainly forced the issue, didn’t he? And whether the NFL survives or individual teams survive or individual players come or go, hard lessons and hard doses of reality have come back into vogue.THAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS OF ALL FROM THIS WHOLE RETROSPECTIVE.
And it doesn’t just apply to American politics or culture, it also applies to foreign policy and global maneuvering. Don’t think that the threats of “Your revenue stream is about to be severely impacted.” didn’t have an effect in the halls of NATO and the UN. Also, the small matter of 59 Tomahawk missiles raining down on a Syrian air force base populated by not only Syrians but also Russians. And don’t think the words “You need us much more than we need you” weren’t uttered to the Chinese hierarchy as regards North Korea.
And so finally to the Harvey Weinstein episode. This could be a whole chapter in the book somebody eventually writes about Anno Donaldi, but if this isn’t a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, of a ‘cast of thousands’ of Hollywood hypocrites being forced to eat crow, of the curtain being pulled back, well, I don’t know what it is. But at this stage, the thought of Meryl Streep getting up on stage at the next awards gala and giving an Oscar-worthy recitation of the foibles of Donald Trump just make one double over in laughter. “You kiddin’ me, girl? Ho! Ho! Ho! (If you know what I mean.)”
See, some of the lessons being re-learned by the culture these days are being taught by the Make America Great Again theme. A return of common sense, tradition and traditional values, the worth of schools of hard knocks, and the virtue of true compassion (as opposed to distant, disingenuous virtue-signalling and posturing). Add to these the return of the work ethic, a beginning of the return to the pursuit of excellence in science and professional endeavors, a shunning of politicized art and re-kindling of the art-for-art’s sake and education for education’s sake philosophies.
We can only hope that sparks of creativity, imagination, good faith good works and patriotic service will further be lit from the fuse that was Anno Donaldi 2016-17. This ride is a long way from over. It remains to be seen whether apparent swamp drainers, classical rehabilitators and political protagonists are on board the Trump Train or profiting from selling hot dogs and popcorn and MAGA hats as it
lumbers jets across America will remain as enthralled and committed and engaged as they currently are. But for now, it’s been a very good and full year. AD 2016-17.