Charles E. Richardson

Welcome Mr. President, the Pottery Barn and swamp await you

wmarshall@macon.com

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Aldous Huxley

We have a new president and I wish him well. I don’t have to care for him as a person to wish him well as a president. He now holds the football — the nuclear codes — along with his Twitter finger — and my prayer is that he use one, judiciously, and not the other.

The world is a dangerous and treacherous place full of petty dictators who can do us no ill — more like flies biting at an elephant’s hide — but there are others much more hideous and less predictable such as Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who doesn’t need a ballistic missile to give us a headache. Rather, he can take advantage of the political turmoil presently roiling South Korea, and our force of 28,500 troops would be hard pressed to slow him down. Any such action would destabilize the entire region, including our leading ally, Japan.

There is the ever-present Middle East conundrum, but fortunately we are no longer held in an energy strangle hold by OPEC, however, it can still cause domestic instability on our market and the world. However, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, gas prices will do what gas prices will do as long as we depend on fossil fuels. Then there’s Iran.

Then we have the Russian Bear. Only time will tell how long it will take for President Trump to understand his Russian counterpart. The last president who looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul eventually learned that he had none. Trump will come to his own understanding of the man soon enough, hopefully before he’s played like a fiddle.

And there’s China, home to 20 percent of the world’s population, some 1.4 billion people. While its population dwarfs that of the United States our gross domestic product is almost double. Much of that country’s success and growth is linked to our country. But Trump should not be fooled. China wants and desires to be No. 1 in everything. Hear me clearly. Everything. And they take the long view of a civilization that’s been around for 8,000 to 10,000 years.

While some are still in mourning over Trump’s victory, a sentiment I can sympathize with, it is my hope Trump fulfills most of his campaign promises because that would be good for Americans. Let me clear. No, I’m not for building border walls or registering Muslims. That’s not America. I’m not for denigrating certain groups of people — or openly chastising those with whom I disagree, but Trump is who he is and we will see if he can tamp down his temperament as the occupant of the highest office in the land.

What I don’t want to see is Democrats meeting over dinner and coming up with a strategy to oppose Trump’s every move. I don’t want to hear anyone shout “You Lie” during his State of the State address, even if he tells one of his whoppers. That’s what Republicans did to President Obama. That was not good for the country. Turnabout is not fair play, it’s child’s play.

That said, Republicans asked for the reins of government, they got ‘em — the House of Representatives, the Senate and White House. As they began the 115th Congress they immediately flew willy-nilly into repealing the Affordable Care Act. They should remember the Pottery Barn Rule: “You break it, you bought it.” They will have no one else to blame if people end up without insurance. Can’t blame Obama, people had insurance in 2016. Republicans found the time to vote dozens of times to end the program, maybe they should have put a little effort in coming up with its replacement, or, God forbid, making the program in place, better.

Trump will have to hold Congress’ feet to the fire. He’s the one who said the system was rigged. He’s the one who said he wanted to drain the swamp. Now he has to use his deal making abilities to coax those same bayou critters responsible for the rigged system to bring in fill dirt. I wish him luck.

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