The GOP has attained not only a victory in the presidency this year, but they also have the majority in The House and Senate. This creates the unique situation of a one party majority, giving them a rare opportunity to push through any policy platforms as they see fit, as well as repealing many measures enacted by the Obama administration the last 8 years.
This comes with good and bad.
The House and The Senate
This has been a momentous occasion for many in the republican party, and their elation is to be expected given the overwhelming victory they are riding on. I would like to take a moment to advise the use of caution when wielding this vast legislative power.
The Trump movement can be largely attributed to the idea that the ruling party and the constituents of that party had ignored the needs of Americans they disagreed with. It started innocent enough, unintentional exclusion in policy planning, lack of career transition assistance when jobs were lost due to trade policies, and refusing to include opposing viewpoints in the conversation if they occasionally did not know the right pronoun to use when discussing Caitlyn Jenner.
This exclusion, somewhere along the way, morphed into condescension and a lack of empathy for the lives others are living. We are now witnessing the inevitable backlash for that lack of understanding.
I watched this play out on TV, Clinton supporters in tears, Trump Supporters with faces of pure surprise and joy. Then I turned to social media, and like the rest of us, the posts were contentious, bitter, condescending, indifferent and angry. The tables had turned. As the vote counts were finalized and The House and Senate were solidified, I reflected on those posts and the lessons unlearned from both sides the last several years.
“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
Those words written by James Madison in The Federalist No. 51 stress the importance of a restrained government because he knew the dangers. He saw it first hand. He rebelled against such a government.
The dangers of alienating the population, the dangers of enacting extreme and unpopular legislation and the dangers to democracy itself when a government is allowed to act unrestrained and untethered from consequences. He knew it all. With control of The House and Senate and a president who holds authoritarian tendencies, we are looking at a minimum danger of being overtaken by the same kind of backlash we saw this year, but from the left.
It’s a dance where no one wins in the end. It’s just back and forth nonstop.
We Need to Listen to One Another
So what are the genuine concerns that many on the left have, that the GOP could listen to in order to prevent the predictable backlash?
Trump has promised to repeal and replace the ACA with “something terrific” and that has left the 20 million Americans who may lose their medical coverage in fear, a fear that should be familiar to many of us. They have concerns over cornerstones of our country like free speech, birthright citizenship, marriage equality and countless other social issues.
These are real fears.
They have concerns about his bombastic calls to kill the families of suspected terrorists, and with the possibility that we may become more engaged in warfare than we are currently. They have concerns about the environment, and how our energy policies may affect it. In short, they are scared, they are angry and with the tables turned, it’s up to the GOP to decide where things go.
The fact is, President-elect Trump IS going to be president. He needs support. Chanting from the people for him to fail is a bad idea. He’s the pilot and we are all on his plane. But The House and The Senate and the Presidential Cabinet need to listen to the fears we all have.
This election has been a stressful and exhausting affair for all of us. The emotions, the partisan divides, the fighting with friends and family about things you never thought you would discuss before. This time the GOP has a chance to redefine the party, to redefine the way politics have been going the last several years, and redefine the relationship between the two parties. For the good of the future of our country, I hope some partisan gains can be set aside in order to bring unity and compromise into our political atmosphere once again. The current state of affairs is unsustainable and we all have grown to understand that. For the good of the country, and for the good of our stress levels, we need to find common ground once again.
As a people we need to make sure our voice is heard. But we need to do it the right way. Let’s not muddy the water with hate speech. Let’s talk about the real issues at hand and the real facts at hand. Share this with your friends and let’s have an informed discussion.