2017-03-29 / Editorial

IT’S HARD TO SAY I MADE A MISTAKE

Michael N. Searles

We have a hard time admitting mistakes. To say, I was wrong requires humbling ourselves in a way that’s not pleasant. Just as Jesus challenged the rich when he stated In Matthew 19:24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Most Bible scholars will argue that this reference does not refer to an actual camel or an actual eye of a needle. The statement is exaggerated to make a point.

Rich or poor, we don’t like to acknowledge our mistakes or say we’re sorry. Millions of voters went to the polls and thought they were doing something good: “Making America Great Again.” In many cases, it was not based on hate or fear of immigrants. It was a vote of hope that life could be better for them and their children. Some are still waiting. However, in just a few months, the hand writing is appearing on the wall and it does not look good. The New York Times recently published an article entitled: “Trump Budget Cuts Put Struggling Americans on Edge.” The essence of many of the comments made by Trump voters was the President’s proposed budget cuts will hurt them or someone they love. They mollify their concerns with words like, “I understand what he’s trying to do, but…” and “It’s only a proposal.” Some are beginning to say, “They did not see themselves reflected in Mr. Trump’s vision for government.”

What do you say when you’ve made a mistake of herculean proportions? How do you go back and undo something that has unforeseen consequences? This is an issue facing or soon will face those who voted for Trump, voted for someone else, or did not vote at all. There is an old expression, “While we came to America on different ships, we’re all in the same boat now.” Few Americans ever thought things could get this bad. They believed that government operated on auto pilot and, it did not matter who sat in the pilot’s seat. We assumed that the pilot might make a few course corrections but not start pounding the instrument panel with his fists. It is reported that President Trump wants to make a 37 percent cut to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development budgets. While most political pundits do not believe these proposed cuts will be approved by Congress, they reflect the President’s vision that government has a very limited role in welfare of the people. Even if some voters have less interest or concern about budgeting matters, there is little evidence that cuts will have a material benefit for those who voted for Trump. Reduced appropriations to government agencies are counted as saving but for many Republicans it offers an opportunity to lower taxes on the rich. Most Americans will receive a pittance of tax relief from tax reform while rich folks like President Trump will get a giant payoff. There is an unstated question that hangs in the air like the proverbial elephant in the room: Will Congress and the American people step in and say, “President Trump, you can no longer represent us, please resign or be impeached?” This position may seem harsh to some but it’s hard to imagine another three and a half years of the improper, indiscreet, and irrational behavior demonstrated thus far. What will the next day bring and what actions will President Trump take that endanger our lives and the nation? President Trump is not a normal political leader and his actions cannot be normalized. If he were a Congressman or a Senator, we could view his aberrant behavior as an amusing oddity. However, we do not have that luxury since he sits in the seat of power that shapes our collective wellbeing as the world holds its breath.

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