It is easy in this sad period in our nation’s history to assume the worst will happen in regards to the Trump Administration. And, yet, for some reason I am beginning to have an inkling of hope in this otherwise strange, surreal moment in our nation’s history.
I say this because I have found myself in the last few days pausing to soaking up the extraordinary situation we have found ourselves in. I find myself thinking that we’re living through an epic historic moment the likes of which we’ve not seen since at least Watergate.
Or, to put another way, I’m beginning to get a grasp of the ultimate endgame when it comes to this enormous clusterfuck that Trump has managed to bring upon us. I feel like the institution that have kept America the open, constitutional democratic republic that we all love.
This is not to say that things aren’t going to get bumpy or that there won’t be some serious consequences to all of this. I guess if you look back at Watergate 45 years later, you could say the same thing. But the republic survived, even if the whole thing left us a little bit banged up. Some of the things that Trump will change about the republic would have happened regardless of who happened to be the Republican president in office. Any Republican President would cram the Federal bench with completely bonkers, surreal, young Right-wing nut jobs with an agenda. That was going to happen, no matter what.
This, of course, works on the assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to lose. In hindsight, she was obviously such a bad candidate that she was bound to lose to any Republican that happened to be her opponent in 2016.
In fact, one could suggest that given how grossly incompetent Trump is as well as his complete lack of any set ideology, we’re actually better off in some ways than we would be had, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio become president. The real danger of Trump is his complete disregard for the democratic norms that we have come to enjoy over the last 240 odd years.
The question is what, if anything, will be the consequence of that.
That is a very deep question. It could go either way. Trump could so screw with our norms that we may go past the point of no return, or things may snap back into place. I am of the opinion that things will snap back into place. That’s where my hope comes from.
We survived a civil war that was a far greater attack on the republic. That’s not to say this isn’t a surreal moment in our nation’s history, one that won’t have a lot of damage on us going forward. But I just believe in my heart that though I seriously doubt Trump will be convicted if he ever happens to be impeached, I still have the hope if nothing else Trump will peacefully leave office as is required in either 2021 or 2025.
But I guess we’ll see.
We’re now entering a new phase of this crisis. We’re leaving the issue of law and now we’re entering something significantly more basic and that’s the social contract. Are we, as a nation, as a populace willing to allow Trump to trample basic civil norms.
Even more unnerving is even if we do try to pressure the government it’s possible that nothing will happen. And that’s a real chance that such a thing will happen. There’s a real chance whatever consequences are, we may have to wait nearly a decade for us to figure out how to deal with them. There’s a real chance that Trump will not only survive, but prosper.
But you could very well have said the same thing about Nixon in late 1973. So, I have hope. I have some sense of hope that maybe we’ll bounce back from this horrible moment in our nations history.