To his supporters, Trump is the second-coming of Reagan… but every day, each passing Tweet, Donald Trump embarrasses himself and our republic. The most egregious behavior involves the apparent collaboration with Putin’s Russia. Trump and his acolytes have done little to assuage the concerns of the media or critics; often, going as far as to defend Putin and his authoritarian methods.
Before one of the largest Television audiences in the world… Trump did the unthinkable- he equated the actions of the United States with those of Putin- all comparisons to Reagan must end immediately. The President of the United States implied to the world a moral equivalence exists between our republic and the ruthless autocrat in Russia. Putin’s murders are documented and clearly show the brutal nature of his regime. Trump’s smarmy innuendo is an indication of both ignorance and complicity. Far from making us safer, this man is emerging as a serious threat to our national security.
No comparisons here.
Reagan’s call for an end to totalitarianism… shows just how different the two men really are:
“No, democracy is not a fragile flower. Still it needs cultivating. If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals, we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy.”….What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”
The historic Presidency of Barack Obama is over… many scholars have already formed their opinions on our 44th President– Practically Historical advises more careful scholarship be undertaken. Obama’s historic election should be remembered, but his time in office needs proper scrutiny for the sake of future generations.
Economic recovery- Critics will charge that the natural business cycle helped us out of the Great Recession, but Obama’s administration played a key role. Job growth, GDP, and stock prices all rose under his leadership, while unemployment fell. Obama’s efforts with the stimulus package and the bailout of the auto industry are both noteworthy. By the end of his second term, economists were only debating the rates of growth, not whether there had been any.
Civil Rights- Though he opposed gay marriage for much of his political life, Obama changed his mind and used the Justice Department to fight for this most basic right for same-sex couples. His efforts united people from across the political spectrum– the key court case was argued by former US Solicitor (Republican) General Ted Olson. Anthony Kennedy sealed the Constitutionality of the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Killing Osama Bin Laden- George W. Bush had given up the manhunt, but Obama made it a priority. Violating the sovereign borders of an alleged ally and carrying out a dangerous clandestine raid there was a bold stroke. Obama showed commendable fraternity by first contacting his predecessor with the news.
Tomorrow– the bad.
Jefferson believed religious conflicts were the fault of theological teachings… not the people practicing faith.
As the crisis over Muslim immigration to America intensifies, both sides look to Jefferson to defend their positions. Former President Obama’s claim that Jefferson helped enshrine Islam into our national fabric is blatant exaggeration. President Trump’s allies are equally mistaken portraying Jefferson as an anti-Islamic warrior.
Author of Religious Freedom
Jefferson’s problems with Islam were philosophical… for he believed the faith to be anti-science and irrationally intolerant to open inquiry.
“I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives…For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me.”
The belief in religious freedom does not excuse its transgressions… Jefferson explained to friend and ally, James Madison.
“The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished does not give immunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error.”
Executive orders were once referred to as “memorandum, notes, or letters”… issued by the President. Many Americans equate the process with the creation of law, but typically the orders are written to enforce, not write laws. Recent Presidents have used the authority to implement policies which are not part of a legislative agenda. Historically, the American people are uncomfortable with an overly-active executive. The practice has only been officially documented since 1936.
Some perspective on the issuing of Executive Orders is needed….
Ge0rge Washington- 8
James Madison- 1
Andrew Jackson- 12
James K. Polk- 18
Abraham Lincoln- 48
US Grant- 217
Theodore Roosevelt- 1,081
Woodrow Wilson- 1, 803
*Calvin Coolidge- 1,203
Franklin Roosevelt- 3,721
Richard Nixon- 346
George W. Bush- 291
Barack Obama- 276
Donald Trump- 12…. and counting
Historically, inaugural speeches celebrate the American system… our republican virtue and the peaceful transfer of power. Partisanship is put aside in acknowledgment of being part of something greater, and speakers usually are humbled by the Day.
Still on the Stump
January 20, 2017 was just another stump speech for our 45th President… unaware or unwilling to accept that the day and our history dwarf him, President Trump repeated his neo-populist campaign slogans in a not-so-subtle swipe at his predecessors. At the precise moment he should have shed his reality TV persona, Mr. Trump chose to continue his role as rabble rouser in-chief.
“candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.”
John Adams understood the gravity of his inauguration… March 4, 1797. His words echoed through history for generations to follow, yet were all but ignored today:
“The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”
Inauguration Day 2017 finds Americans deeply divided… and a President-Elect taking office with little interest in healing the nation’s wounds. Donald Trump has the opportunity, and in a larger sense the responsibility, to accept the power of the Presidency and work faithfully to bring his people together. His Twitter account shows a very different plan….
How have we come this far?
Lincoln offered such an effort to his dissatisfied countrymen in 1861… appealing to common history, faith, and sense…such a momentous task required more than 140 characters…
“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. “