by Jack Crombie
As the frost deepens and the snow starts to accumulate, with the Christmas lights twinkling inside and outside of our homes, we once again collectively start to seek the answer to such questions as, “What to get Aunt Mable?” and “What the heck is figgy pudding?”
This year, the season is not only a time of joy and of giving but it is a time of great relief. For after what seems like an eon, we are no longer being plagued by those incessant phone calls from pollsters fascinated by our political predilections. Hallelujah! Christmas is upon us and the great political war waged for so long is over. Or is it?
As the dust settles over the bloodied battlefield, the situation is less clear than many pundits and politicians might imagine or wish. That the art of reading tea leaves is obviously lost, need hardly be mentioned, that those who were wrong in their previous prognostications and have clearly learned nothing from their mistakes, is both amusing and annoying.
Republicans and industrialists are joyous in the acclamation of “their” new leader; Democrats and environmentalists are in a panic at the imagined threat.
It seems that politicians and pundits of all stripes are still singing the same old tunes, despite the fact that we have a new choir master who has his own repertoire of tunes from an unseen song book. The various political establishment figures continue to view this new choirmaster through their own political lens despite the fact that recent experience should have informed them that these lenses do not reveal an accurate rendering of the emerging political landscape.
It is obvious that the “establishment” that purports to represent the Democratic Party, and rejected the anti-establishment message of Bernie Sanders, and the “establishment” of the Republican Party who threw everything but the kitchen sink at Trump before he became their candidate and thereafter offered him the most lukewarm support, still fail to understand that the message delivered by the electorate was for a “shake up” of the “establishment.”
In a classic example of “denial, the “establishment” across all the political hues, seem to believe that after proselytizing his often non-Republican winning message in the political wilderness, Trump will now suddenly morph into a classic establishment Republican.
Republicans and industrialists are joyous in the acclamation of “their” new leader; Democrats and environmentalists are in a panic at the imagined threat. The establishment as represented by all the various political parties, media outlets and lobby groups are aligning along traditional party lines in regimented orthodoxy apparently oblivious to the message or the messenger. As Donald’s star rises during this holiday season from celebrity apprentice to president and wise men flock to pay him homage; the hopes, fears and expectations proclaimed, have become confused by an elite whose orthodoxy his election promised to overthrow.
Tis the season to be joyful; and skeptical at the same time, of what the establishment through their media outlets proclaim.
A better insight into what lies in our collective future may be found by examining the underlying beliefs and values of Donald Trump, the exalted son, imparted to him by his beloved mother Mary (MacLeod). Mary arrived in this country in 1930 with just $50 in her pocket but was determined to improve her economic position by working hard as a maid or cleaner.
She entered the country on a tourist visa and illegally overstayed it for six years becoming a legal resident only after marrying Trump’s dad. Her first language was not English and she was raised under a very austere form of Presbyterianism which advised her own beliefs and that of her children.
Trump’s adult life has been that of a businessman, a developer, a negotiator. He prides himself in his skill as a deal maker. He has stated recently that he admires the single payer health care system of the U.K. He has said he supports a tax on the wealthy. He will impose a system of tariffs that would punish foreign countries who he believes are cheating in international trade. He advocates for a less hostile relationship with Russia and a more hostile relationship with China. These, needless to say, are not traditional Republican views.
I suspect Donald just might give the people, if not exactly what he said, certainly a shake-up of the establishment; which is, I believe, what the people actually want.
We must wait and see which of the old sayings is more valid: “Be careful what you wish for—You might just get it” as he may be the proverbial bull in the china shop that could wreck everything. Or, as in that other old saying, “It is the new broom that sweeps clean,” which might be exactly what Washington needs.
It will be an interesting new year. And in the meantime, Merry Christmas to all!
Mr. Crombie, a native Scotsman, lives in Winthrop Harbor