Updated: Jul 2, 2019
As we celebrate Presidents’ Day, it’s time to take a look at the presidency. But first, a word about the political party that Donald Trump claims to embrace; the Republican Party, which he has effectively hijacked.
Today the Grand Old Party, the party that stood for small government and big business, is no more. The party that believes “that which governs best, governs least”, that supports less government intervention in business, that is pro-life, but anti-welfare, that opposes deficit spending and overblown budgets (except for defense spending) has all but ceased to exist.
Instead, the GOP has become a party that promotes hate and division. It embraces a distorted view of the Second Amendment, claiming it provides a right to unlimited firearms, while seeking to destroy the First Amendment guarantees of Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.
It has become the Party of Trump.
While Trump has historically low approval ratings, his approval among those who call themselves Republican is at its highest rate in years, standing at 89 percent. But who are these people?
According to Pew Research, today’s Republicans are primarily white Evangelicals who have little or no college experience. They support this administration because they believe Trump is “one of them,” despite his being raised in a privileged environment.
With every lie, his loyal followers reply with the same lame defense, “but Obama”, thereby giving credence to the thousands of lies, distortions and twisting of the facts emanating from President Trump. This is the era in which we currently live.
A major danger we face is the lack of checks-and-balances that our Founding Fathers incorporated into the Constitution to prevent the abuse of Executive power. From the Iran Nuclear Deal to the Paris Accords to environmental protections, this administration has sought to undo many of the strides made by President Obama, and largely without opposition from Congress. As a result, we now face a Constitutional crisis with the enacting of a State of Emergency over funding for a border wall that a majority of Americans opposes.
Make no mistake.
As the 2020 elections draw closer, we will face more divisive rhetoric. We will hear more cries of “a rigged system”, and if Trump loses, more threats of violence and a possible schism over the changing of power in Washington.
This is a critical time for our democracy. What will happen is anyone’s guess. Let’s hope for a peaceful transition, but prepare for a dangerous battle ahead.
CJ Waldron is a retired English teacher from upstate New York. An adjunct instructor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, he lives in Conway, SC with his wife, Donna.