Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Hail to the Chief

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Who will take center stage on Jan. 20, 2017? It’s an important question, but more crucial is our determination to work within the system and not overreact because we do not favor our next president.

Some 350 hours from this posting, people across the United States will complete the process of casting ballots in thousands of different political races. Thousands … but there’s only one we’ve all been talking about and focusing on.

It is important who we choose as president, but probably not quite as crucial as we seem to want it to be.

Our government grew out of a rebellion against a king. For that reason, it is purposely designed to keep any one person from being able to do all of the things our candidates have promised us.

He or she can lead a campaign to build a wall or initiate medical care for everyone, but a president can only do so much. The rest usually requires the assistance of Congress and must withstand scrutiny by the court system. Anything so major as to entail a constitutional amendment must also be ratified by enough states in order to take effect.

But this is a good thing, checks and balances.

If your favored candidate is elected, maybe he or she will not be able to do everything you’re wanting. On the other hand, if the other person is elected, it’s more than likely he or she will be unable to accomplish that which you dread.

In other words, I still have faith in the system.

I still have faith in the American people, in spite of all the horrible things we’ve said about each other this past year-plus.

And it is with us, the people, that the power lies to see the United States through the election, the inauguration and the four- to eight-year incumbency of someone who fully half of the populace feels is not deserving of the Oval Office.

Regardless who wins, it is up to us to hold the country together, to protect the values we hold dear, to keep the nation strong.

And we really need to start now.

We need to begin forming an alliance between us – whether we are/were supporters of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, whomever – that we’re going to work through what promises to be a tough term.

The key word is “work.”

What’s easy to do is to sit back and ridicule the other side. Post Facebook memes that spread hateful disinformation and fear. Call each other names. Blame our own slightest discomfort on someone else’s success. Fret that we are being abused by others.

At this writing, we’re more than 14 days from knowing who the next president will be. We’re more than two weeks from knowing the makeup of Congress.

Some of us are dreading the possibility of higher taxes that are supposedly going to help heal, feed and educate our citizens but we have no confidence any such good will actually come from it. Some of us are worried that our new government will open a season of persecution against millions of people because of their religion, country of origin or sexual orientation.

But these feared scenarios are exactly the issues we must be prepared to work through, not cower from and certainly not to instigate violence over.

I supported Bernie Sanders in this space last January, primarily because I found his policies most in line with my religious beliefs. It was those policies that carried me over to the Clinton campaign though she has never been that appealing to me.

There is next to nothing in the Trump candidacy that calls to my soul. Period.

However …

However, I’m promising you here and now that, if Donald Trump is elected the 45th president of the United States, I will respect that decision. He will be my president and I will bestow upon him the honor that accompanies the office. I will pray for him to be a wise and effective leader.

If I don’t like what he tries to do, I will try to sway him and I will encourage my other representatives to stand up for what I believe is right. You can bet I will have my say in this or other forums.

I will not pledge to like his policies or to support all of his efforts, but I will continue to respect the office and the will of the people.

I promise you I will not call for armed insurrection. I will not take to the streets or the woodlands to fight it out. This country is designed to withstand even a bad president without resorting to civil war over it.

Won’t you join me?

 

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