Hello, I am the Centrist Voice. I am glad to know that 2017 is almost over. On the whole, I would say that 2017 was a terrible year. Last year, I called 2016 “An American Tragedy“, and that the following four years are going to be difficult for America. 2017 very much proved me right.
To start with, 2017 was the year that saw Donald John Trump being inaugurated President of the United States. Since then, Trump has proven himself to be one of, if not the, worst Presidents in American history. First, there was the Muslim ban, which has been continually revised (and challenged in the courts). In addition, Trump withdrew the United States out of the Paris Accord. Much of Trump’s Cabinet and campaign staff are under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Furthermore, Trump has absolutely no legislative accomplishments to date, despite having a Republican majority in both houses of Congress – something that any President would dream of having. Donald Trump has also attempted to undermine his predecessor Barack Obama’s greatest legislative victory: the Affordable Care Act. Most dangerously, Trump has frequently provoked North Korea, which could lead to nuclear war. I could go on on, but my point is clear: 2017 was the year of Trump.
However, Trump’s legislative mishaps and abuses of executive orders are not the only hallmarks of his destructive Presidency. Trump also poses a threat to our civic discourse with his use of tactics such as whataboutism (the practice of shifting attention from criticism of your shortcomings by pointing out the hypocrisies of another party) and, of course, attacking the media. I consider this to be particularly dangerous because his position in the Oval Office could legitimize them for future generations.
During the year, I would often think about how future generations would look at the Trump presidency. I hope that history books remember the Trump administration as one of the worst in history. In addition, I sometimes wonder if Donald John Trump will be the last Republican Party President of the United States. In addition, I worry that we might not even have a future after Trump, due to his access to the nuclear launch codes, volatile temperament, lack of political savvy, and precarious mentality.
Given all this, I am glad that 2017 is almost over. The one thing that has given me hope is the 2018 midterms. I hope the Democratic Party wins a majority in both Houses of Congress. Even thought that would mean that Trump would not be impeached until, at the earliest, 2019, it would prevent him from carrying out his agenda for the rest of his term in office.
However, there has already been hope. Earlier this year, the people of the Netherlands and France, likely influenced by their observations of the Trump presidency in the United States, rejected right-wing nationalism in their own countries. The Netherlands re-elected incumbent centrist Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD over the anti-immigration Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party. Furthermore, The people of France elected the center-left Emmanuel Macron instead of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen. But even the United States has reason to celebrate, as New Jersey and Virginia elected Democrats. Furthermore, the people of Alabama elected their first Democratic Party Senator in over two decades Doug Jones. These achievements, both at home and abroad, have given me hope for 2018.
However, there has been another thing that has given me consolation. That is the fact that while I might be miserable about the Trump presidency, Trump himself is not pleased with his position either. When approaching the 100-day mark of his Presidency, Trump digressed in an interview that he “loved [his] previous life”, and that the Presidency would be easier.
Yes, you read that right. Donald Trump – the first President to take office without any prior political experience – actually thought that being President of the most powerful country in the world, a position that would require years, if not decades, of hands-on political experience, would be easier than managing a private company or hosting a reality television series. That is so arrogant and ignorant, it is offensive.
It is arrogant and offensive because there are millions of Americans who do not have Trump’s privileges – being born a wealthy, white man in the most powerful country on Earth – and are still more qualified for the Presidency than Trump ever was. This statement is ignorant because Trump actually believed that he could get elected President and not care about the realities of being President. It is offensive because Trump managed to get elected in large part due to his celebrity status, and not because of his own merits as a politician or a person. If Trump did not have his money, I highly doubt he would even have his celebrity status, let alone the Presidency.
But I can understand why Trump would not be pleased with his current position. He is holding a position where he is subject to intense scrutiny and public disapproval. He is obliged to represent other people than himself, and work on their behalf. He has Robert Mueller investigating his campaign staff’s ties to Russia. The only major piece of legislation that he had managed to achieve was a highly unpopular tax “reform” bill that will do nothing to help the working class and will actually add over $2 trillion to the deficit over the following 10 years. How is that for “winning so much [we are] going to get tired of winning?”
Now, as 2017 winds down, I literally cannot wait for the 2018 midterms. Many of Trump’s policies as President, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act and building the Mexican border wall, are going to hurt millions of Americans. We need to do the work to make sure that no wall gets built and nobody loses their health coverage. To do that, we need to vote in the midterms and in the gubernatorial elections next year. This time, we cannot vote for Internet memes or fictional characters. We need to vote for real candidates with feasible ideas.
During this year, I thought about how different America is from what it was on January 19. I would say that we are a more divided and less respected nation. It will take at least a generation to rebuild America’s image after Trump leaves office. When that day comes, America will cry out “NEVER AGAIN”!