Every formal occasion that puts a new person in the position
of president of the United States brings with it an
accompanying and need-to-get used-to usage of juxtaposing
the person’s name with the title of office. In 2001, it was not
quite so because in spite of the closeness of the race, and the
delay in deciding who had won, the new president had the
same surname as his father who had been president only
eight years before.
It will take some time for many Americans to become
accustomed to “President Trump” --- especially so because
his election was so unexpected and controversial.
If anyone doubted that he would not arrive with such
surprising force as he did during his campaign for the
Republican Party nomination, and later in his campaign
against the Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton, they
were disabused of this by the new president’s bold and
clear inaugural remarks following his swearing-in.
His speech might have lacked the memorable eloquent
phrases of a Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy
opening address, but it was in its simplicity and directness as
notable a speech as most others.
The aforementioned presidents each ushered in a new political
era, and so does President Trump. What made his remarks
distinctive was their lack of traditional partisanship, and their
notice to the establishments on all sides, that a serious reform
approach was coming across the national board.
Nevertheless, any speech is just so many words, especially if
behind them in due course there is not a performance of change.
In the case of the new president, he creates high expectations for
his performance even if there has not yet been a high expectation
for ability to be a strong and effective president.
The hostile media which so unseemly opposed his candidacy, and
even more unseemly has attacked him before he took office, wished
for another speech --- a speech which in effect he confessed that his
campaign for president was not going to be like his actual service
in the office. His answer to them, and all others who wished for
something conventional, was to declare that his goals and concerns
expressed in running for president were the same as his program
for being president.
Many Americans do not agree with President Trump, just as many
Americans did not agree with Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt and
Kennedy. The burden of proof now shifts to the new president,
his administration and his party majorities in Congress, to justify
their words and the expectations those words created.
It is no small task to change the trend to over-centralization of
U.S. government in the nation’s capital, to reform a growing and
intrusive federal bureaucracy, and most of all, to revive a
sluggish economy in which so many vulnerable Americans are
unemployed. It will be no small challenge to navigate the vital
interests of the nation through a complex and dangerous maze of
global interests and forces.
President Trump has his strong supporters who are confident he
will deliver on his promises. He also has strong opponents who
are confident he will fail. But most importantly, there are even
more Americans who simply, and out of understandable
self-interest, wish him well, and the skills to succeed. Those
performances are now immediately ahead.
Let this new show on the national stage begin.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.