Politicians usually try to look like they’re keeping their campaign promises, at least until they get sworn in. Only then do they start mumbling about changed circumstances and the difficulty of dealing with Congress (even if their party controls Congress, as Donald Trump’s does).
Not so our president-elect. He’s been changing both the words and the melody of his campaign tunes since the networks declared him the victor. No more of the “Lock her up” chants that had that ugly edge to them. No, now Trump says that Hillary Clinton is owed a debt of gratitude for the years she spent in public service.
And the wall, which had traders investing in cement futures, now looks more like a fence with spaces in it.
What about rounding up all those “illegals” for mass deportation? Not so fast. It seems that most Americans don’t want to break up families. Most Americans think children and families who have been here for decades should not be separated but should be offered a road to legalized status. So, it is reported, the president-elect is focused on criminals -- which is much more sensible, but definitely not what he said in the campaign.
And gay marriage? Trump now says that the courts have settled it.
I’m not sure what these conservatives actually bought into. But then, I’m not sure that any of us have ever had a president whom we could predict so little about.
Were all these extreme positions during the campaign just red meat to win the election?
If so, exactly what is our president-elect really for?
Did anyone point out that, in addition to lacking qualifications, Trump lacks experience, a record, serious thought and conversation, diplomacy and respect for others as equals? (Trump thinks no one is his equal: Can you imagine him at the United Nations?)
Has anyone considered that with the so-called “legitimate press corps” terrified of losing access, since they are openly reviled by the president-elect, the critical quality of the journalistic coverage is going to drop whether or not anyone wants to admit it?
And who speaks for the opposition? Certainly not the protesters in Portland, most of whom (at least among those arrested), reportedly, did not bother to vote. And while congressional leaders might be an obvious answer, it might also be the worst answer in the world. Sure, let’s put out front the people Donald Trump most enjoys vilifying. Great.
Who else? There is a new generation of Democrats, some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. They’re not Clinton or Biden people. Barack Obama was their first president, and a great one to admire. This generation doesn’t carry the old baggage. They need to step up. The millennials need to step up. Like a big rain, there is nothing like a big loss — and this was a big loss, whatever the point spread -- to create the space for creativity, and a willingness to listen and support it.