As of January 20, 2017, Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. To say I’m scared is an understatement. I’m terrified. Our country has had stupid presidents. We’ve had incompetent presidents. We’ve had evil presidents. This is the first time we’ve had all three in one president. That would be bad enough, but my fear goes so much deeper than just that.
I’m scared because we have a misogynist president. We have a bigoted president. We have a racist president. We have a xenophobic president. We have an intolerant president. We have a selfish president. We have an arrogant president. I could go on. Again, we’ve had past presidents with some, or even most, of these flaws, but never have we had a president so out of step with his own time. And never have we had a president who is so proud of his own odiousness.
I’m scared because the system doesn’t work. The 2016 presidential election was our nation’s first real test of the Electoral College and it failed miserably. I’ve always been a defender of the Electoral College. Whenever people say that we should get rid of it, I always point out the dangers of populism and my fears for those of us living in small states. But, if the Electoral College can’t protect us from a grossly unqualified, stupid, incompetent, evil president, our Constitution has a serious, probably irreparable, flaw. And checks and balances can’t work when Trump’s party controls all the branches of government. Especially since they have shown themselves to have no integrity and no interest in doing what’s right.
I’m scared because a foreign power successfully meddled with our electoral process and the country as a whole is pretty blasé about it. This is partly the press’ fault. But it also shows that we have become way too cynical. It’s like we just assume that everything in politics is bad so we can no longer distinguish between normal and completely, outrageously bad. This is scary because if the country as a whole can no longer be outraged, nothing is going to get better.
I’m scared because we no longer have a functioning press. And I’m not talking about the leftwing press or the rightwing press or the mainstream press or the alternative press. They are all equally broken. The press should have two basic jobs. They should report what happens and they should hold the powerful accountable. They do neither. The mainstream press can do little more than repeat what they’re told. And the rest of the press outlets are simply pursuing an agenda. Of all the things that scare me, this may be the scariest.
I know it’s early to say that Trump is the worst president in our history, but I can’t shake the feeling that he will be remembered that way. There is just no indication that he is capable or prepared for the job. And there’s no indication that he’s willing to prepare or even try. I can’t imagine how any of us come out of this mess okay. I’m really, really scared.