My latest newspaper column:
Wow. Was I ever wrong about who America is and what it wants! Now I can only hope I’ve been equally wrong about who Donald Trump is and what he wants, that the latest president to lose the popular vote will leave our country in better shape than the last one who did. As an American, and unlike Congressional Republicans for the past eight years, I can’t hope for failure of our new president. I hope that whatever he means by “great” turns out to be great. I hope the voices of my correspondents and their similars, who call me a traitor and promise “you’ll get yours” aren’t the only ones he’ll listen to. I hope he’ll keep his promise to be president for all Americans. I hope the spike in bullying of not-white children, the defacing of mosques, synagogues, and black churches is temporary and this isn't the new normal. Same with violent protests.
I hope I’m wrong that minorities must live in fear.
I hope I’ve been wrong about everything. I hope climate change is a hoax and Vladimir Putin will be America’s best friend ever. I hope trickle-down economics will finally work; that cutting taxes on the wealthy and increasing military spending will, for once, make our economy soar, create fabulous jobs in numbers never before seen, and bring about budgetary balance.
And I hope Republicans are right that the social safety net they like to call “free stuff” has been making things worse, that when food stamps, early childhood education, job training, day care for working moms are no more, the inner cities will revitalize themselves and poverty will become a thing of the past. I hope abstinence-only sex education and defunding Planned Parenthood won’t increase STDs and teen pregnancies. I hope it’s unnecessary to have a president who can separate fact from fiction.
I’m hoping Donald Trump’s secret plan to defeat ISIS will get it done in days, as promised, and peace will reign in the Middle East. I hope he’s right that he alone can fix crime and it’s true it’ll start disappearing January Twentieth. I hope I’m wrong that his plans for Muslims will create more terrorists. I hope the deportation of two million of “the worst” criminals, also scheduled for day one, works well and without ensnaring many innocents. I hope the wall ends illegal immigration and when Mexico reimburses us for it, the money will be put to good use.
I hope a skeptical and unencumbered press isn’t as important to our democracy as I’ve argued, and that the same is true for those willing to speak out against government abuses. I hope a president threatening reprisals on critical reporters and political enemies is no big deal, because Omarosa just reminded us he’ll be keeping a list. I hope that turning the Department of Justice and FBI into instruments of presidential power will serve us well, too.
I hope our Constitution holds.
I hope the Republican replacement for Obamacare will provide for twenty million suddenly uninsured fellow Americans, and that guaranteeing access and controlling costs really is as simple as health savings accounts and cross-border insurance purchases.
Because I live here, too, I wish our president-elect success. I hope the environment doesn’t need protecting after all, or, if it does, that unregulated former polluters will be responsible voluntarily. I hope there’ll still be water free of fracking fluids, lead, and other poisons, or that we’ll learn they’re not really harmful. Same with burning coal and acidified oceans.
I hope that, seeing a godly man in the White House and a return to prayer and Bible study in public schools, God will lift His countenance upon us, begin cooling the planet, restoring the polar ice caps, and stop with the punitive hurricanes and floods. I hope I’ve overstated the value of education, that when the US quits teaching science and reasoning it won’t put us at a disadvantage in the world. I hope I’ve been wrong in believing immigrants have been and remain indispensible to our future.
For all these things, I hope in the name of my still-innocent grandchildren.
Also, if it’s not too much trouble, I hope when they get around to me, I’ll be sent to the same gulag as Jon Stewart, Dave Letterman, and Stephen Colbert.[Image source]