The Audacity of Fear (II)
In 2014, while addressing the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama said:
“In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost wilful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!
Three years later, he wrote a book entitled the Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. In that book he calls for a new kind of politics that unites the people and a vision for the political future of the USA. That speech and that theme propelled him on to the national platform eventually paving the way for him to become the 44th President of the United States of America.
The book became a best seller and President Obama brought eight years of growth to an economy that was on the road to disaster. In essence he had brought the hope that the people need there and then to believe that America could be great again. His was not a doctrine of fear but of what the people could achieve united. Though there were many stumbling blocks in his way, his has been the most successful Presidency in living memory.
In the recent campaign running up to the election, Donald Trump ran on a slogan of “Making America Great Again.” Perhaps Mr. Trump did not read President Obama’s book as his campaign was not based on hope. Instead it instilled fear into the Republicans base; fear that they had lost America. Fear was the weapon of destruction used by Mr. Trump to advocate racism, misogyny, bigotry, lies, deceit, albeit successfully to become the President elect of the USA.
That weapon can only be described as a two edged sword because the fear that was propagated by Mr. Trump has now taken hold on the other half of the country who did not vote for him as his campaigning promises will affect their civil liberties. The Mexicans now fear deportation, the Muslims religious persecution, the LGB Community that their rights will be taken away; the black population that again that their lives will not matter and; women that their rights will rescind to the 1950’s. In essence, Donald Trump triumphed because of the audacity of fear.
Since the election Some of the American people, especially the youth are challenging the institutions created by the founding fathers through protests in many cities and online petitions. These actions after a general election are unprecedented as the act by the early colonist of dumping tea in the Boston Harbor. The older people seem to have accepted that it is a done deal while many of the youth are claiming that the President elect is not there President. This has never been challenged before.
Although the Constitution was designed with separation of powers and clear rules for the impeachment of a President, this may not become a reality as both the House of Representatives and the Congress are controlled by Republicans.
More importantly, although the Constitution begins with “We the people” it does not provide the people with any recourse if they wish to remove a president elect. No one knows what will happen if the protests escalate. These groups must unite and state their clear goals.
Like a play in which the writer has only written two acts, this story is far from over. The county has elected a Republican House of Representatives and Senate along with a Republican President; a businessman known as The Donald who comes with an empire and has set the tone for his absolute rule (not that of his Administration) may be headed towards a constitutional crisis.
On introspection if that famous conversation between Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia and Benjamin Franklin were to take place today regarding the status of the country, and she asked “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” One can say with some degree of certainty that his response would be “A monarchy, what a waste of tea!”