The sun rose in Orlando this morning. I’m not sure why; it doesn’t have anything positive to shine down upon. It did make a statement with its color choice, however. I sit on the lanai sipping my morning espresso, the clouds that are in the sky have a red haze to them. I won’t say bloody. It’s not a dark red suggesting a Cubs repeat. Though, if that were to occur, it would be the only saving grace of 2017; much like it was in 2016. No, the red dawn today was much more ominous, almost as if to suggest an impending takeover by China, North Korea or, more likely, Russia.
I jest with the above paragraph, though only slightly. Not only did I awake yesterday feeling terrible: stuffy nose; sore throat; achy. I also awoke to learn my bank account had been hacked and someone charged tons of money for fur coats and hats with ear coverings. Probably the Russians. And then the trifecta was capped off with the worst of it: remembering it was Inauguration Day.
I’m concerned for several reasons, many of which I’ve discussed before, and now some of which have become reality.
First, within minutes of being sworn in, whitehouse.gov removed several pages from the website and updated its information. That always happens and that’s to be expected. I figured the new policy pages would contain something about America First. I was right. What I didn’t expect was to see the pages on climate change and LGBT rights disappear. Furthermore, the page on energy policy was drastically shifted to mention nothing about conserving energy but rather to suggest we’re going to take more energy from the ground and water beneath us, no mention of the cost to the planet itself.
Second, the National Park Service has been banned, indefinitely, from tweeting. Why? Because of two retweets. One suggesting, correctly, that the crowd on January 20, 2009, was several times larger than the crowd on January 20, 2017. The second retweet discussed the removal of all mention of climate change from whitehouse.gov. On the one hand, I understand there must be a unified policy among the agencies the White House oversees. However, they aren’t supposed to be “yes men.” The agencies are supposed to be experts in their fields, despite an alarming number of new cabinet appointees having an extreme lack of expertise. And it is these experts that should be allowed to discuss their concerns or their gratitude for the policies set forth by the White House. Muting someone or, in this case, an entire agency, with which you disagree is truly un-American. This is probably my most grave concern. You can not, under any circumstances, silence your opposition simply because they are your opposition. We are a country who has said, time and again, with our laws and policies, that freedom of speech is guaranteed. We make sure that the Enquirer can write whatever it wants so we can be certain the Washington Post can right whatever it wants.
Third, the second piece of legislation signed yesterday by the incoming administration removed a credit for FHA loans; a $500.00 credit. That’s not much but to the people who received it, it was a great deal. If this is just a plan someone in the new administration didn’t like, that’s one thing. If this is part of a bigger agenda, that’s another thing. However, if that be the case, why don’t know the agenda?
And this brings me to my fourth concern: transparency. I absolutely understand and agree that some matters of state must be kept confidential and even must be rebutted in the public eye with lies or mistruths. However, in most instances, transparency from the administration to the citizenry is paramount in reciprocal trust. People fear what they don’t know and don’t understand. Admittedly, this is a problem I have with the incoming admistration. They fail to be transparent so I fear what they may do based on the little and radical information I receive from them.
Fifth, the new administration does not have to contend with an opposition Congress. Some would argue the enduring wisdom of our electoral system allows the people to select a Chief Executive of one party and a Congress of another as that leads to reaching middle ground on legislation. However, as we saw with the last few years, it simply leads to gridlock at the hands of childish, reactionary old men. On the other hand, selecting an Executive branch and Legislative branch of the same party would allow legislation to pass through more freely and less watered down. The issue here is the pendulum swings too far. Our system is meant to be slow and methodical; not swift and reactionary.
Finally, the Supreme Court. This is my second most grave concern. I am disappointed in the outgoing administration and how they simply let it slide. What do I mean by it? I mean the unprecedented act of blocking a presidential Supreme Court appointment. The Senate is there to advise and consent. They are not there to block. Had they conducted hearings, as is their duty, and they still found the appointment to be too radical or unqualified, then reject. Do not simply block. People on the right argue that we must let the people decide. We did let the people decide. There was an election in 2012, in case you don’t recall. They also argue appointing someone to the Supreme Court in the last year of a presidential term is unheard of. To quote the incoming President: “Wrong!” Many Supreme Court nominees have been appointed during the final year of a term. One, in fact, was nominated and appointed after the November election. But that was a Republican appointee so it must be acceptable. The Court has the potential and, frankly, likelihood, of swinging radically right. I believe in a balanced Court; not a radical Court in either direction.
All of these concerns center around the unknown. If the new administration is able to still provide insurance to the vast majority of the country at a cheaper cost, I will be among the first to applaud. If the new administration is able to cut taxes for wealthy and somehow have that increase wages for the middle class, I will be among the first to applaud. If the new administration is able to keep manufacturing jobs in this country while keeping the cost of those goods from inflating, I will be the first to applaud.
But, right now, I am not applauding. I am terrified by what I see and it hasn’t even been 24 hours. Indeed, what will the next four years bring?