Mark L. Hopkins: The letter to the editor said give Trump a chance
The letter to the editor said, “Trump won the election, give him a chance.” That is an admonition being repeated all around the country, “Give Trump a chance.” It is a request that is worthy of some reflection and response.
Some who were strong supporters of President Barack Obama might respond, “You didn’t give our guy much of a chance.” Who said, “Our job is to make sure he is a one term president.” That was Mitch McConnell, head of the Republican Party in the Senate. Who said, “We intend to fight him tooth and nail on every issue.” That was South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Democrats might ask, “Why should we give (Donald) Trump a chance when the Republicans threw up every hurdle and barrier they could find?” President Obama was president for 8 years and they were still fighting him “tooth and nail,” right to the end.
One of President Trump’s successes is getting his nominee through the Senate and into a seat on the Supreme Court. It is unlikely the Democrats will forget that the Republicans blocked President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court in his last 6 months in office. Democrats may remember for many years that this nominee to the Supreme Court was stolen from them by the Republican majority in the Senate.
Yes, I know the nominee to the Supreme Court is supposed to be bipartisan. Considering recent happenings with Court nominees we can shelve that illusion. Politics seems to rear its ugly head everywhere we turn these days.
Can the Republicans cite similar indiscretions on the part of Democrats in past years? No doubt they can. To quote a key line in the stage play, “1776”, “Who stinketh the most?” The argument in the play was over who was most guilty in the perpetuation of slavery in the colonies, the ones whose ships transported the slaves, the north, or the ones who bought them, the south. Today with our political parties, as was true in the play, neither side is clean.
One could say accurately that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing the best they can for their political party. Unfortunately, the self-interest of political parties is not always in the best interest of the country. George Washington warned us about political parties when he left office two centuries ago. He said, “Political parties weaken the government. They create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions.” He further stated, “They provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.” That sounds like it was written just last week instead of more than 200 years ago.
In reality, it doesn’t make any difference who is “right” or who is “wrong.” The truth of the matter is that our political parties are not working in the best interest of the country. If the gridlock of the past 6 years is an indication of the future, we are in for a major Constitutional crisis. For our country to be safe and well, government must function. It doesn’t have to always be functioning on eight cylinders but it has to function. It hasn’t been doing its job and that is serious as per the long term effects on the country.
It is time to put the differences aside. Who will be first to put the country above personal and political self-interest? Compromise is the key word in this mental exercise. You can’t define the word “politics” without including the word “compromise.” Many of our current members of Congress ran for office promising that they would not compromise. They need to either rethink that position or they need to resign and go home. We can’t run a government on stalemate and gridlock. We are well past the time when our leadership should begin to lead in a responsible manner. Should I hold my breath?
-- Dr. Mark L. Hopkins writes for More Content Now and the Anderson Independent-Mail in South Carolina. He is past president of colleges and universities in four states. Books by Hopkins currently available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble include “Journey to Gettysburg” and “The Wounds of War,” both Civil War-era novels, and “The World As It Was When Jesus Came.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.