Hail to the Chief

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as the President of the United States of America.

I must admit that 18 months ago, I told friends that the Trump campaign was giving everyone a good laugh and a good show but he would never be the Republican candidate. As he grew stronger and stronger during the primaries I could only shake my head and wonder what was going on.

I did not vote for him, voting instead for Libertarian Gary Johnson to show my disappointment in the two big candidates. But our constitutional system worked as our Founding Fathers established it to.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. The people have spoken and I accept their choice. It is not the result I wanted but so be it. I am not going to whine and cry about the outcome of the election. It would never cross my mind to boycott his inauguration, well since I have never been to an inauguration and probably never will this is not really an issue for me. But I am shocked by those elected officials who are boycotting the inauguration. They are elected to represent all their electors. They are elected to a position of responsibility in which they put the constitution first and their personal feelings second.

And the idea of those who would like to disrupt the presidential inauguration leaves me baffled. I understand that people do not like him but disrupting an inauguration is a slap in the face of our constitutional system.

This inauguration is a testimony that our constitutional system is alive and well. This is something that Americans take for granted. They do not realize how incredible it is to live in a country which has been quite stable under one constitutional system for more than 200 years.

I live in France and in the same 200 year period this country has gone through an emperor, several kings and is in its 5th republic. And a certain number of politicians over here are calling for a constitutional convention to establish a 6th republic.

While the United States, applying the ideas of the French philosopher Montesquieu on the separation of powers, established a very stable constitution that has withstood the test of time. The idea of disrupting a presidential inauguration shows a total lack of appreciation and respect for the system that guarantees their right to throw temper tantrums. It would be good for these people to spend a few months living in Turkey or Venezuela or Zimbabwe. They might then realize how fortunate they are to live in the United States.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. I am nervous, just as many of you are. I do not know what to expect from President Trump, just as many of you do not. But I refuse to give into fear and a mountain of ‘what-ifs.

From election night my attitude was, regardless of who won, “I am going to pray that this works out for the best.” Too many people have already passed judgement even though he will only take office today and he has not yet done anything. Of course, he has said and has tweeted things which got people worked up but there is often a big difference between what candidates, presidents-elect and presidents say and what they do.

And what I have come to feel in recent weeks about President Trump can be summed up by that great philosopher, Mick Jagger:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. Could it possibly be that he is what we need?

Our world is stuck in a system in which all our political leaders are playing the same game of being politically correct with each other. They seem to be part of the a ‘World Leaders Club’ which has a tacit agreement that no national leader will criticize what takes place in another country, even if it should be criticized.

What makes people nervous about Trump is that he is not polically correct. He says what he thinks and everyone is so used to the previous status quo that they are shocked.

Let me offer two examples of events since the election that illustrate this point.

The first was a few days after his election when he accepted a telephone call from the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. “How dare he go against the tacit agreement that no one in the ‘World Leaders Club’ communicates with Taiwan’s president!”

Why should China be able to dictate who other world leaders talk to? Why should China be able to act like a schoolyard bully in south-east Asia and no one dares speak about it? Why should the world accept in total silence China’s forced annexation of Tibet and their efforts to eradicate the native Tibetan culture? Why should China be able to dictate that no world leader can receive the Dalai Lama and why does everyone bend over backwards not to offend China on this point?

Maybe we need someone like President Trump who is going to be politically incorrect and who speaks about things that need to be addressed.

The second example was just a few days ago, when President-elect Trump was interviewed by two European journalists, British and German. Among the comments that shocked those who are used to the usual polite comments between friends, was the President-elect’s thoughts on Angela Merkel making a “catastrophic mistake” taking in so many Mideast refugees and calling NATO “obsolete.”

“How dare he criticize Merkel and NATO!” It does not matter that the entire world thinks she made a mistake by taking in so many refugees (and everyone seemed to ignore that before the ‘catastrophic mistake’ comment he expressed his respect for Mrs. Merkel). It is just something that those in the “World Leader Club” do not say! The same for the NATO comment. Some things are better left unsaid.

Today Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. And that might turn out to be a good thing for the United States and the world if he manages to shake up the status quo and the hypocritical, politically correct attitude of political leaders, journalists, et al.

As the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”