Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States. Even though I favored him over Hillary Clinton, whom I viewed as a continuation of all of the policies I have hated since the 1980s, I did not think he would win. He was opposed by both the Democrats and the mainstream Republican party (or more accurately, the neoconservatives and their stooges). His support base, primarily rural poor, had been abused and beaten down for so long that I didn’t really expect them to act. Decades had been spent telling them that they were worthless. Their jobs, and thus their ability to provide for themselves and their families, had been eroded, either sent outside the country or underbid by foreign laborers. Their lives were shit, they were being shit on, and a distressing number had turned to drugs or suicide in order to cope with the pain.
Surprisingly, they broke free from their fetters. They were called names, but decades of name calling rendered these epithets meaningless. Further, the people calling them names were the people who had instituted the policies which had led to their misery or else their pampered pets. However, I do not wish to get into that. Several articles have addressed the phenomenon, ranging from the rational to the ridiculous. Instead, I would like to present what I hope a Trump presidency will accomplish. These are generally things that he advocated while campaigning. Things that differentiated him from Hillary Clinton and from the political class that has held power in the United States of America for far too long. There are three main areas I wish to cover: Foreign Policy, or ending Imperial America; Immigration; and a catch-all of other Societal factors.
First up are my hopes for his foreign policy. I hope that he de-escalates the situation with Russia. Fighting with another nuclear power for no immediate and clear benefit to the US is pure lunacy. Hillary and McCain’s calls to pressure Russia are suicidal. Russia has a clear motive for their involvement. Syria is close enough to them that a stable government is highly desirable. A sucking pit of instability such as we have created in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan would impact them greatly. To this end, it is my sincere desire that we work with Russia, abandon the idea of toppling Assad, and leave the final secular bastion in the Arab world alone. If we want to sell weapons to the “rebels” that is fine, so long as they are sold and not given. We could even sell them “at cost”, though I would prefer that we make a profit. Let the Islamists subsidize our military-industrial complex. We can use the profits to help pay for returning our military to full strength.
After working out a deal with Russia and Syria, I hope that we can ally together and bring enough force to bear to quickly and brutally end the Islamic State (Da’esh). This savage entity was brought into power by virtue of our lust for regime change, so I feel we bear some responsibility for eliminating it. Once decimated, we can let the remnants be mopped up by the locals, primarily Syria and Iraq. Then I want us to go home. Let the Middle East squabble amongst itself. Let them impose an authoritarian regime or a democratic republic. Let the people who live there decide what kind of government they want to live under. We don’t need their oil, but so long as they are willing to sell it to us, should we decide we need it, who cares about the rest. Let “Democracy” be spread by NGOs (and unsubsidized by the US).
Secondly, I would love for NATO to stop expanding. It doesn’t necessarily need to be abolished, but we should stop adding countries for the sake of assimilating more territory. The bigger it gets, the more our forces are spread out, the less likely we are to work out a consensus, and the more likely we are to force a confrontation. NATO was formed to fight the Soviet Union, an entity that no longer exists. With the assault on Serbia and the theft of the Serbian province of Kosovo, NATO found a new mission to justify its existence, mainly dominating the region. Once this purpose is understood, the actions NATO has taken with its expansion and military engagements begin to make sense. Already, our allies are working on upping their contributions due to Trump’s statements on the unequal distribution of costs and manpower. This inequality needs to stop. Our NATO allies are capable of defending themselves. Our share for defending their countries should not be greater than their share.
Third, we move to the Pacific. We have treaty obligations with both Japan and South Korea. To a lesser extent we also have obligations to Taiwan. In particular, Japan is understrength because of demands we imposed on them. I find the idea of reneging on our obligations once they become inconvenient wholly repugnant. Likewise, South Korea exists because of our actions. We used the South Korean government to stop the spread of Communism during the cold war, leaving a militant, totalitarian regime on their northern border. Again, it would be dishonorable for us to abandon them. The other key player in the region is China. China has been making territorial claims which could disrupt the balance of power in the region and endanger our shipping lanes. If their illegal actions are not stopped (and they have been declared illegal under international law), they will manage to retain a near monopoly on various precious metals and minerals that are integral to our technological society. The fact that Vietnam has turned to us to fight against China’s growing influence should be more than enough to convince anyone of the seriousness of the situation.
While few people think that perpetual war is good, immigration is more complicated. There are multiple factors involved and people get caught up in the particular when discussing the general. Now few would disagree that one’s behaviors, attitudes, and modes of interaction are based, at least in part, by cultural conditioning. Culturally inculcated mores are difficult to overcome since they provide the basis for things we know as “common sense”. It takes dedicated effort and an open mind to turn your back on what you have been taught as right even when exposed to contradictory facts. This touches on the concept of “culture war”. If you bring in people who do not share the same values, there will be discord. If the number is small, assimilation may occur, if not with the original immigrants, then their children or grandchildren. However, if the numbers are large, they can form a community that reinforces these contrary values. I have always found it strange that people who live in a “democratic” society and espouse equal rights for all races, sexualities, and genders should seek to bring in large numbers of people who do not share in those beliefs.
Further, any society will have a finite number of resources. This includes employment opportunities and benefits (both governmental and non-governmental). Americans have exploited immigrants as cheap labor for some time now. Open immigration is basically a way to ensure a permanent underclass to undermine organized labor. It is, in effect, a socially condoned form of enslavement. Further, it undermines wages by disenfranchising the American worker who is guaranteed a certain wage and certain benefits. This is the basis of most of the charges of racism regarding immigration. The new group, desperate to earn a living, accepts conditions that are unsuited to citizens, which means immigrants, effectively, take jobs from citizens. This causes resentment in the unemployed workers. It is nothing new and has occurred repeatedly throughout history. Today it is “the Mexicans”. Before that it was the Irish.
Moving to the specific issue of illegal immigrants, they are criminals. This is a fact. They circumvented the law in order to get here. To legalize them would be to justify breaking an existing law. It would also punish all of those who are law abiding, and thus more desirable. Add to this the fact that people who have already broken the law find it easier to break the law again. Also, since they are here illegally, they exist in the grey area and are more open to engaging in criminal activities. People need to eat, and if you don’t have proper documentation, finding anything other than day labor is difficult. Running a package for some cartel is an easy way to make a buck and feed oneself. There is also the case were such people are susceptible to blackmail.
Given these points, I hope for a moratorium on immigration. Once our citizens, and it is the duty of the government to see to the well-being of its citizens, are employed — or at least every effort has been made to fill a position with people who are citizens of the United States — then we can see about filling the job with foreigners. Immigration itself should employ standards similar to what other countries (e.g. Canada or New Zealand) have. I don’t mind a wall, though to me it is mostly symbolic. It will employ people. I do hope that we enforce the borders. Rather than rotating troops through foreign lands, we should rotate them through border guard duty. I don’t really expect that last point, though.
The status quo was very opposed to Trump. I hope this empowers a backlash against the status quo. I hope for the right of free speech to once again be respected. I hope for people to be responsible for their own actions and feelings. I hope for the right to disagree. Given Trump’s track record, there will be no secret police rounding up homosexuals, racial minorities, or even leftists.
I hope that the monolith that passes for news is broken and we once again have independent journalism. Sure, they will have a bias, or even an agenda (shout out to John Oliver), but if the monolith is cracked, there will be a plethora of viewpoints. I hope that we can get nuanced and thorough news reports from within our country rather than being forced to read foreign government sites and monitoring the news services directly.
I hope for a restoration of the Bill of Rights, though I am not overly hopeful on this actually occurring. The first amendment may become stronger, but is more likely to merely avoid being eroded further. I have high hopes for the second amendment. The erosions of the fourth may continue, even if Trump tries to restore it. Finally, I have high hopes for the ninth and tenth amendments, especially if we succeed in extricating ourselves from our foreign engagements.
I hope that with the restrictions on immigration and the destruction of free trade agreements, businesses will stop relocating outside of the US. This, in turn, should reduce unemployment, increase revenue to the common people, and secure, once again, a rising quality of life.
With the elimination of our imperialistic trends toward reshaping the world via military force, we will stop killing off the next generation and free up funds that can be used to pay off our national debt. This, in turn, will curtail inflation (since we won’t have to print money in order to cover our debts) and free up even more capital which can be used on programs to increase the quality of life of the ordinary citizen.
I will be the first to admit that my expectations of President Trump are modest. I should also admit that I have hated every president since Carter (though his post-presidential activities did earn my respect). I fully expect to hate the next President. It is a given that he will make choices and implement policy with which I will vociferously disagree. However, if he follows through on the promises I have listed above, he will be a better President than any since 1988, possibly 1976.
However, I suspect there will be some hedging. Israel’s enthusiastic support of Trump indicates that we might be involved in the Middle East for some time. Push back from multi-national corporations may gut serious attempts to reform our trade and tax laws. It may also impede any reformation of our immigration policies. The entrenched interests of our political elites may hinder implementation of any plans that are drawn up. It may even devolve into full-blown obstructionism. Further, well-meaning, but deluded, citizens may act to undermine any policies put into place (e.g. the well meaning people running underground railways to funnel in disadvantaged illegal aliens).
All in all, it is a crap shoot. Trump may be offered a sweet deal by the status quo and betray the people who elected him to office. We do not know how he will act or behave. Hillary had a long track record of abominable actions in the political arena. We do not have this luxury with Trump. We will just have to wait and see.