Talking about this feels a little like the old school assignment, “What did you do over summer break?”. If only we were talking about three months instead of four years.
I waited a week to see what President Trump might do to get his agenda started. I have to say one thing in his favor – he certainly wastes no time. I could rehash the laundry list of his executive orders and pronouncements but I’d rather talk about the man and how his vision impacts the American citizens and our place in the world.
Let’s start with his vision. I think the moniker “Make America Great Again” in reality is closer to, “Make America not quite the greatest, maybe 2nd or 5th…” because he has opened the door for other countries to shine. President Trump has articulated that America will lead by peace through strength but his executive orders from day one contradict that statement. China, for example. China has stepped up to be one of the leaders in green energy. As reported in The Guardian in January, 2017, the largest solar farm has been built in the Qinghai province, providing clean energy to a country often dubbed the “climate villain” as it works to uphold its commitment to the Paris Accords. China wasn’t necessarily prepared to take on the mantle of leader in clean energy but with grace and commitment, they have stepped up and if we continue down our current path, will be the leader in this effort. Thank you China. The United States on the other hand, signed a deal with Canada to continue building the Keystone Pipeline, to transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf States, continuing a committed dependency on oil as a non-green energy source.
The international gag order on providing foreign aid for any organization globally that seeks to provide reproductive care for women that might also include abortion was curtailed on the President’s first day. This happens often, but it demonstrated that the United States will not be a leader for the women in the United States or an advocate in the world. We will be less than what we were or could be.
We can spin a wheel and pick a topic on which the United States will be diminishing its positive impact on the world as a leader of peace and strength. Humanitarian aid, support of the United Nations; economic globalization; clean energy; healthcare options for our citizens; education (we were never a leader here); reduction of homelessness and poverty; respect for race/gender/sexuality. The list goes on.
Vision is most decidedly an extension of the leader. They possess compassion; command respect; share their humility; support innovation and creativity of others; are filled with integrity and honesty. A leader that does not possess these characteristics can never truly lead. Our President has shown a thin-skinned, ego-obsessed, narcissistic, vengeful, bullying personality. With the support of a conservative-led Congress and a potentially unbalanced Supreme Court, he wields his personality, not a vision, unchecked. The effects of his decisions will be felt globally, but quickly they will be manipulated if not dismissed as the rest of the world moves on to great things and we will be left with a red hat, asking ourselves “how will we make America great again?”