The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OnMilwaukee.com, its advertisers or editorial staff.
In this darkest moment in modern U.S. history, I’m looking for a silver lining.
This is the best I’ve got: The president is not a king.
While he can make some executive decisions that could be world-ending, like nuking Iran or Syria or anyone else who offends him on Twitter, the majority of a president’s powers are kept in check by Congress and the Supreme Court.
Donald Trump cannot tear up the Constitution and keep his job. This isn’t Putin’s Russia (yet).
The House of Representatives is the junior varsity team of Congress, and they've proved their incompetency and inexperience time and time again. However, the Senate retains at least a modicum of decorum.
While the Senate holds a 51-47 Republican advantage, it also contains moderate patriots like John McCain and Marco Rubio. There are plenty of senators who don't want to see their country go straight to hell.
The Supreme Court situation is a little more scary. Because the somewhat rational Senate was derelict in confirming a justice this year, the next one will be nominated by Trump and could be a wingnut. However, the only vacancy in the Supreme Court is left by the most conservative justice one can imagine, so nothing really changes there.
It’s concerning to prognosticate that 83-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg might not make it through Trump’s term, but that spitfire can still do one-armed pushups. We don’t know if or when the next opening will come up.
Don’t get me wrong. This could be bad. Trump's acerbic and reckless words can have a huge impact on stock markets and geopolitical events that will be felt around the world. He may open the door for unchecked aggression by Russia and genocidal tragedies in the Middle East. He may drive the world into another Great Depression, wiping out the savings of the very people who voted for him. Ironically, that could turn this country's wealth system upside down, which would lead to some very unintended consequences. It’s gonna be weird.
But look, America is moving in one direction, and it's not the direction Trump would have you believe. The slim majority of this country who voted against Trump are good and kind and don't want see people suffer. If anything, his message is a loud dog whistle to remind us that apathy is what got us here, and only social activism will get us out of it.
Maybe the planet can even survive four more years of abuse.
In the meantime, maybe some weird, wacky, embarrassing stuff will happen. It could even be interesting, albeit pathetic, to watch. However, a coalescence of the progressives and the moderate Republicans may finally reach across the aisles to get stuff done. Better late than never.
After all, it takes more than one short-fingered vulgarian to take down America. How we all respond to his administration is what will really define us for a generation to come. All hope is not lost.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.