ELIZABETH, NJ - President Trump is symbolic of the 1840s and 1850s Know Nothing Party, which discriminated against Catholics and immigrants. Fearing competition and others, who did not share their beliefs, they discounted thoughts expressed by those, who disagreed and questioned.
Claiming to know nothing when asked about the composition and actions of their party, they surrounded themselves and believed only individuals, who mirrored their ideals.
When open discussions, counter arguments and viewing situations from both sides are not welcomed, it creates a narrow, limited and incomplete approach to governing. Although some may claim to, no one knows all things about everything -- it is why there are experts, authorities and advisers in their respective fields.
When faced with subjects unfamiliar, most will try to gather available information, talk to all sides and gain an understanding. However, the president appears to utilize alternative management methods when faced with requested responses or justifications for decisions and policies. Questions have been met with deflective mechanisms including criticism, blame and patting himself on the back. In a recent interview with Time magazine, he offered "...I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president and you're not..." The problem with that reasoning is, the ability to be elected is not a measurement of actual performance, it is an anticipation of what can be delivered; and so far, pre-presidential assurances are not translating into similar actions.
From the farmers in Iowa to the coal miners in West Virginia to the more than 1 million from New Jersey, individuals lent their voices and votes to elect Donald Trump. Their support was given based upon promises offered at the time; however now that the highest office in the land has been secured, expectations are now being met with disappointment and disregard.
In other words, someone only told you what you wanted to hear, in order to get what they wanted.
Conventional wisdom in fighting back is to let the results speak for themselves and begins with the federal budget. Cutting Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), FEMA, Meals on Wheels, Low Income Home Energy grants to name a few, will greatly and harmfully decrease access, jobs, opportunities and services for millions. The revised health care bill failed because it did not meet affordable, inclusive and comprehensive standards. Rising expenses, uncertainty of coverage, potential a la carte participation as well as the status of Medicaid, remain serious concerns. Paying substantially, but still underinsured and suffering, does not sound like the help people are seeking from their government.
When earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires, such as most recently in Ashland, Kansas, destroy properties, possessions and livelihoods, who should taxpayers turn to in lieu of the federal government? Add in the loss of agricultural subsidies that will negatively impact farmers as well as crop growth throughout our country and more dissatisfaction sets in. If that is not enough, what about significantly reducing funding for preparedness and response - devastating resource availability after natural disasters and life-threatening emergencies? Is this supposed to make America great again?
As this presidency continues to unfold, many Americans are questioning the choices they made in November. So where does that leave those, who did not choose this path, along with those, who did, but now regret it?
In an 1856 speech, President Abraham Lincoln said "our government rests on public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government...." Now, more than ever, Democrats must do the work that needs to be done and convince voters, especially in states like West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, that the country is moving in the wrong direction. Warning signs were always there, but now the stakes are at a new high and by the time the pain has trickled down, it will be too late.
It is no longer about what might happen, it is about what is happening. If opinions do not change and these programs cease to exist as we know them, the adverse effects that will occur will not be exclusive to recipients -- it will be a price felt by a nation.