The changing of the guard is now complete, and America has entered an era of uncertainty with dark threats to our existing democratic institutions which were built by strong willed men and women over a period of almost three centuries.
A real testing of our moral courage is before us, and we the people will be challenged every single day like never before in our history. This new era of politics will go far beyond the spineless reflex of party loyalty. It will test the very core of our democracy and human decency.
Whether it's the unemployed welder who heard the siren's song of a reinvigorated manufacturing base or the debt burdened family that was promised relief, the multitude of promises that have been made will evaporate. Mr. Trump offered up the government and unions as the working man's enemies and it worked. With that fear came an even larger number of hateful comments which are now imbedded into our DNA. It could take generations to revert back to the gene structure of a free, respectful, and open society.
A campaign with false promises and unclear change for the working man will certainly be forgotten and in fact denied. Populist and isolationist rhetoric that invigorated a suffering middle America will once again be twisted to ultimately benefit an increasingly smaller elite.
An era of manipulated reality will be our new political framework - weaker and more vulnerable. Lies and fraud will be our new political reality unless we quickly pull the covers off the monster hiding underneath.
We Americans are a sentimental people, and we desperately want to believe our leaders and their promises. The aspirations we have for our children and the hope for a better future pervades our very psyche and is the core of our humanity.
We are also an optimistic and forgiving people. But if our continuous forgiveness is not met with redemption, and maybe even demonstrable humility, then we will never forgive. It is disturbing that though redemption is the essence of so many religious faiths, it is not even remotely part of our new president's psyche.
"Making America great again" meant there would be better jobs, better public schools, improved healthcare and more disposable income. It meant increased economic growth with lower taxes, less irrational regulation and significant fiscal spending on a crumbling infrastructure. The sign posts so far point in the opposite direction.
There's a quote from the movie The Usual Suspects: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." The greatest trick Donald Trump ever pulled was convincing blue collar and middle class voters he could create jobs. Sadly and just as illusionary was that the greatest trick the Democrats ever pulled on their core constituency was convincing them that Trump couldn't win. Magic acts to be sure.
These charades were played out in a chaotic circus tent known as our democratic process with the mainstream media an active yet feckless master of ceremonies. Never was there any real analysis about the need to reshape our economic models to serve workers, their communities and their children.
Trump was the better magician, and he managed to stay in the center ring. His well intentioned loyalists, wanting better lives, will no doubt now suffer even more as the tents are folded.
Regretfully, neither party had a real agenda for the working man or discussed the best way to actually serve and help the working family. But it was President Trump who created and nourished the narrative of fear.
Note: George Lucaci is First Vice Chair of the Summit Municipal Democratic Committee
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