Reason to Believe

After the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, I was disappointed and disillusioned about the future. But I am an optimist and have a great deal of faith in the resiliency of the American people and our government.

I am also a firm believer in focusing on the things one can change, not living in a state of mind focusing on or lamenting the past. Trump was the President. At the time of his election, the Republicans held both the House and the Senate. There was the real possibility of multiple appointments to the Supreme Court.

This was the reality of the time.

I looked for a reason to believe Mr. Trump, as coarse as he is, would rise to the occasion and find inspiration to greatness once the politics of the election was over and he sat, for the first time, at the desk in the Oval Office.

I looked for a reason to believe the rhetoric of pitting us against the world would give way to tough but rational negotiation.

I looked for a reason to believe Mr. Trump’s patina of business success would lead him to follow sound economic policies designed to improve the lives of all Americans for the long term.

I looked for a reason to believe the jingoistic, rabid nationalism of many of his supporters would be wisely suppressed by Mr. Trump’s recognition of the changing nature of this world and the interconnectedness of a global community in which we are one among many nations.

But like the lines from the song Reason to Believe, disappointment followed the lies.

If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Songwriters: Tim Hardin Reason To Believe lyrics © Spirit Music Group

Now, some three years into the Presidency, profound disgust and despair have shattered my optimism and robbed me of a reason to believe something positive will come from this Presidency.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who openly and notoriously encourages the politics of hate.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who surrounds himself with sycophants blindly following the President’s policies, walking behind him sweeping up the fetid waste spewing from his tweets and pronouncements.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who, when he appoints a competent individual to a position of responsibility, soon castigates and isolates them, forcing those with a conscience to recuse themselves from dealing with an irrational President.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who openly encouraged a foreign government to interfere in the election process. All because it inured to his benefit and, I fear, he will do it again. Most people of character, the kind we usually have leading the nation, confronted with such foreign interference, would have put country before self and removed himself from consideration.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who attacks sitting members of Congress with unforgivable exhortations to “go back to where they came from.” That any American would applaud such remarks paints a dim view of our society.

Now I have reason to believe we have a President who would launch a personal attack against one of the most respected leaders of the civil rights movement, also a sitting Congressman, with vile and hateful language playing to the basest of the emotions of racial bias.

Yet the Trump Train continues down the track. The engineer has the throttle wide open, blasting through the country, immune to the carnage at the crossings.

The passengers laugh and smile with reckless abandon, drinking in the hyperbole and nonsense. Red-hatted spectators, drunk with the fermented vile of hate, oblivious to the destruction of this once great nation.

But the track, like all things, does not go one forever. Those aboard hold to the irrational belief the engineer knows what he’s doing and will bring the train safely to a stop.

Now I have reason to believe the President does not know where the brake is, doesn’t care to find out, nor does he have the will to use it. He believes this, no matter what happens, he will survive. What happens to the passengers and the train is not his concern.

It never was.