Obama/Trump vs Carter/Reagan

The time has come for change. Change is wonderful, change is horrible. This statement was exemplified recently by people cheering the election of President Elect Trump, and people protesting the same event. Such is the reality of a representative democracy, and that, my friend, is a wonderful thing. One loses, one wins, more often than not, hopefully, we get it right. Obama, soon, shall be a part of our history, and President Elect Trump will mount the stage as the leader of the free world.

Politics is no place for the timid, nor the thin-skinned. The greatest men will be hurt and the least of men will succeed, all in a turmoil of inequity and disarray. In the fray of these battles, truth is subordinated to the sound bite, logic to polls. We lose our objectivity in our emotion, and the greatest of us, become impaired by our desire for a win.

Trump is a man who takes a direct path. I happen to admire that. He fights a brutal battle, but he mends bridges when the battle is won. We all can learn from that. The man who is strong enough in his self-worth to allow Ted Cruz to speak at the convention, meet with Mitt Romney or Megan Kelley, that is a man who is unafraid of conflict. That is a man who can face those who disagree. Diplomacy on the current world stage cries out for such a man.

He is a very different man than President Obama. Reagan was a similar President Elect. He was strongly questioned early in his administration, becoming a popular and successful president (first full two term president since Dwight D. Eisenhower) He succeeded President Jimmy Carter, who, like Pres. Obama, believed in talking softly and carrying almost no stick at all. Carter and Obama are similar in many ways, and their successors are similar, too.

Carter and Obama allowed the international perception of the United States to falter. Other nations, who more universally respect power (exp. Russia, China, N. Korea) began, under both predecessor’s administrations, to flex diplomatic muscle. Reagan and, now Trump, reconstituted (or shall) military muscle and preferred to stand in a position of power to dictate diplomatic solutions. Carter, and, to a lesser extent, Obama chose to meet on equal ground, occasionally, even as the subordinate.

While this plays well in our constitutional republic, it is a frightening position to assume on the world stage where sharks circle, and a single drop of blood can cause a frenzy.

We stand at a crossroad today and our actions will write the blueprint for tomorrow. Reforms must be instituted, and oligarchy must be averted. Truly mankind, itself, must grow to find a commonality of purpose beyond conflict. They are trying times, but, vigilance is the cost of democracy.

Diplomacy, in the coming months, must rebalance the failures of our past. We must stand at a position of strength and we must have open, candid, sometimes difficult discussions with friends and enemies.

I hope that President Trump can renew our international respect, the respect for the office of President, and the United States military, as President Reagan did.

Scott Cahill