The first US President I can remember was the 35th, JFK and Jaqueline, the Camelot Years, what a wonderful time that was. I remember that then the whole question of him being Catholic was very important to voters. The USA was in 1961 a White Protestant country, allowing a Catholic was tantamount to allowing Pope John XXIII in Rome to become President.
There have been many great US President, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, JFK, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama to name a few. Men who assumed the Office with dignity and are well remembered. They lived in periods of history that were not without there own difficult and painful moments, Lincoln saw the Civil War, FDR the depression and the Second World War. They were men of substance and the campaign were partisan but conducted with civility.
But since 1993 it seems that gradually things changed, the public forum out there is no longer about America and what is good for the whole country moving forward, it is more about imposing a new view, call it social engineering, where attitudes can be changed by legislation or special programs. Many issues have also deeply divided the USA, poverty, homelessness, education, jobs, health care, immigration from non-white or traditional European countries, the rise of various ethnic and racial groups changing the old make up of the USA, no longer only white or protestant. None of this was acceptable to a society dominated by consumerism and the false notion that every individual is exceptional. The various financial crisis and other worries, like security have given the impression to far too many people that something terribly wrong is happening. Politicians have given the clear impression that they are not listening to Americans in general and only want power and more of it.
What is also terrible is the lack of Civic knowledge in all layers of society, no one seems to remember anything about the Constitution or how government works and how the economy functions in a world of large corporations. It does not help when legislators in Congress and the Senate are multi-millionaires removed from the reality of everyday people. Faith and Government have nothing to do with each other, unless you wish to live in a world dominated by the Inquisition and religious fanatics. However Faith and religion is very present in the public discourse.
That the Republicans after 8 years of refusing to make Congress or the Senate work have been rewarded is astounding. That Trump did as well as he did after such a horrible campaign watched by the world is also beyond belief. As all reason left the average voter? I can understand that you do not like a candidate but then you need to balance pros and cons. Is no one worried about the resurgence of the KKK, they held parades this week in the USA, or the rolling back of civil rights for some American citizens, taking away health coverage for 20 million Americans who now have it. The consequence for society at large are dire.
No one finds strange that Trump is the darling of Russia, China and North Korea. Germany, France and a host of other leaders were cautious in their welcome of the new President Elect. In Canada, our Government is nervous, Trump could be very nasty and easily destroy our economy to score points at home. He cannot take on China, they are too powerful and produce too many goods for Walmart. They also hold the external debt of the USA, if they called it in, which they could, it would be a death blow to the USA.
Canada is the no.1 economic partner of the USA, the problem is that we are very susceptible to catching a cold if America sneezes. Our Prime Minister was a great friend of Obama, what now? Justin has nothing in common with Trump and the age and cultural divide may be too great to breach.
All this to say is that we live in very interesting times, a curse really. What I see happening now is a growing influence world wide of China in the Pacific and elsewhere. Russia and Iran becoming more dominant as USA withdraws from the Middle-East and Syrian crisis. Sunset for Saudi Arabia with all the consequences that implies for the region. No the USA now is not on the path of greatness, I would venture to say on the path of a very uncertain tomorrow.
To all our friends and Family in the USA, please know that we think of you.