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One year after Trump’s election, America still sort of in one piece

By Mark Saal, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Nov 7, 2017

Somebody owes me ten bucks.

I know I bet at least one of you out there a ten-spot that America would still be America a year after Donald Trump's election. And while we can certainly argue whether or not it's the America we'd wanted or hoped to see, nevertheless we're still pretty much the same land of the free and home of the brave.

Deeply flawed, but still full of promise.

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I know this because the vast majority of lives in this country continue as they did before Nov. 8, 2016 -- forever to be known as The Day Presidential Decorum Died. We still go to work and come home at the end of each day. We hang out with our families, watch Netflix, do a little shopping, and even continue to vote in free and fair elections.

We still have electricity and water, police and fire, mail delivery and garbage pickup.

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But the primary reason I believe we're still the greatest nation on earth? We continue to complain. Loudly.

Taxes. Health care. Guns. Racial equality. Respect for the flag. Gay rights. Abortion. Law enforcement. Religious freedom. Just like back when Barack Obama was president, we can still carp bitterly about all of this stuff -- even criticizing the very people in power -- without fear of being arrested in the middle of the night.

It's now been a year since America elected the most unpresidential president imaginable. He's insecure and petty and vindictive. He seems to care more about things like the size of hands and inaugural crowds than leading the country. And he's as self-absorbed as anyone I've seen in politics, a narcissist's narcissist.

But he is, at the end of the day, our elected president. And I have just enough faith in our government's system of checks and balances to not be overly freaked out by our current commander-in-chief. Meaning, just as she was Obama-proof -- and Bush-proof, and Clinton-proof, and Bush-proof again, and so on -- the United States of America is also Trump-proof. Like a child-resistant safety cap on a bottle of red, white and blue prescription pills.

I find President Trump's continued sniping at his opponent from last year's election to be beneath the dignity of the office. On Nov. 3, five -- count 'em, FIVE -- of Trump's tweets made reference to "Crooked Hillary."

Imagine if Obama had continued, a year after each of his elections, to call his vanquished opponent "Dishonest John," or "Machiavellian Mitt." It would have been hard to take him seriously.

But here's the thing: Trump may want to "Lock her up" with every fiber of his gold-plated being, but he can't. Our system of government simply won't allow him to do whatever he wants. And that's why I can still close my eyes at night.

It's funny, because this is all eerily similar to the script we followed with our last president. There were plenty of Americans who believed Barack Hussein Obama II was a Muslim bent on declaring Sharia law in the United States, that he wasn't even an American citizen, that he wanted to convert the country to socialism, that he was going to take all of our guns, and that he hated law enforcement and intended to enslave white people.

And now that same kind of fear-mongering is coming from the Left. They're saying Trump is involved in a sinister plot with the Russians to destroy this country, that he's an overt racist, that he wants to destroy the planet, dismantle health care and give Big Business the keys to the kingdom.

I'm not telling people to stop complaining, or resisting, or whatever. That's an important part of the political process. I am saying that continuing to insist Trump is an evil racist bent on destroying America sounds every bit as silly as past years' claims that Obama was doing the same thing.

People, even politicians, are rarely as good -- or as bad -- as we imagine. And when our blind hatred demonizes them, even as they've demonized others, we lose some of the moral high ground. Hence the most recent "Koi-gate" scandal that makes CNN look even more biased than Fox News.

A little over two months from now we'll be either one-fourth or -- God forbid -- one-eighth of the way through Trump's presidency. So basically, we just have to endure three (or seven) more times what we just went through, and we'll be on to the next president we can accuse of trying to sabotage America.

Either way? I'll bet you another ten bucks we'll be having this same old argument in 2020, no matter who's elected.

I don't think Donald Trump is a very good president; I'm fairly certain he's not a good person. I disagree with almost everything he says, and most of what he's trying to do. But the fact is, this isn't our first Constitutional rodeo, people. We've survived 228 years of imperfect politicians in government, we can survive a few more.

The smart money's on We the People.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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