My 57th year starts concurrently with the term of President Trump? Should I be worried? Here is some news chum related to the subject:
- The Power of the President. There are some out there worried that Trump may attempt to abuse his power. But what power does the President have, in reality. Just ask President Obama. A Vox article reports that he didn’t realize how limited the Presidency was until he became President. The article notes that, on a great many issues, the president isn’t the policy-wonk-in-chief, he’s the coalition-builder-in-chief. And without a strong enough coalition, he can’t get his way. This is true on issue after issue — from gun control to the cap-and-trade bill to immigration reform. In terms of actually getting things done — and especially in terms of creating large shifts in policy — the path will be slow. Of course, there’s always Twitter, where Trump is a master of creating problems. Just ask Lockheed Martin.
- The Power of the Courts. There’s another roadblock in the way of Trump’s excesses: The court system. The LA Times has an interesting article on how the court system will serve to restrain Trump. Georgetown law professor David Cole, who in January will become the ACLU’s national legal director, said he is “optimistic the courts will stand up against abuses of power” in the Trump era, citing the courts’ moderating impact on “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks. For many executive orders, the courts have limited their application or applicability (even under Obama). Further, the courts tend to preserve constitutional rights once granted, and tend to hold with precedence.
- The Power of the Shul. One thing many people didn’t realize was that no matter who won the election, Clinton or Trump, there would be a Jewish In-Law in the White House. In this case, it is Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump — and the two of them are shul shopping. Once we get past the point that, no, this isn’t shoe shopping :-), there is a serious question. Many Jews supported Clinton; more overall than Trump. Can politics be left at the shul door? This is something I often face — we have many Trump conservatives in our Synagogue’s Men’s Club (in fact, we’ve had a similar political chain: I (a Clinton/Obama Liberal) termed out as MoTAS President, and my replacement is a strongly Conservative (who I think supports Trump). Yet we’re able to set aside politics and be friends. Will this be possible for Jared and Ivanka, and will their new spiritual leader be able to provide any influence to the new administration.
- The Power of 4Chan. On the other side of the potential limiting factors of the above is the rise of “4 Chan Politics”. 4Chan politics, according to TechCrunch, is the rise of the people “emboldened by the seeming anonymity of the Internet and the ability for things that happen there to have real-world consequences – that have hijacked national discourse. They are the hackers who sway elections, who break civil contracts, who leak pictures of us naked. They are the eggs and Tumblr-posters who call each other – and others – the worst of slurs. They are the ones who sit behind their keyboards and rail at the world or, worse, pull the strings to which they have access from their secret places. […] They are people who have been given a megaphone and prefer to burp and curse and shout into it rather than help. They are the ones who yell “Jump” to the man on the bridge because of his implied weakness.” Donald Trump is clearly a 4Chan politician, given his use of Twitter. The article is a really interesting read. It talks about how these folks threaten free speech — for when they are called on their idiocy, they tend to attack the “free speech warriors” with DDOS attacks and such.
Of course, one can ignore it all, stick one’s head in the sand, and wonder all day instead what your testicles do when you are just sitting there. You know you wanted to know.