This morning I awoke all full of vim and vigor; ready to tackle the day. As is my usual routine, I grabbed a hot cup of steaming java and logged into Facebook to see what’s been going on. One of the first things I saw was a graphic of Donald Trump shaking President Ronald Reagan’s hand, with the caption underneath: The Two Greatest Presidents America Has Ever Produced.
I was so disgusted I left my coffee sitting there and crawled back into bed for another two hours.
Really, TRUMP…REAGAN…the two greatest presidents we’ve had? If people actually believe that nonsense, I wonder what they think good government is. Did they think that with Reagan at the helm we had good government? Do they think that we have good government now that Trump sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? I honestly would love to hear all these Trump…and Reagan supporters lay out their ideas as to what good government means to them.
I think there is a pretty large percentage of the people who actually believe that government is good by monitoring job creation and the closing day numbers from Wall Street. I think some people think that the more take home pay, (meaning the lower their taxes are), government is doing a ‘good’ job.
Reagan is loved by conservatives because of his trickle-down economics, his efforts to end the Cold War, and his wit and humor; he made people feel good about their country again. But is that surprising? After all, he was an actor for crying out loud; he knew how to play to an audience.
When Reagan became President he promised Americans a tax cut, and delivered on his promise…only to turn around and introduce the largest peace time tax increase in our history in 1982; and then he raised them again in 83 and 84. Reagan also promised to reduce government spending; which he did for domestic programs, but increased defense spending; thereby tripling the national debt from $997 billion in 1981 to $2.857 trillion in 1989. Not to mention the whole Iran/Contra Affair.
What about Trump; he promised a tax cut for Americans. Well if this year’s tax returns are any indication of a ‘tax cut’ I’d sure hate to see how much I would have owed had he NOT cut taxes. He also promised to build his wall; which I find ironic due to the fact that Reagan is remembered for telling Gorbachev to “Tear down the wall!”
Trump has also promised to bring an end to the Deep State. Well I’ve yet to see a single indictment come against anyone who is a part of this Deep State. Doesn’t the Justice Department work for Trump; yet it seems they are too busy investigating the manufactured Russian collusion fraud than they are the Deep State.
I may be a bit harsh on Trump; after all he is still in office and might still get another 4 years if he is re-elected in 2020; but still, I don’t see any of the liberty restricting laws or agencies being torn down, and any of my rights being restored; and after all, isn’t that one of the primary reasons our government exists, to preserve and secure our liberty?
Trump has said that he supports arming teachers in schools to lessen the risk of school shootings, (an idea I agree with), but he has also shown his support for Red Flag Laws that would disarm those who might become a threat due to things they have said or beliefs they hold. So does that mean that all militia groups are to be disarmed because they MIGHT pose a threat to government? Am I to be disarmed because I write these commentaries which are critical of our government? Who is to make that final decision to send an armed SWAT team to my house; kick down my door; and confiscate all my guns when all I have done is expressed my opinion? Hmm, is it some judge, some cop, some bureaucrat sitting in some office in Sacramento or Washington D.C.?
These Red Flag Laws are absolutely Orwellian in their nature; the entire premise behind the film The Minority Report; preventing crime before it happens by criminalizing thought. As I said in a recent column that should scare the hell out of you, but apparently it doesn’t, as you’re up for any law that helps to keep you safe – even if it comes with the loss of a fundamental right. You could very well say, on that issue alone, I preclude Trump from being included amongst our ‘best’ presidents.
I understand that presidents are only human, that they have the same weaknesses and flaws that we do. But we should hold them to a higher standard if we are going to place that much power into their hands; and therefore they should be both respected, and chastised according to how well they support and defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights, not further the agendas of their respective political parties; or the fickle wishes of society in general.
For instance, I’m not a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt, he did things which I feel are blatantly unconstitutional, yet he did say this, “The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.”
To stand behind a president just because he was the one you chose, regardless of whether or not that president supports and defends the Constitution, or protects your rights, is a mark of your character and integrity. But it only shows that party over principle prevails 9 times out of 10.
I was born in 1958 and Dwight D. Eisenhower was President at that time. Since then 11 others have held the office of President; and the only one I thought tried to do a good job was Kennedy…and they killed him for it.
It’s interesting that one of the Presidents I admire was one who preceded the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; Andrew Johnson. Although I despise Lincoln, I do think he was trying to bring America back to business as usual as quickly as possible by vetoing a Congressional Reconstruction Bill that sought to punish the South for leaving the Union. It’s ironic that he was killed shortly thereafter; just as Kennedy was killed when he sought to end secret societies, put us on a sound economic policy, and possibly even dismantle the CIA. So in a way, Kennedy was fighting the Deep State, and was killed for it.
Getting back to Johnson, after Lincoln was felled by an assassin’s bullet, Johnson ascended to the Presidency and found himself stuck in a quagmire in which the Radical Republicans wanted to punish the South and force their version of Reconstruction upon them. Johnson vetoed their bill but was overridden by Congress. Twenty nine times Andrew Johnson vetoed bills sent to him by Congress regarding Southern Reconstruction, with 15 of his vetoes being overridden. Johnson fought long and hard for a peaceful re-entry of the South into the Union, and was fought every step of the way by a Congress that wanted to punish and humiliate the South. For that, he has my deepest respect.
But since the graphic that got this whole thing started was about the BEST president our country has produced, I may as well tell you who I think was our country’s best president – Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson did his best to thwart, or at least slow down, the effects of the Hamiltonian policies implemented under President George Washington; and continued under President John Adams. Had more Americans adhered to the Jeffersonian way of thinking there is a good chance we may have never had a Civil War, and we certainly wouldn’t have the government we do today.
Jefferson’s thoughts on what good government is are summed up by something he said in his first Inaugural Address, “…a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”
I don’t see that going over to well today; especially from Democrats. I find that somewhat ironic, because Jefferson’s ideology was the foundation upon which the Democratic Party arose. I guess the Democrats don’t care that much about the history of their own party, do they? But I’m not cutting the Republicans any slack either, for they damn sure haven’t adhered to that policy either.
Jefferson sought to cut taxes and reduce the national debt by eliminating positions he felt were either unconstitutional or unnecessary. By his second term Jefferson was proud to say, ” At home, fellow-citizens, you best know whether we have done well or ill. The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our internal taxes. … The remaining revenue on the consumption of foreign articles is paid chiefly by those who can afford to add foreign luxuries to domestic comforts, being collected on our seaboard and frontiers only, and incorporated with the transactions of our mercantile citizens, it may be the pleasure and the pride of an American to ask, What farmer, what mechanic, what laborer ever sees a taxgatherer of the United States? ”
Imagine that, no unnecessary government offices and no taxes. I’d love to see Trump top that claim. Trump and Reagan the greatest presidents our country has ever produced? What science fiction novel are people reading from?