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President-elect Trump and Republicans 

The hysteria on display by the left regarding Trump, their refusal to acknowledge that he was legitimately elected under our system of electing presidents, and their overt threats of violence to disrupt his inauguration on Friday does not bode well for America. Similar antics were on display at the Democrats’ 1968 convention in Chicago and resulted in a major backlash against them by the American people. Trump did not win the popular vote, but he isn’t the first president to be elected via the Electoral College. He did win more counties and more states than Clinton, overwhelmingly so across the land. Regardless of how he was elected, even President Barack Obama has called for the left to cease its tantrum stating that Trump, like it or not, was legitimately elected, and so on Friday, he will be the legitimate 45th president of the United States.

In the military, I had more than one commander I intensely disliked but never failed to provide the respect due his office and rank; you respect the rank and the office even if you don’t like the man (or woman). As a result of this code of honor, mutiny, coups, and significant failures of discipline are virtually unknown in the American armed forces, unlike the militaries of many third world countries. So too has it been the tradition in America to unite after the election and support the constitutional process that has led to a peaceful transition of power for more than 150 years. Not since the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 have we had a violent rejection of a duly elected president: That episode cost the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and left the nation further divided for another 100-plus years. Most of us thought we had recovered from those wounds, but now I believe that we are, regrettably, more divided than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Somehow, I thought those issues were resolved and wounds healed, but the last eight years of the Obama presidency seems to have deliberately ripped them asunder.

Let me respond to some of the assertions of Kathy Riedemann, who wrote “Trump and the new Republican Party” (Jan. 12) as a commentary responding to my opinion piece “Trump and the Progressive Defeat,” (Dec. 22, 2016). First, let me say I hold no animosity toward her or anyone of the left who disagrees with me; it’s your right to disagree, vehemently so if you choose, and I respect that.

President-elect Trump comes from a background of a lifetime of association with working men and women, especially those found in the trades and New York City streets. He related to them, worked beside them, talks like them, and understands them. It’s an “in your face,” no cushioning of language or the impact of words. If you haven’t been around it you will likely be offended but most of the time, it isn’t as much personal as a habit. In national politics where candidates are accustomed to parsing every word, such language and conduct can be shocking to the uninitiated as was the national press corps. In private, it’s another matter as those who’ve met Trump usually attest.

Riedemann objects to Mr. Trump’s lack of government experience. I would reply we’ve had a generation of government experience and the same recycled solutions with little improvement in the lives of most Americans. America voted for change, not more of the same.

Riedemann said he lied 20 to 37 times a day according to a “non-partisan fact checker.” I don’t think such a person or institution exists. I will concede Trump was often wrong but not that he deliberately lied. He also modified his statements when proven he was incorrect. As for his cabinet, who cares what race they are; isn’t hiring people based upon their race the definition of racism? I care about their competence and proven ability in their chosen fields of endeavor. If all of his cabinet picks were women, or all African-American I wouldn’t care as long as they had a strong track record as does virtually every prospective Trump cabinet pick.

I think it’s interesting that the cumulative private-sector experience of President Obama’s cabinet comprised a total of eight years for both terms of office. Perhaps that’s why there are more than 90 million Americans still not participating in the labor force or that college graduates have few post-education opportunities outside of Starbucks. President-elect Trump was elected to change that; if he doesn’t, he will be a one-term president.

As for regulations, the argument of Republicans is that President Obama abused his executive authority along with a runaway EPA. Trump has promised to curb EPA excesses and re-establish respect for congressional intent, your representatives in Congress. We don’t have a king, and the EPA isn’t unaccountable with absolute authority, at least not yet.

On social issues, the president-elect has been historically fairly liberal, not to my personal liking but I accept it. He stated the issue of gay marriage is settled law, and his commitment to other conservative issues remains to be seen. I expect very little change regarding social issues other than supporting protection for religious liberty, an issue for which the African-American community was particularly concerned about Clinton.

Finally, if you want to know more about Republicans, their philosophy and reasonableness, talk to one sometime. You might be surprised. 

Al Fonzi is an army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

-- Al Fonzi - Atascadero

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