Brennan: Trump’s lesson from Dickens
By Tom Brennan |
It was the best of times and the worst of times. That’s what Charles Dickens said about life in London and Paris in his book Tale of Two Cities.
The same could be said of life in the United States during the reign of President Donald Trump. There are obvious differences, of course, but Trump’s unusual presidency has brought good news and bad news, both in the extreme, to America.
Dickens was talking about the conditions that prevailed in London and Paris at the time of the French Revolution, which took place around the time of the American Revolution in what became the United States of America.
Donald Trump has certainly been an unusual president and the impact of his ascent to the White House has been extreme — in both directions. As a whole, the economy of the nation is very strong, a remarkable recovery from a difficult recession. Economic growth is encouraging, job growth has been vigorous and unemployment is low. The average person is doing well, not just the wealthy.
At the same time our president’s behavior has won him Democratic opposition so strong that the party’s majority in the U.S. House was able to win an impeachment vote last month. The problem for the Democrats is that the decision on whether Trump ultimately gets booted from the Oval Office will be made by the Senate where the Republicans have the majority.
And to make it even more precarious for the Democrats’ maneuvering is that the public by and large sees President Trump’s deal with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as just a little sleazy politics, nothing that unusual for high-level politics in the United States. Trump tried to embarrass his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, who served as vice president during the term of President Barack Obama, by asking Zelensky to investigate how Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, wound up with a high-paying job at a Ukrainian gas company. Trump threatened to withhold aid money from Ukraine, making his request even sleazier but hardly the kind of felonious behavior that justifies removal from office.
Much displeasure with Trump is the public’s reaction to his incessant negative and often-rude tweeting about every matter that comes to his attention. His tweets are an unending source of negative commentary and misinformation, claims that are easily and frequently refuted by the national media. But as the saying goes, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. (That saying is often credited to Winston Churchill, but it actually started long before Churchill became prime minister of the United Kingdom in 1940.)
My own adventures with the Twitter system may have colored my attitude toward President Trump’s intrusive and unending tweets, the brief online messages left by Twitter users. I tried to sign up for a Twitter account one time but my submissions kept getting tangled up with similar attempts by another writer named Tom Brennan who apparently lives in the South. There don’t appear to be any humans involved with the Twitter system, none that can be appealed to for assistance, so I finally threw in the towel and gave up any hope of tweeting.
If the same thing had happened to our president, he would most likely be viewed more in the context of his many accomplishments as president. Some may argue that the improvements in the economy and the employment picture are not direct results of anything he has done.
I’m not at all sure that is the case, but if President Trump had done nothing more than stay out of the way, which could have been the result of his preoccupation with distractions in the news, we could judge him on those results, and he would look very good.
The shape of the economy and the financial situation of millions of working-class Americans is so strong that Donald Trump is to be commended for whatever he did or didn’t do in that arena.
Let’s hope he keeps it up.