So tomorrow is Inauguration Day, and it appears at the moment that this weekend will feature by far the largest inauguration protest in American history. The current estimate of 350,000 protestors blows away the numbers seen at similar inauguration protests in our past. With the large number of Trump supporters that will be there (and the bikers that have sworn they will show up to create a “wall of meat” as added “security”), it could turn out to be a very explosive situation. (Perhaps the bad weather forecast will help squelch the volatility). Welcome to Trump’s America.
Did you hear Trump proclaim that his cabinet picks would be “by far” the most intelligent cabinet in history? Listen, we could compare the academic degrees or lack thereof of this group to others in the past, but can anyone that watched the confirmation hearings in all honesty say that this is a prepared group, much less a stunningly intelligent one? Besides Mattis (who could be the voice of reason we all pray has Trump’s ear during a crisis), the thing that has stood out about this collection of knuckleheads is how shockingly unqualified almost all of them are for the various posts, and how they have openly and provably lied (like their boss). But are they “by far” the smartest in our history? We can create a long list of more intelligent cabinets, but do we really have to go any further than the first one? I am putting the collective intellect of Hamilton, Knox, Adams, Randolph, and Jefferson WAY, WAY above any of these clods. More likely, Trump has put together (as this Washington Post op-ed nicely argues/demonstrates) by far the worst cabinet in history. Donald, your group isn’t fit to carry the first one’s jock straps.
Folks, I am afraid that keeping up with and commenting on the insane statements that this man makes which reveal his ignorance of history is going to become exhausting over the next 4 years. (Or until impeachment. “Follow the money!”).
By contrast, we are losing a president that is well-read in history, and often used it to make effective and appropriate points. As you know, I am prone to adhere to Obama’s interpretation of our “arc” of justice/history, and frequently during his presidency his speeches made me jealous of how he could craft a history lesson that was concise but powerful. I wish I could do in a semester worth of lectures what he often eloquently conveys in a single speech. That is why I found this article in the New York Times so interesting. In it, several historians weigh-in on Obama as an historian, focusing on his interpretation of our history, including that interpretation’s inclusiveness and shortcomings. Once he is a private citizen again and can speak freely without being uncouth, I will be anxious to hear how he interprets the election of Trump. Is it more than just a step backwards in our arc of justice?
In the meantime, I think I will once again post what I think was the greatest speech of his presidency (and one of the top presidential speeches of all time), and it is deeply rooted in history. Given that John Lewis has been attacked lately, it is perhaps another good reason for us all to watch this one again as Obama rides off into the sunset.