Now that our 45th president has taken occupancy of the Oval Office, we can begin to experience our country’s progress as it develops in the Trump administration.
The political scrum that has played out up to now will be relegated to the “somewhat interesting” category but will soon lose its appeal as events unfold that shape our future.
Maybe 20 years or so from now, all this rancor will have been reduced to summary conclusions in printed accounts (I’m thinking of Wikipedia or whatever comes along in our sound-bite society of the future) that will read something like the following:
The 2016 election cycle began with an almost universal expectation that Hillary Clinton would become the nation’s first woman president.
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There was a long-held credo among Democrats that they owed her the nomination.
As a result, no one else need apply. One brave self-described socialist did appear during the primaries to challenge her, but the end of his candidacy came soon enough as he declared the system rigged against him.
Clinton was nominated amid much fanfare and celebration, all designed to be a preamble to the coronation event that lay just a few months ahead.
Meanwhile, the Republicans gave their party’s voters more choices than ever seen in modern times. A field of 17 candidates showed up for the contest, and among them was one not at all like the others.
When celebrity billionaire Donald Trump entered the race, almost no one took him very seriously.
“He’s toying with us, having some fun, and will soon conclude his escapade and return to reality television and building more buildings,” would be a typical comment.
Somehow, though, he started winning debates, occupied the center podium at them all and began, one by one, eliminating his challengers.
By the time the Republicans gathered in their party convention, he had secured the nomination.
All of that despite his unimaginable manner and unconventional style punctuated by offensive characterizations of the other contenders, anyone who criticized him and, most of all, the media.
Conventional wisdom held the audacity of trashing the news media would lead to certain and dramatic defeat. Many would say the national television and print outlets were already sponsoring Clinton’s certain victory.
All the polls confirmed she had everything under control.
The shock that unfolded on election night was magnitudes greater than anything anyone might have imagined.
It turned out that the Democrats had put forth a candidate who was unlikable, mired in a lifetime of corruption and frequently under investigation for violating laws, rules and practice and putting our nation’s security at risk.
Meanwhile the Republicans, with many of the traditionalists among them objecting, followed the will of their voters and gave them just what they wanted — the one not like the others.
He strategically spent time successfully campaigning in the states that would decide the outcome of the race and amassed a stunning victory.
Then came commotions from the losers. There were demands for hopeless recounts and efforts to turn the constitutional electors into traitors against their state’s voters.
Next were partisan declarations of Trump’s win being illegitimate, citing the irrelevancy of Clinton having more votes. They blamed the FBI, the Russians, Fox News and talk radio but not themselves.
Nonetheless, our Constitution was honored and the Trump era was launched.
What happens next will be the stuff of history. Not all this noise and nonsense that has finally run its course.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.