Gratitude for 2016

Though it is quite common to view 2016 as a particularly bad year, I found that it contained a number of very high moments. Of course, my list of what was good about it matches other people's list of what was bad about it in part. Still, overall there are some things about the year that were unexpected and good.

I'll list them in chronological order, where the chronology is 'as I remember it' rather than me looking it up to confirm I have the dates right.

1) The end of the Bush family dynasty in Republican politics: nothing against the Bush family, but everything against family dynasties in our Republic.

2) Brexit, which offers many reasons for hope.

3) The discovery that the Republican party was not really controlled by the elite that tried to run it, but that it was a genuinely small-d democratic party that would live with the will of its voters. That was quite surprising and unexpected.

4) The absence of violence at the RNC in spite of predictions.

5) The revelation of the corruption of the DNC, not because it was good that it was corrupt, but in the hope that it might be a corrective in the future. There is a minority element of the party, centered around Bernie Sanders' supporters, that is committed to such reforms because they are still young enough to genuinely believe in democracy. Maybe they'll win. Even if they don't, maybe they'll break some of their chains. Their naivety may finally fail, and their starry-eyed leaders become corrupted by power -- but on the other hand there's little power left, outside California, so there's a chance that their idealism may succeed. Who would want to corrupt them, outside California, where they have nothing to offer in return?

6) The end of the Clinton family dynasty, which is an unalloyed good for America.

7) The survival of the United States Constitution as a document that might possibly limit government powers, rather than as a document that licenses the government 'to do good things.' The conservative view of the Constitution would have passed away forever with a 5th progressive vote on the Supreme Court.

8) Suddenly it became important to be concerned about the health of our democratic forms, and limits on executive power, and other things that some of us have been talking about this whole time.

9) A revival of interest in Federalism, although nascent, as a means of controlling a Federal power that is suddenly frightening to the American left.

10) Some of these potential cabinet appointments look good -- especially Mattis, but not only Mattis.

11) A chance to revisit and reform numerous Federal policies and agencies. So far it's just a chance, and it may be squandered or it may fail in spite of diligent effort. Nevertheless, there would have been no chance at all otherwise.

There's a lot to do now, but these things were good things from my perspective.


Anonymous said...

I heartily agree with points 1 and 6. There is some silly talk about a Trump dynasty at the fever swamp known as The_Donald at Reddit, but I am ignoring it, for now. When the time comes, Ivanka would be a non-starter for me, for the same reasons.

There is a very ugly movement within the EU to cause chaos and then establish an EU army. This is a serious error. In my opinion, Brexit or something like it is was probably a necessary next step in molding the EU into something useful. Low trade barriers across the EP makes sense, but the current trend is bureaucratic overreaching. That said, it took us a very long time to get a Union that recognized all of our citizens, and we are now in the process of re-balancing, so I expect the process for the EU to take at least as long.

Yeah, the openminedness of the Republican party was a cool surprise. So was their choice of candidate. They ran a person with a long history of being a small-d democratic voter against an establishment Democrat, and won. More surprising to me is the howling from the Democrats. One would have thought voters who were nominal Democrats would have been pleased. Perhaps they were.

DJT made huge inroads in the negative impression I had of him, by his skilled handling of hecklers and his well-placed determination to quell any potential for violence from his supporters. Other Repubs did not do it, but their supporters were well-behaved, too.

The corruption of the DNC was a shock, and my primary reason for voting against Hillary Clinton. Although I found no basis to include she was necessarily involved in the crimes, this happened on her watch, and for whatever reason, she did not put a stop to it. My hope for the Democratic Party is that it will clean house promptly. If not, they will stay out of power for an extended period of time, or be replaced by another party. I no longer care, one way or the other. If the Republican Party can see its way clear to back off of some of its social issues, I do not need the Democrats. The Libertarians will do just fine.

I would really like to see the 10th Amendment get a little bit of love from a reconfigured Supreme Court and some able theoreticians. The time seems ripe for this.

I have been amused by the yowling from certain quarters about the potential appointments. It sounds so thin and weak.

Many of our Federal agencies have been ignored, and started to take on a life of their own. This is a hazard of a big government of any sort, and fortunately, we have a new regime to give them the guidance that has been missing for so long.

I would like to see the EPA directed to its core mission, which is keeping known pollutants from harming our citizens. I would like to see NASA directed back to the study of aeronautics and aerospace research. I don't mind using satellites to gather temperature information, but that bit about Muslim outreach has no place. The IRS needs to have all of its political appointees removed. Then, the remainder needs clear instruction about application of the principles of equal rights under our laws. The VA needs a similar house-cleaning, followed by an audit. State needs an audit, and the results need to be published. Justice needs house cleaning, and re-instruction about due process, equal treatment under the laws, and procedural due process.

All of this can happen. Much of this is the natural outgrowth of a simple change in administration, and some of it is based on the goals of the President elect.


Joel Leggett said...

I concur with all of your points, especially 1, 6, 7, 9, and 11. Well said!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I usually agree with you at an 80% level. This one went to 100.

Of course, the medieval rabbis considered unanimity a bad sign.

Grim said...

I usually agree with you at an 80% level.

That's OK. I don't ask anyone to agree with me. I'm just telling you what I think, not what's True and Right. :)

Eric Blair said...

Could have fooled me. But this is a good list, and I heartily endorse it. (Not that anyone should care).

Grim said...

Could have fooled me.

Well, I tell you what I think about the True, the Right, and the Beautiful. But that doesn't mean I expect you to agree with me. I'm just reporting how it looks from my station. I welcome other reports, from others who are seriously interested in the questions.