Op-Ed: Health Care or Health Scare from Congress By Fletcher Hall

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The House of Representatives has narrowly passed the American Health Care Act, an initiative to replace Obamacare. Next stop…the United States Senate.

The Trump administration and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are taking much glee and credit for this legislative victory.

However, there are many unanswered questions left in the health care debate. There is the fundamental question to determine if health care is a right. Health care is a service needed by the vast majority of United States citizens, but nowhere in the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, is a right to health care mentioned.

Since the founding of the nation, health care has been provided by physicians, institutions, and facilities dedicated and designed to care for the sick and injured. These facilities generally are eleemosynary or community organized and governed. Only recently have privately owned or large medical institutions become a part of the American health care system. Johns Hopkins is a prime example of growth and expansion while maintaining superior standards. Yet, even this renowned institution struggles under the yoke of the federal government’s rules, regulations, and legislation.

Governments should not be involved in the provision of medical care and services in the United States. Both federal and state governments became significantly involved in the delivery of health care with the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid legislation with the Social Security Amendments of 1965. That is when the slippery slope of government intervention in the provision of health services really began implementing onerous controls. Over some 40 years, the government’s involvement has created a monstrous, medical behemoth that Congress can neither conquer nor improve.

Having watched a large portion of the hearings and debates in Washington on repealing and replacing Obamacare, it became very obvious that the American people should not want Washington politicians dictating their health care options. This can also be said of state governments. A quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson says, “That government is best which governs least.” It is now evident that the marketplace may well be where the health care system can function, with reasonable government oversight. There can never be financial solvency and efficient quality service in most of the American health care system as long as government is involved. This fact has been borne out since 1965. Universal health care is not the answer. What can work is the free market system functioning effectively with competition allowed to work. Resisting government intrusion and regulation needs to be imbedded in any further attempts at “health care reform.”

One of the paramount issues involved with health care is the expense of medications and the control of the pharmaceutical industry in determining prices, and the amount pharmacies can charge for the array of prescription-based drugs on the market. It may be necessary to enact separate legislation to get the costs of drugs reduced and the monopoly of the large drug companies under control. Where is Theodore Roosevelt when we need him? With the total domination of Washington by the Republicans, it seems only logical that they make efforts to control the excesses of the drug manufactures. To the members of Congress, I would say: Do something for all Americans. Exercise oversight and place necessary restrictions on the costs of drugs.

Health care in this country must be fixed. In spite of having the top medical institutions in the world such as Johns Hopkins, brilliant physicians, and extraordinary medical researchers, the intrusion, and involvement of the government has crippled our once great health care system.

With the legislative action and debate currently going on in Washington, Congress has the opportunity to reduce the influence of government in medicine. Millions of Americans are looking for health care that provides adequate services at affordable prices with less red tape.

 

Op-Ed: Bye, Bye, Bill By Fletcher Hall

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Bill O’Reilly is out of the building, So is Roger Ailes and Bill Shine. All Fox News’ executives. The primary reasons given for the exits are sexual harassment scandals; however, the reasons are more complex.
In addition to large settlement payments and buyouts of contracts, there are other reasons the network and their owner, 21st Century Fox, were forced to make these decisions. Primarily, it was just business.

The Fox Network simply could not afford the cash drain and potential loss of advertising revenue they are facing. In the 24-hour-news cycle, it is vital to secure and retain adequate income streams to cover costs and guarantee profits. Fox has long been profitable and maintained very favorable ratings among the various cable news channels.

The Fox News prime time offerings had a rather long run while continuing to yield high ratings. The new prime time lineup will have to prove that wise business decisions have been made in the corporate offices of Fox News.

Conservative leanings have been the forte of Fox. It is ironic that their preferred presidential candidate and their preferred congressional candidates (the Republican Party) control the executive and legislative offices of the national government. Should the ratings for Fox fall, will the President and congressional leaders be as inclined to grant exclusive interviews and use the bully pulpit for their views and philosophy?

This new reality now faces the Fox News Network and may have implications for advertising revenue and ratings. Both of these issues are corporate business decisions which will determine the future of the network.

It was difficult to determine if O’Reilly was a news broadcaster or a television showman. I suspect he was more of the latter, which was reflected by the high ratings of “The O’Reilly Factor” show. “The Sean Hannity Show” may well be in the same category. Regardless of their format, all of the Fox Network programs promote the conservative cause.

On the other hand, CNN exhibits the same programming tendency, promoting the liberal point of view. Watching both news channels is somewhat like watching a tennis match. Both can bore one to tears with the repetition of the same news item hour after hour during the 24-hour-news’ cycle. Thank goodness for weekends. Obviously, there are other outlets through which to find news programming, but many of these networks have lost both prestige and viewership.

Cable news and social news appear to dominate the national conversation. I am not sure whether this trend is healthy or destructive. In a republic, the dissemination of knowledge is essential. The question in 2017 is the truthfulness and value of how that knowledge is being disseminated. Too many newscasters appear to editorialize or provide innuendos that meet the outlook of that particular news channel.

As for the exit of Bill O’Reilly, the “king” of cable news, it was time for him to move on and explore new horizons. He can write more books, do more personal appearance shows, or perhaps consider the job of White House press secretary, should that job become available. Laugh all the way to the bank, Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Ailes, and Mr. Shine. Parting is so financially remunerative.

O’Reilly was at Fox for almost 20 years and will be missed by many. Not so much by others. Some people can identify a blowhard when they see one. Now he can find other venues in which he can pontificate and bloviate.

The spin has stopped. Let’s hope there will be someone new and, perhaps, more humble to look out for us. Perhaps that will become the real mission of President Trump. Now that Bill is gone, there has to be someone to care. If Bill were still here, we could just ask him.

Op-Ed: A Healthy Dilemma By Fletcher Hall

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Congress will not enact a new healthcare act at this time. The wheels of Congress grind very slowly; however, the legislative process has begun, and the horse-trading has been significant and vicious. As evidenced by the withdrawal of the proposed Trump health plan, the Republicans proved that their party’s schism is really harmful to their own political agenda.

Having watched the committee hearings in the House of Representatives, I am convinced it is dangerous to have anyone in Congress attempting to create a national healthcare plan. If they cannot understand and clearly explain the legislation, how can the American public?

My observations about the government’s involvement in the healthcare industry are that they should have no, or a very limited, role in the provision of medical care. Perhaps it should be limited to some oversight responsibilities to keep the industry on a level playing field and drug costs at a reasonable level.

For the first twenty years of life, my healthcare connection was that I saw the doctor who delivered me until I was out of college. Services were paid for by cash or check, with no third-party intervention. Having grown up in a rural area on the Eastern Shore, there were many stories of doctors taking eggs, chickens, and vegetables instead of cash for payment of medical services. Even my uncle accepted this method of payment for his services. But, progress and the march of time makes such stories simply memories of the past. And so it should be.

Medicine today, while still being a healing art, is partially governed by time and money. It is a given that the advances made in the field of medicine and the provision of healthcare services have been amazing and profound; however, government intervention in the delivery of healthcare has become so detrimental that it has made many advances in medical care unaffordable.

Since it will now remain a program “captured” by Congress, healthcare remains to be fixed. The capacity to make the long-needed changes is best left to the private sector. The president should appointment a national commission to identify the essential components and best practices of the provision of healthcare. This commission would then make their findings available to Congress for their consideration. Better yet, the conclusions of the commission could be adopted as a set of national standards for the provision of healthcare services throughout the United States.

The provision of healthcare services surely affects all Americans from cradle to grave. As the elderly population of America continues to grow, so to does the necessity of providing quality, affordable medical services. Rather than complicate healthcare services, now is the time to simplify service delivery and patient care.

America can do better. It now appears that the Trump administration and Congress are again attempting to address this issue. The current administration needs to have solutions enacted before the 2018 mid-year elections. Be careful what you promise—even when Congress is controlled by your own party. The Freedom Caucus can take a wrecking ball to almost any legislation with which they disagree.

The United States remains the preeminent provider of healthcare in the world. Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System are primary examples of institutions providing cutting edge medical services. Baltimore is indeed fortunate to have these institutions and the prominent doctors drawn to this area by such medical facilities.

Medical care in this country is in flux. It can be improved, but the government and the private sector must identify their roles in the vast system of health services.

Each has a role to play. The private sector has opportunities to make significant changes and improvements and should speak up before the government forces changes that are either not desirable or even more onerous than those imposed at the present time.

Machiavelli, Trump, and Washington By Fletcher Hall

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In order to build a new order in Washington, It is first important to identify the leaks in the old order. It was Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince, who wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”

Trump is attempting to establish a new order in Washington. Perhaps the first real new order since the end of World War II. In the years since the end of that war and the fall of communism, America has experienced many significant and diverse changes. The expansiveness of the federal government, the civil rights movement, the disappearance of the middle class, the loss of manufacturing jobs, the effectiveness of the education system, and the catastrophe in the medical system are all staggering changes that have occurred in this country.

All of these developments have created cultural and political differences of major proportion. The nation is now divided, there will be a tremendous change in the order of things. The election of Donald Trump ensured these changes. Gone are the Clintons and their 30-year dominance of the Democratic Party. Gone are Barack Obama and his left-of-center political views and policies. Gone is the control of the House and Senate by the Democrats.

Trump, his administration, and the Republican Congress will have a relatively short period of time to change the order of things and to enact the major the legislation they have promised the American people. The next congressional election, which will determine the control of Congress, is less than two years away. Enacting a legislative agenda is not the fastest process known to man, especially in Washington D.C. where gridlock and political procrastination are plentiful.

If Trump desires to fulfill many of his campaign promises, he must find ways to work with the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. The withdrawal of his nominee for Labor Secretary does not bode well. Trump did not have enough Republican Senate votes to ensure his confirmation. Trump must get his Capitol Hill team in place and functioning soon. Investigation after investigation takes time, taxpayer money, and often yields dubious results. Capitol Hill politics are vicious; however, the ability of the White House to work successfully with the legislative body is essential. President Trump must understand and embrace this fact of life. He will have to engage in the job training, and he appears to not like training wheels.

Written in 1513, The Prince is still very pertinent to the understanding of politics today. Machiavelli, the observer of princes and potentates, explains how to govern and use the tools of power to acquire political victories. So far, the ability to preserve the power of the leader is yet to be proven by President Trump. It is not surprising to see the entire Trump administration having a difficult time getting organized. Trump is an insurgent president, and insurgent presidents usually do not have a built-in cadre of loyalists in Washington. The ability to establish a new order will be a significant challenge for President Trump. The long knives are out for him. Since day one in the White House, he has faced the reality that his detractors and opponents wish to bring down his presidency. These knives are both in and out of government.

Politics is a blood sport and it “ain’t bean-bag” to quote Finley Peter Dunne. Trump must learn the nuances of governing in Washington. There are so many moving parts. So many players and so much media. So many talking heads and pundits. Trump needs to get the wagon headed in the right direction before all the wheels come off.
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Op-Ed: “Do it Now“ – Trump Gets the Message by Fletcher Hall

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The story is told about the painting of the famous photograph of Theodore Roosevelt, still hanging in the White House, by John Singer Sargent. Sargent had been waiting for several days seeking to find a time when T.R. could pose for the portrait. Sargent ran into President Roosevelt descending the White House staircase. He again asked T.R. when he could pose. Roosevelt replied: ”now.”

John Singer Sargent's portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt

John Singer Sargent portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt

Baltimore’s revered late Mayor William Donald Schaefer was famous for his admonition to “do it now.” This take-charge, get it done attitude, allowed the city to improve and thrive. Early in the administration, President Trump appears to be exuding this approach, as many diverse actions are being taken quickly. Regardless of how you might feel about Trump, the “do it now” attitude in The White House is refreshing and welcomed.

Taking action is always preferable to inertia. The previous Obama administration often preferred to delay taking action, and this caused negative results, especially in foreign policy. This inaction was very very evident in the Middle East. The Obama administration was especially slow in taking any definitive action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. By not taking decisive action in Iraq, that nation has reverted back to the rather ungovernable and chaotic quagmire which is not in the best interests of Iraq or the United States. A similar situation exists in Afghanistan, with the added threat of ISIS fighters being trained and exported from this essentially failed nation. Then there is Syria. The prolonged civil war there has resulted in one of the worst human disasters in modern history. The number of refugees who have escaped death and starvation is staggering.

Yet, the inaction of the Obama administration has allowed this situation to continue for much too long. Diplomacy has failed, and there is no coherent military strategy at work in this horrific morass. Essentially, Syria has become a puppet for Iran.

With the change of administrations in Washington, the Trump government will now inherit the results of the stagnation which has prevailed for the past eight years. Given the challenges, of a long-standing nature, it is essential that positions in the State Department are filled, and filled soon.

This confirmation of the new Secretary of State is most important. The sooner, the better.

Also, there is the relationship with Russia. It is complicated and questionable. Again, inaction and lack of involvement on the part of the United States was quite evident. Allowing the invasion and annexation of the Ukraine with only minimal United States involvement and assistance was a major blunder. The sanctions enacted by the United States were not significant and had done little to change the direction Putin has taken in meddling in the affairs of a free and sovereign nation. Perhaps another vital issue between the United States and Russia is that of oil. Russia, a large oil producer, is dependent on relations with other countries to export its oil to many nations, including those in Western Europe.

In addressing the current and potential conflicts with Russia, the new administration needs to adopt a “do it now” attitude. An attitude which demonstrates strength and resolve.

The current Trump administration has made several interesting comments regarding the United Nations and NATO. Both institutions need review and change. The U.N. needs to be less of a debating society and more action oriented. The divisions between the democratic and nondemocratic members of this world body are very diverse and self-centered. America has lost its leadership and its clout in the world due to its lethargy and vacillation in the U.N. The most recent action by the United States in not blocking the resolution against Israel was both a mistake and an insult to our closest ally in the Middle East. A review of NATO, its effectiveness, and financial arrangements, is in order. Established in Washington, D.C. in 1949,

NATO is a long-standing organization which needs to reflect worldwide military and security realities of the twenty-first century.
Even if the United States remains the primary world power, it cannot assume the financing of a multinational organization such as NATO. With participation comes responsibility. It is time the members of NATO examine this issue and make appropriate decisions. These decisions will be in their vital national interests and, hopefully, continued world peace.

 

Op-Ed: Divided We Stand by Fletcher Hall

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As I watched the confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for attorney general and secretary of state, I was reminded of just how divided this nation has become. The American public agrees on very little. Divergent philosophies prevail. Cultural wars continue. The disruptive protests at these hearings were most troublesome. Even though the protesters had a right to exercise free speech, the outbursts demonstrated the significant divide that resides in the country today. This divide existed before the 2016 presidential election; however, it has been exacerbated by the outcome of that election.

Unfortunately, rampant division in America only threatens our democracy, weakens our prestige, and encourages boldness in our enemies. Yes, America has enemies—and not just ISIS. The cohesiveness and resolve of the United States have historically been one of the major strengths of this nation. America has been viewed as the leader of the free world and the primary example of freedom and democracy. Divisions in the nation are threatening to tear that fabric of unity and strength asunder.

A primary example of division is race, but the issues of class, income disparateness, and political philosophies also threaten the cohesiveness of this country. The challenge for the new Washington administration is to bridge these divides. During the campaign, President-elect Trump addressed many of these threating issues in platitudinous, vague ways. The challenges to resolving these divisions are enormous.

Yes, things have changed in Washington. Simply watching the new Congress operate is a prime example of this change. By controlling all three major centers of government, the Republicans will act very differently than the previous Congress where the Democrats controlled the White House. The old political adage, “to the victor belongs the spoils,” still applies. The Democratic party and much of America needs to now accept this fact. The election is over. Some won, some lost. Yet, this nation is in need of reaching consensus and some semblance of unity.

Bridging the wide gaps will not be an easy task, but try we must. This must happen for the good and future of the country. Perhaps, not since the end of the Civil War have we as a nation so greatly needed unification.

In periods of military conflict and threats to our democracy, this nation has been unified and committed to the preservation of our democracy. This nation is currently under the threat of attack from enemies who wear no uniform, speak many languages, and seek to destroy the American way of life. These enemies hate our basic values. Internal divisions only serve to allow these enemies better opportunities to defeat us at home and abroad.

The issue of race is multifaceted. It includes economics, education, and employment. These three core issues present, perhaps, the biggest challenge facing the nation. The new Congress and the new administration need to recognize that these critical issues affect most Americans, especially the middle class, which really does still exist in the United States.

In 1968, the Kerner Report was released following the race riots of 1967. One major conclusion that the report declared was: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

This fact is as salient today as in 1968. Perhaps more so. A paramount challenge for the Trump administration and the 115th Congress will be to unify the country to ensure that the United States is, indeed, a country.

Op-Ed: Ready or Not by Fletcher Hall

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There is a line from a children’s game that says, “Ready or not, here I come!” This will happen to America on January 20 when Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. It is arguable if he is ready and if the American public is ready. Apparently, a sufficient number of Americans were ready to elect Trump as president. Will great change come to the United States? Will foreign policy change immensely? Will Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress work together? Will the Democrats in the House and Senate cooperate with Trump and the Republican congressional majorities? These are all questions that the American people will be watching after another, hopefully peaceful, transition of power comes on January 20.

For Americans living today, this has been the most tumultuous, rancorous election to have been witnessed. The fact that Trump won may have surprised both the candidate and the American public; however, Trump has been ahead of the game in nominating administrative posts, especially in the area of national security. With the continued attacks by ISIS, these actions may well be in the best interests of the nation. Make no mistake: given any opportunity, ISIS will strike in the United States. The recent strike against the nightclub in Turkey is the latest incident in their war of terror. Apparently, terror is now the new normal in many parts of the world. We cannot allow terror to become the norm domestically. The United States must become a leader in the war to eliminate this international threat that is dominating too much of the world.

Regarding the involvement of Russia, it is time for Vladimir Putin to decide if he can be an ally in the fight against terror of not. Time to put up or shut up. He cannot continue to use this war and the Syrian conflict for his own political gains.

Ready or not, President Trump will have to realistically and effectively address these long, festering issues. Many years ago a wise college history professor told me, “Never get in a war with a Middle Eastern (Arab), nation. The war will never end.” History may have proven him correct.

Ready or not, Trump will very quickly attack and try to replace or eliminate Obamacare. The opportunity to positively affect the onerous aspects of this legislation will be one of the primary tests of Trump’s policy initiatives. Keeping the positive aspects and replacing the costly, unworkable components, are one of the main issues that helped Trump experience an unexpected win.

“Draining the swamp” may be one of the more challenging objectives Trump hopes to effectuate. The entrenched bureaucracy in the nation’s capital is a formidable force and challenge. The federal government has grown entirely too large and bloated. Yes, many federal officials and workers who are not political appointees can often scuttle the policy priorities of any White House. This part of the swamp may be the most difficult to drain.

Then there are the lobbyists, think tanks, unions, public interest groups, and Washington legal firms, who all seek to affect federal policy. This is not to ignore the thousands of feral regulators who are too often left to their own interpretations of legislation passed by Congress. Ready or not, Trump appears to be willing to take on the regulators and the “federal guidance” writers. He appears to be treading where others have failed.

Many administrations, especially the outgoing one, have contributed to the excess of regulations and the use of executive orders. Trump has promised to review many of the executive orders previously issued.

Ready or not, President-elect Trump has already been working to return jobs to the United States. It remains to be seen where this effort will go. In the tech economy of the twenty-first century, the cremation of “manufacturing” jobs is problematic at best. The return of traditional manufacturing jobs may never occur.

Rather than making things, the global economy now thrives on creating and implementing ideas. This fact will weigh on the possibilities and realities of creating jobs. Retraining and education must be revised, changed, and improved. A tall order, ready or not.

Here comes a new, and perhaps unexpected, administration. It will not take much time to determine if it is ready or not.

Hillary Lost by Fletcher Hall

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Hillary Clinton lost the Nov. presidential election. She may have garnered 2.6 million popular votes more than Trump. However, she lost in the electoral college. That will not change. It is a fact. End of story. Like it or not, Donald Trump destroyed two politicly American dynastic families, the Bushes, and the Clintons. Quite a feat. One which will undoubtedly be included in a history book and debated in political classes for years to come.

Enough of the American voters, in enough states, voted to Elect Donald Trump, President of the United States. For many reasons, frustrated and anxious Americans wanted a change. Change very different from the change by President Barack Obama just eight years earlier. Sort of reminds me of the slogan of the 1920 Warren Harding campaign, “A Return to Normalcy.” The 1920’s was a volatile and diverse time. Not all positive and productive. The next four years may prove if history repeats itself, or new chapters will be written. It was fascinating to watch Wisconsin go for Trump. That state had voted Democratic in the last seven presidential elections. No poll before the election gauged the anxiety and angst in the nation, especially in states between the two coasts.

Maryland really is out in the cold, politically. Trump did not carry the state. Governor Hogan did not support Trump. The Maryland congressional delegation is predominately Democratic, with only Congressman who is a Republican. Is Andy Harris. The new Democrat Senator is from Montgomery County and has already been named to heady the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Then the first action of the new Baltimore City Council was to unanimously pass a resolution to belittle and chastise the new President-Elect. A real neophyte error for a municipal government in need of federal assistance.

The election is over. Hillary lost, and Obama will be leaving the White House. The efforts by advocates for the losing party has been offering excuse after excuse for the Clinton loss. The Russians were involved trying to influence the U.S. elections. Fake news sank the campaign. FBI Director Comey caused the Clinton campaign loss. The campaign did not appear in states they took for granted, such as Michigan. The facts are that the Hillary campaign simply failed. A coronation was not in the cards in 2016.
Americans came out and voted. Frustrated, disappointed, having waited for years, for improvement in their conditions to improve. Many middle-class voters spoke out and forced the change to happen. Changes which are taking place, as the reality of the election goes forward. A cabinet is being appointed.

Transition teams are meeting daily. Inaugural platforms and bleachers are being erected. There tangible examples of the transfer of power, in the United States, which occurs every four or eight years. January 20th, inauguration day is rapidly arriving. Washington D.C., and the rest of the nation is getting ready for the 45th President, Donald J. Trump.

Hillary, lost. The author, Richard Castle, wrote: “People change when you’re not looking”. To a large degree, that is what happened in the 2016 election. First, the Bernie Sanders phenonium threatened Hillary. Then, along came Donald Trump. Trump proved that people had changed. Especially middle-class folks in America. People had change while Hilly was rooted in the past. She produced numerous position papers, but failed to engage with many voters who cared less for vague platitudes but wanted conclusive promises, with specific outcomes. Donald Trump tapped into these desires. He now needs to deliver on those promises.

The Trump administration will certainly be different. Already implementing changes and planning more, government-wide. Trump faces enormous challenges. One of the initial challenges is the cyber-attack the Russians may have launched during this year’s presidential election. Also, the necessity to improve the US. Governments understanding and significance of this issue in national security and threats to the economy of the country.

While many still question the legitimacy of a Trump presidency. However, the inauguration of a Trump presidency will occur shortly.

Hillary won. It is time to move on.

Op-Ed: Trump Country by Fletcher Hall

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With the surprise election of Donald Trump as president-elect of the United States, it appears that this nation has become “Trump Country.” Having won an adequate number of votes in the Electoral College, Trump will actually be the new president.

No surprise Trump won the  election, even though the win was not a blowout. The values and political leanings of voters on in much of the certainly were more consistent with the views of Trump than those of Secretary Clinton.

It is indeed rather amazing that Donald Trump essentially ended the political involvement of two American iconic families: the Bushes and the Clintons. He disrupted the expected coronation of Hillary Clinton as the first female president of the United States. It appears that Trump may be a better politician than initially reported. This fact, combined with the unrest and angst in the nation, were two significant factors in creating Trump Country. He attracted many previously perceived disenfranchised citizens and those whose economic wellbeing has, for too long, been dependent on second and third jobs and other remedies for low wages. While immigration and fear of terrorism were prominent issues, in the end, the issue of economics was the deciding factor in this presidential election.

In view of the gridlock and inactivity of Congress in recent years, there must be real change in Washington. This was expressed by millions of voters in November.

As president, Trump needs to exhibit good judgement, communication and vision to make Washington actually work. He must demonstrate strong leadership and endure the slings and arrows of the media and the Democrats. This is most important in view of the very vitriolic and divisive nature of the recent national election. Washington, D.C. is in many ways not a part of Trump Country. Part of this situation will change when the Trump administration fills nearly four thousand presidentially appointed vacancies in the upper levels of the federal government. Once those positions are filled, officials at lower levels will be appointed. With his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Trump needs to remain cognizant of that promise and the nature of the bureaucracy which exists in the nation’s capital.

One of the initial matters the leader of Trump Country will face is the need to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Not only will Trump fill one existing Supreme Court vacancy, he may have the opportunity to fill several other potential vacancies during his term of office. In Trump Country, it is anticipated that any newly constituted Supreme Court will be expected to reverse previous decisions and substantially change the course of future rulings. This is yet another way the nation may change in its attitudes and viewpoints. Remember, while it may be Trump Country, this event may generate more division and rancor in the national scene. Or, these changes may indicate the evolution of new mores among the citizenry.

Trump Country, as evidenced by Trump in the promises promulgated in the presidential election, may affect many components of our national law and culture.

With the election of Donald Trump, it will truly be a new day in the United States. His background, vastly different from that of his 44 predecessors, will captivate the public and the media. His honeymoon in Washington may be brief, his decisions and recommendations quite different. And, his worldview is still emerging.

For many Americans, they are ready to roll out the carpet for Trump Country. Now, let’s find out what constitutes this new landscape and where its new roads will lead us.

To Mr. Trump, I say, “Carpe diem.”