It is Monday, December 14th. I check Twitter as a part of my morning catching up. Today there is a tweet from President Donald Trump: “People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!”
In the last month we have been burdened with claims and counterclaims about the election results. My wife’s reaction betrayed the answer. The President didn’t win because he asked millions of people to travel, for them, “a road too far”.
America’s strength, at least in part, results from people on the Right and Left of the political spectrum rejecting “hard”—whether rhetoric from the President or Left wing foolishness insisting that the police be defunded.
Now let me take a minute to make my Left of Center friends (yes friends) unhappy. President Trump will leave an interesting legacy even as his manic efforts to evade the results of the election will tarnish it.
The most important court, the U.S. Supreme Court, order in this post-election flurry of lawsuits underscored a fact: his appointees rejected the President, 18 State Attorney’s General and 126 members of Congress who asked it to overturn the election results.
The President’s Supreme Court nominations were scrutinized and stigmatized by Democrats in the U.S. Senate. I was encouraged by their answers, which emphasized the crucial separation of government powers. Basically they said we will not legislate from the judicial bench. And certainly they said with their recent votes, we will not intervene in the State’s exercise of their constitutional authority.
All three jurists are young and now enjoy a lifetime job.
And when it came to China, the Middle East and North Korea, Trump looked at past failures and current imperatives and reversed course. The heavily invested foreign policy establishment howled. Trump paid no attention. While successes or failure in foreign policy rarely submit to scorecard math, at least some of his critics (President-Elect Biden, for example) have given him begrudging credit.
In a month America will have a new President. Perhaps President Trump will give President-Elect Biden some measure of courtesy. He should recall the courtesy extended by President Obama even though Trump insisted that he was not born in the United States and was therefore an illegitimate President.
Several decades ago I was given one of my favorite visual expressions of political will. It is a poster showing a resolute image of Winston Churchill pointing his forefinger at all that looked on, exclaiming: “Deserve Victory”. 2020’s victory came from American citizens, who whether Right or Left of Center, rejected hard rhetoric and hard turns. Biden won while many Republicans unseated incumbent Democrats—the Center held, deserved victory.
When Ulysses Grant ran for President in 1868, following the Civil War and the destructive presidency of Andrew Johnson, he campaigned from his front porch in Galena, Illinois. His campaign slogan: “Let Us Have Peace”. Biden, who critics said, campaigned from his basement in Wilmington, Delaware, had a similar message and won. The furious should keep this lesson in mind. Peace, in our complex society, is most often found in the Center.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.