Reflections on the Trump inauguration
Trump, man of action
Today is a day of pomp and circumstance. It’s also a day many people thought would never come: Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. But as I type those words, they seem far less strange than they did a year ago.
Some feel a sense of relief as they watch Obamas say good-bye and fly away. I am feeling that emotion plus a cautious optimism about what Trump will actually do as president.
Quite some time ago I noticed that people tend to describe themselves in different modes. If you were to ask people to give a brief summary of who they are, the first one might use words of emotion and relationship: I am a kind person who likes to talk to people and hear what they say. I have a good sense of humor. That sort of thing.
The second might be a “just the facts” type: I was born in Kansas. I have a degree in mechanical engeering. I have a wife and three children. In other words: I am my resume.
A third might self-define in terms of activities: I love to golf and ski, and in summer I go sailing in my sailboat. I’ve traveled all around the world.
Those modes of description may seem arbitrary, but they are not.
In my opinion, Donald Trump is that last type of person, a man who defines himself though action. That is one of several reasons why it would be difficult to think of him as an intellectual, although he’s sharp and canny and smart. Nor does he seem articulate—although his words certainly get the job done, don’t they? He hardly spoke on the campaign trail about conservatism (as a movement or a theory or set of principles), and doesn’t really define himself in terms of conservatism or any other particular political ism (he talks populist and populism but doesn’t tend to use the words).
It’s no accident that Trump is a builder and developer. He likes to create things in the real world, likes to be able to see and touch the fruits of his labors. It’s no accident he talks so much about infrastructure, too; it’s the sort of tangible accomplishment he knows best.
In sum: a man of action who conceptualizes himself as a man of concrete (pun intened) action and looks at the world that way. He defines himself by what he will do.
Parsing words is something I’m used to doing and something I do quite naturally. But with Trump it’s somewhat of a waste of time, although of course I’ll still do it—and now that he’s president, his words carry even more weight and might have even more repercussions than before.
But it’s Trump’s actions that will tell the tale. And since I’ve been thinking of Trump as an action-defined person for a while now, I was especially struck by the following passage in Trump’s speech today, words that might not have seemed all that memorable to most people:
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
The hour of action is at hand for Trump, as well. With a Republican Congress in place and probably several SCOTUS positions to fill, he has a chance for a great deal of meaningful accomplishment.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
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This is very insightful, excellent!
It is amazing what a difference 1 hour can make. No matter what follows now (and I think it will be good), I am glad to see the last of Obama as “President”. He won’t go away gracefully, as he has never done anything gracefully. However, he is no longer the President (nor is Hillary) and that alone makes me feel so very much better.
And the MSM can stuff it as well. The minute Trump finished his speech, the media started talking about how “militant” and “decisive” it was. And I laughed at their irrelevancy as I clicked off the computer feed.
Has anyone heard of a pocket pardon. zone a President issues to an individual but never publishes. Only to be pulled out if needed.
There have been pocket appointments, generally unsuccessful. The notorious Marbury v. Madison grew out of an appointment by John Adams of the otherwise obscure William Marbury to an unpaid position as a Justice of the Peace. The incoming Secretary of State, Madison, left it on his desk and took no action, thus effectively killing it. John Marshall’s appointment as fourth Chief Justice was made around the same time as Marbury’s appointment, but Marshall was confirmed by the Federalists in the Senate, and Jefferson couldn’t ignore it. A good thing too, as Marshall was the author of the Marbury v. Madison opinion, which made the Supreme Court somewhat more consequential than originally intended.
Any business or booby-traps left by Obama which haven’t already been done are probably stone dead.
zone = One
Perhaps the most interesting vignette ( for lack of a better word ) today.
( Click on the headline to see the vid. )
Bill Clinton is checking out someone, presumably Ivanka. Hillary is enjoying her self until she catches Bill and gives him a nasty look.
Bill glances at her, then goes back to looking. Then she turns away with this strained smile on her face, but also this look of disgust.
The funniest part is right at the end you see W’s head pop in. He got this smirk on his face that says “Busted man …”
I was at the Inauguration and also attended the concert at the Lincoln Memorial. A few things struck me. First, when I would talk with people or look around the crowds I see faces just like mine. Not a black face or a white face, not a gay face or a straight face, I saw people who were hungry and wanted all to succeed. A second observation is that the media gets to much credit for being smart. They are not. They are not the over lords of us. There power is only when we give it to them. The third and final take away is that the 45th President of the United States is oddly more like us then those we send from our home towns.
President Trump has much more support simply because so many have felt the strong arm of a broken government and we wanted it fixed. It is now for us to remain active and not go back to sleep. Much work gets to be done now
The quote you referenced spoke to me about what AceSpades terms “failure theater”.
Short version is the GOPe plays their base by pretending they couldn’t stop something when in reality they already made a back room deal to support it. Then they have the audacity to send out donation mailers using that exact issue as an example of why we need to send them back to Congress.
“Gosh golly we really tried to repeal Obamacare but just couldn’t find enough votes. But send us more money and maybe next year”
The GOPe is more insidious than the democRats – traitors usually are.
That’s an interesting insight, it makes sense. However, I was a little bit disappointed in his speech today, because I was hoping for a brief summary of his philosophy of governance. I understand that he has a preference for action, but what guides his actions? Can his supporters and staffers understand what he expects from them in the absence of direct instruction, i.e. “WWTD” (What would Trump do?). But as you say, that’s not how he approaches things.
Well, Mattis is confirmed, and the climate change claptrap is off the White House site.
I like his actions fine so far.
There was plenty of philosophy of governance underpinning that speech, he just put it in everyday terms.
“Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.”
“At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.”
–That is a philosophy of governance, the same one embedded in the Declaration of Independence, and it is distinct from that of both political parties at the national level.
“We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”
“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.”
–That is a philosophy about the mutual obligations that our citizens have to one another,
“The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.”
–That is a statement of what he sees as his obligation under his oath of office.
“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.”
“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
–That is a philosophy of the relationship between America and other nations.
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
–that is a philosophy that ties patriotism to the relationship among citizens.
“We must speak our minds openly. Debate our disagreements honestly. But always pursue solidarity.”
–This is the free-wheeling and robust debate that the Supreme Court recognizes as essential to our system, with the addition of what psychologists recognize as essential to marriage.
As for all the parts about action, he will let others expand on this, if they wish. He has work to do.
Excellent post, Valerie.
“Can his supporters and staffers understand what he expects from them in the absence of direct instruction, i.e. “WWTD” (What would Trump do?).”
Is it remotely possible someone is so ignorant to think the cabinet and staff can only receive instructions from an inaugural speech?
You’re definitely right with “America First,” that distinguishes his approach very clearly from that of the past. Many of the other statements could have been said by any new President. But it’s clear that Washington will experience a major change of direction.
That was a great synopsis
How will DJT deal with all the ceremonial duties? One advantage the Brits have is they have the Queen and Royal family to deal with all the ribbon cuttings, high teas, etc., freeing up the prime minister to run the country.
To each his own, but I liked this the most, spoken with that ‘small group’ sitting right behind him:
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished—but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered—but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.”