On the EDge: As inauguration approaches, hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Composite stock images, St. George News

OPINION – In three days, the United States will experience the most contentious transition of power in the nation’s history.

You might say it will be as stark as black and white.

As a forever liberal, I am not happy about what will take place Friday at noon. As somebody who cares very much about the future of the United States and recognizes its place in this global village, I hope the new administration is successful, that it can usher in at least a modicum of civility and unity and that as a nation, we move beyond this mean streak and the anger that has spilled over the last two years and some sense of healing sets in.

I think we are all fed up with the nastiness, name-calling and lies that have exhausted our patience.

This does not mean liberals should go softly into that good and gentle night and it does not mean that conservatives should swing in the catbird seat smug and toasting their improbable good luck.

There remains much work to do and it will take more than anger and bitter delusions of payback to accomplish what needs to be done.

In the dimming twilight of the Obama administration, I cannot, from my own personal and political perspective, help but feel saddened to see this family move from the White House.

I was an Obama supporter from the very beginning. I saw him as a passionate, intelligent and energetic young man stepping into the world’s worst no-win situation.

He had real hurdles to overcome, from the racial to political to economic standpoints.

And, I acknowledge that I had a bit of buyer’s remorse about midway through his first term when his political naivete interfered with his ability to use a Congressional majority to his advantage and “Yes, we can” was altered to “Maybe we can” as he tried to steer through roiling waters.

Nevertheless, at least from my vantage point, he comported himself with dignity and grace.

It stood him well during his second term, which was riddled with obstruction and obfuscation.

I know this will provoke catcalls from those who view a blue line thought with derision, but the fact is, I really don’t care. There is plenty of room for comments typed in all caps and followed by a succession of exclamation points at the end of this piece.

My support for Barack Obama stems from his eloquence when he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

The spinmeisters have tried to turn everything Obama into a negative, from his role in helping the nation through a hugely difficult economic period to tackling employment woes. I admired his connection to the regular folks who suffered without insurance, who tried to rub two pennies together to make them go as far as they possibly could, whose voices are seldom, at best, heard.

He will forever be remembered as the first black president of the United States, even though his agenda was multihued, as he underscored so many times. His scales were balanced, despite the misconceptions of the far right.

I admire his family values, his relationship with his lovely wife and children, how it was clear they are and will remain the priority of his life.

I respect his intelligence.

I am astounded by his patience.

And, I am encouraged by his resilience. No matter how harsh or unfair his critics became, he persevered. I know how difficult it can be when you put yourself out there honestly and freely and are speared by those from the opposition. I expect there will be plenty of that, by the way, to this opinion.

I have major problems with the new administration and those who have fallen lockstep behind it. I have grave concerns about the direction of the nation and am not happy with what has happened in the runup to the inauguration.

I am uncomfortable, for example, with the fact that come Friday, we will not have one ambassador sitting in any foreign nation.

I am concerned about the relations between the United States and the rest of the world – from the bullying threats to Mexico to the strong-arm posturing to North Korea to the submission to a Russian tyrant.

I am terribly concerned about a looming domestic crisis regarding rights, whether for our women or members of the LGBT community.

Mostly, I am worried that we may never find our collective center again.

There is nothing to hold us together at this point, no plan to finesse a reconciliation, nobody showing us how to sheath the swords we have drawn against each other.

Look, it is painfully clear I do not like the new administration from a personal or political standpoint.

I find no avenue of agreement.

I find nothing to like about the people.

But, I wish it well because it really does matter.

We are all tied into the welfare of this nation. If it tanks, we will suffer and so will the greater world and, yes, that matters as well.

I hope it succeeds beyond our wildest imagination, that somehow, those of us who opposed it are proven wrong, that four years from now we can say, “What a pleasant surprise.”

It’s all about respect, for the office, for the nation, but most of all, for each other.

That doesn’t mean we give up our ideals, our principles, our standards and blindly accept those of this new administration.

In fact, it is best that we hold onto what we hold dear as a benchmark to evaluate the coming events.

And, we must be prepared to stand up in disagreement when necessary. I’m concerned, though, about how that will all play out because of the animosity that, sadly, continues to grow.

So, even though I am not happy about what is about to go down, I hope for the best.

But, as a more than casual observer of the political scene I am also preparing for the worst.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • comments January 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Ed, news for you: the entire world doesn’t revolve around your happiness. You may think you’re the most special snowflake in the world but no one else actually cares. You can do better than this writing here.

  • 42214 January 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    When Obama was elected I hoped for the best but got the worst. Feckless foreign policy, Obama care, PC culture, and fragile snowflakes. Also, race relations are a disaster. I see Trump replicating what Reagan did succeeding Jimmy Carter’s debacles. Improved economy, jobs, strengthening military and establishing our standing in the world. Obama’s greatest gift to us is Trump because he would have never been elected without Obama’s help.

  • comments January 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Yeah, I’ll admit Obongo had me fooled for a long time. Come to realize the only thing he’s good at is pretty speeches and not so good at policy. Obongo has been a disaster for black people too. He was likely a big improvement over baby Bush II, but baby Bush was such a clown you’d have to actively try to be a worse thing than that idiot. A lot of “good conservatives” get amnesia as soon as you bring up little Bush II and his policies, but their memory is clear as day of “Saint Ronny” of the 1980s It’s an interesting phenomenon.

  • Real Life January 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Lots and lots of snowflakes are going to be asking for sedatives from their doctors over the next four years.

  • DB January 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    “It’s all about respect, for the office, for the nation, but most of all, for each other”, you state. Funny, I haven’t seen anything of the kind in any of your articles since the election. That goes for all of the late-night talk shows as well. They have gotten so ‘preachy’, instead of ‘funny’ that the audience barely knows when to laugh. We’re a long ways from the togetherness you would like to see.

  • Bob Dalton January 17, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I am hopeful our new President will continue to stand-up for Americans! America needs better trade deals, we have over $343 billion in deficit trading with China, over $58 billion with Mexico. I am ready for a President to stand up for Americans, go President Trump!!

  • commonsense January 18, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Ed, you hope the new administration will usher in “unity”. I do too because the last eight years have been increasingly divisive. Obama and his legislature stuffed the ACA down our throat with no bipartisan support. Harry Reid tabled all bills passed by the republican house so they wouldn’t ever be voted on by the Senate. Executive orders bypassed the whole legislative process. Black racism ran rampant. Voters in 2014 sent a strong message that was ignored. Voters in 2016 finally said “enough”! Republican now rule the day at county, state and federal levels so we will see if Democrats can be anything but obstructive.

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