Trump's Greatest Generation

By Marc Dion

January 15, 2018 4 min read

I believe the newspaper columnist's job is to take a step to the side, to take a look at things from an angle, to maybe even sneak around behind an issue and get a look at it from the back.

In that spirit, what if the election of Pres. Donald Trump is the best thing that ever happened to America?

Think about it.

Our nation moved steadily left for a long time: Bigger government, more tolerance, a concern for nature, a shift away from the everlasting words of Jesus. In New York, you went to see a Broadway play and Alexander Hamilton was played by a black guy.

So, people went to the polls and voted for the year 1905 in the person of Donald Trump.

Bad, right?

Maybe not.

Nobody denies that the last election pushed our government several million miles to the right. It was a revolution.

It was a revolution, but there were no battles in the streets. Opposing armies of left and right did not battle over Washington, D.C. No re-education camps, no massacres. The vote was honest. The transition was orderly. The system held.

Even now, a year after the election, people like me can write blunt, sometimes insulting criticisms of the man we elected. Comedians can still make Donald Trump jokes. The system is holding.

There's no doubt we elected a president who is intent on burning the flag, incinerating the Constitution, and giving every scrap of power to those who already hold most of the power.

But the courts still turn back his rulings. The FBI is investigating his campaign. The system is holding. The flag is tattered, but it still waves.

The ruling party loses an election in Alabama, one of the centers of Trumpism. The despised black people of that state turn back the challenge. They are not killed, or driven from the polls with rifle butts. The system holds.

Staggering under the assault, the system hangs on; the safeguards still function. One year into Trump's term, the idea of his re-election becomes more repugnant to more people, and they will get to vote in three years. The system is holding.

The system of governance, the flawed idea of freedom brought into existence by slave-holding white men, survived slavery, fought for freedom and eventually drowned segregation. The thought of freedom, written on dry paper with quill pens, reaches out to gay couples and gives them the marriage license. The system is holding.

If our ideals, if our canny, cynical, quarrelsome design of government can hold out though this onslaught of stupid bigotry, misplaced nostalgia and the greed of rich old white men, we will have proved it's worth, and the victory will be worth more than Gettysburg or Omaha Beach. The yawp of talk radio, the fake news on Facebook, the leering preachers who think the Bible can be used as a science textbook, the boys in tasseled loafers who pay their employees too little to eat, all that pushes back against the idea of freedom and the wall of rights we have built around that precious, breakable freedom.

When this is over, when Trump's metaphorical head rolls in the dust, and he goes back to working casino bust-out scams, the system will have held, the idea will have held, battered but too strong to break.

We are the greatest generation, and we will live through America's greatest test.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "The Land of Trumpin," is a collection of his columns from before during and after the election of President Donald Trump. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and in e-book for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

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