In 2008, when Barack Obama was first elected, there was a lot of panic and fear. I remember talking to folks about it on a regular basis. Religious people were concerned he might be or at least foreshadow the anti-Christ (seriously). They were concerned that his liberal policies and ideologies would be the downfall of this country, that liberty would shrink.
And make no mistake – under his leadership America, in my estimation, has taken a few steps backward in some ways. Even folks who voted for him twice have said they believe he failed them, and they refused to vote for Hillary.
In 2012, there was even more hysteria. Sean Hannity coined the term “conservative underground” because he feared some purge of those who opposed Obama. But as it turns out, nobody rounded us up and sent us to internment camps. Again, I think we went backwards in some ways. The national debt is still an issue. The ACA is a horrible piece of legislation and, despite gains for some people, many are feeling the pressure of exorbitant insurance costs and fewer doctors available. But we have survived and some of us have even prospered.
Leading up to this election, I heard some of the worst fear-mongering you can imagine. If Hillary won, she was going to imprison Christians, shut down churches, confiscate all our guns, and outlaw politically unpopular speech. I heard that white-supremacists would riot and instigate violence across the nation.
The problem with these scenarios, and with the ones that predict outlandish things from Trump, are that they place too much weight on the presidency. We are not a monarchy. The president cannot make or change law. Sure, he can issue executive orders. And people can refuse to obey them. Courts can overturn them (and have done so). Yes, he can nominate justices to the Supreme Court. And Congress can reject them.
The point is that our Republic has 3 branches of government designed to check each other’s power. We have so consumed ourselves with the importance of the presidency that we have forgotten that he is but one man in one branch of government. As Obama has found out, it’s tough to get things done when you don’t have people aligned with you. Even when he had both houses of Congress it was a struggle to get the ACA passed.
If we Americans want to quit sweating out every election and stop hearing how the next president will be the end of the America we want and love, then we need to take our heads out of the sand (or wherever else we’ve stuck them) and do 2 things:
1. Pay attention to our Congressional and local races
2. Hold those elected officials accountable and MAKE THEM HEAR US
Get power back into the states where it belongs and quit giving Washington DC so much power and credit.
Additionally, when something offends you, instead of whining like a bunch of toddlers, get involved, take action. And if things still don’t change, then learn how to work with your fellow Americans and put up with the discomforts of a free society while you still have a free society.
The pendulum of culture and society always swings. Some years it goes your way, some years it doesn’t. But realize this: successful, diligent, determined people make things work no matter the economy, the politics, the “times.” Pick your head up and be Americans, instead of whatever “class” the elite have told you to be.