The People Are Watching

January 20, 2017

I'm an optimist, and a wait and see kind of guy. I'm not happy about the incoming administration, but I'm going to hold my fire for now. I believe in the system, I believe in separation of powers, I believe in checks and balances. I believe they are there for a reason, and I believe they work. I think we'll survive.


The new president has made a lot of promises. He's going to bring back high-paying manufacturing jobs, he's going to improve our health care system and make it more affordable for everyone, he's going to improve our infrastructure, he's going to expand our military, including our nuclear arsenal, he's going to make us stronger in our foreign relations and keep us safe from terrorism at home, he's going to build a wall, he's going to cut taxes, and he's going to do that all while reducing the debt. People will expect him to deliver on his promises, and we will be watching and letting him know if he doesn't.


But we're also going to be watching to make sure that he follows the rules: Due process. Fundamental fairness. The Rule of Law. The values embodied in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution. Some of his statements suggest that he's not aware of those rules, or doesn't think they apply to him. I believe that he will learn very soon that they do, not only from the career public servants who have spent their professional careers enforcing them, but also from Congress, the courts, and the people.


Happy or unhappy, this is still a remarkable event: The peaceful transition of power, notwithstanding demonstrations in opposition. It doesn't happen like this everywhere. As I tell children when I talk to them about my books on government, we have a great system. But we also have a great responsibility to keep it going. President Trump is taking on a large part of that responsibility today.


But so are we.

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