The United States of America has now sworn into office the person to serve as its president for the next four years. What this nation witnessed during the 2016 presidential campaign was a successful effort by the Republican Party to put forth a candidate patently without the historical qualifications to serve as our leader.
They brought forth a racist describing 11 million undocumented immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. They asked us to vote for a sexual deviate with an admitted validated history of violating women both vocally and physically. They endorsed a man of great wealth gained in part through his adroit manipulation of our bankruptcy laws. They applauded a multiyear tax evader for his accounting skills.
They abided an ultimate egotist who boasted that he is the only one who can make our nation great again. They endorsed a religious bigot who would bar Muslims from entering our nation because of the actions of a minuscule few. They put forth before the youth of this country an individual with minimal social graces. The ultimate irony is that our new president received approximately 3 million fewer votes than his opponent.
Many of those among us who are lifelong Republicans had no doubt in our minds as to the character shortcomings of the individual who has become our president. Despite our concerns, in our land of democratic governance, candidate Trump rightfully won the election.
It is fair to note, however, that because of his great wealth, he was able to personally finance almost totally his self-promotional campaign for the party’s nomination. His total lack of respect for those also seeking the nomination will long be recorded as dark history in the annals of Republican presidential campaigns.
Trump, despite reported valiant efforts by his various campaign managers to remake his public image, remains the same person he was before becoming our president. There remains the legitimate question of how much of his recently modified external persona comes from an internal rebirth of personal and emotional character traits and how much is a scripted cover-up.
It is appropriate to note that Trump has tapped a deep reservoir of anger and fear within many Americans who understandably feel betrayed by both parties. It is fair to point out that those on the left neglected our broader citizenry as well.
For example, nearly 60 percent of our population was systematically ignored within our educational system when career and technical education became second fiddle to the notion that only college was a worthy goal. Many were sold a bill of goods that if they worked hard, took care of their families and served their communities, they would experience economic and social stability.
Little did they know those at the top would focus on a financial bottom line and grow rich at the expense of the dreams of conventional American citizens.
Their misdirected focus was on those at the bottom, who could have found a rung on the ladder had not the economic game board become so distorted by greed and single interests. These same political liberals made their own situation worse as they focused on expensive, dependency-creating programs offered in silos trapping many families at the survival level. The ultimate bottom line is that winning is losing when solutions are unbalanced.
Those who yearn for the restoration of dignity, knowledge and respect into the political arena need to step forward to accept appropriate full responsibility for the nomination and election of our president. Let us hope Americans of both political ideologies learn from their recent actions.
Let us pray they will reach out to each other and rise above demeaning political conduct. Despite their philosophical differences, may they pledge to work together to once again create balanced governmental policies administered by esteemed leaders serving all Americans and preserving our nation’s dignity as a world leader within the global community.
Richard A. Johanson is chair emeritus of the Fresno Business Council and founder of Johanson Transportation Service.