I was never more saddened and embarrassed to be a citizen of the greatest nation in all of history than when I watched an unruly group of thugs with no respect for the U.S. Constitution storm the U.S. Capitol at the urging of President Donald Trump.
At that time, I didn't think it was possible to safely have the inauguration of Joe Biden as president just two weeks later. Fortunately, while the outgoing president was mostly silenced and barred from tweeting, wiser heads prevailed and a smooth and safe transition of power took place Wednesday.
With Trump absent, the most responsible and able leaders of both political parties gathered peacefully together on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Regular readers of this column know that I have never been a supporter of Donald Trump. I hated his “reality” shows so much that I could never watch more than a few minutes of them before tuning off the TV in disgust. I disliked how much Trump seemed to enjoy humiliating people on national TV by gleefully telling them “you’re fired.”
All that proved to me just how much some people were willing to do just to be on TV.
Despite my lack of confidence in him, there are a number of things Trump did as president in which I fully support. Unfortunately, his arrogance and abrasive personality more than offset those accomplishments. If you had the audacity to disagree with Trump, you immediately by became the target of his wrath.
However, I think the impeachment of a lame-duck Trump during the final days of his term by Democratic leaders was an unnecessary waste of time that only increases the political divide at a time when just the opposite is needed.
I remember well when President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon just days after succeeding him. It was an unpopular move that probably eliminated any chance of Ford being elected to the office he was appointed to, but I think it was the smartest thing Ford ever did. Without that pardon, the prosecution of Nixon would have dragged on for years and we as a nation would have continued to wallow in Watergate.
For much the same reason, I think President Biden should pardon Trump. It would not be popular, but it would get us beyond his controversial time in office. It also would increase the chances of returnng a measure of civility in out national government.
I am one of those Americans who believe the Republican Party is too far to the right and the Democratic Party is too far left. I am not comfortable in either party because I think the most effective government is neither to the far right or the far left, but somewhere in the middle.
Some may think that makes me wishy-washy, but I think the first goal of every elected leaders is to govern effectively. Because of the failure of our elected leaders in both parties to work together and be willing to compromise, our government in Washington is largely dysfunctional. That serves none of us.
To Trump, it always seemed to be “we against them.” There was no “us” in his vocabulary. President Biden spoke the right words Wednesday. The question now is whether his actions will match his words.
I hope so, I think what is really needed is a change of tone in Washington. If our elected leaders treat those who disagree with them as hated enemies instead of the loyal opposition our government will never serve the best interests of we the people.
Reach JOHN CANNON at email@example.com.