The Awesome Responsibility


In a political outcome that surprised many Americans, Republican candidate Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Trump will have to become more serious and responsible if he wishes to lead a successful administration in 2017. (Courtesy of Flickr).
Trump will have to become more serious and responsible if he wishes to lead a successful administration in 2017. (Courtesy of Flickr).

By Joe Moresky 

I never thought I’d be writing this column.

In arguably the greatest political feat in American history, Donald J. Trump has become the president-elect of the United States of America. Poaching several Rust Belt states, Trump coasted to victory on the backs of voters who felt sense of frustration and disillusionment with a status quo that had seemingly forgotten about them. The once-impregnable Democratic firewall crumbled. Down-ballot republican candidates benefited from Trump’s long coattails; the GOP retained control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Polls missed this. Forecasting models missed this. Consultants and pundits on both sides of the aisle missed this. A sense of utter shock through the Beltway is palpable, and political professionals (and likely most voters) are still trying to fully process the outcome nobody thought was possible.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald Trump will officially succeed Barack Obama as the nation’s 45th president, and while the question of why this outcome was so widely missed rightly ought to hang over the minds of Americans everywhere, the much bigger question is whether Trump is up to the enormous burden soon to befall him.

With his inauguration comes the acceptance of the greatest mantle of leadership in the modern world. Decisions of the utmost gravity, which will impact millions of lives and adjust the course of history, will fall squarely on the shoulders of the real-estate mogul turned politician. Up until this point, Trump has given me little reason to believe he has the seriousness of purpose required to faithfully execute the duties of the Oval Office, or the appropriate reverence for its lofty purpose.

A cavalier attitude on the campaign trail often left the candidate eschewing counsel or preparation. His tendency to retaliate massively to criticism was often draped with a muddied veneer of vindictiveness. He lacked — and continues to lack — governing principles and a moral compass. His absence of experience in holding elected office and meeting the obligations such a posting carries is concerning.

All of this causes me to have serious doubts about whether Trump is up to the challenge of stewarding the ship of state. I suspect that he is just now being introduced to the grandiose scope of the presidency and perhaps struggling to come to terms with the sheer awesomeness of responsibility he will face.

Nevertheless, I do not want the Trump Administration to fail.

In democracies, sometimes the other guy wins. That is a truth that we all must protect and accept. National unity is needed now more than ever, and the American tradition of a peaceful transition of power must be venerated. I hope that Trump shows the American people that he is capable of being more than just a disruptor that he abandons the demagoguery he so gleefully indulged in on the campaign trail and that his victory is more than just a ruinous triumph.

Despite my cautious pessimism, I hope that Trump achieves something for the common good.