The recent American election is providing all sorts of fuel for two questions.
- Is there more I should know?
- What then?
There is a recent story about how the White House is considering pardoning Hillary Clinton to prevent Trump from taking political revenge. Political revenge is not part of the American custom. Either the media or the White House must think we are all stupid or at least too busy to notice them.
- There is the implied assertion in this that she did something illegal and therefore requires a pardon. To date there is no conviction so it is just a belief. Strange the idea of admitting she did something illegal is coming from the White House.
- There is an implication that without the pardon, Trump would exact revenge. That’s theoretically possible, but it is also possible, even likely, that he sees the importance of fair administration of justice. It is hard to trust a justice system that relies on who you know instead of what you did.
If America is to become great again, it must have at least the appearance of a just society. Hillary presents a poor role model for that idea. Maybe she really is innocent of all the things people concern themselves with and would welcome a trial to prove that innocence. If found guilty, they could then pardon her and all those convicted on similar evidence. That’s how justice should work.
What then? is always a useful question. There are people who hold conflicting ideas about Trump. He lies all the time and he has said he will do many things that are wrong. You can’t have both. If he lies all the time then what he promises is a lie too. What then?
Suppose Trump is an evil, self-aggrandizing monster. What then? Probably not much will get done. Certainly no truly crazy stuff.
Suppose Trump is a bright, far-sighted executive and leader. What then?
Probably some useful legislation will arise and removal of many older and less useful ones will occur.
I think there is a relatively easy way to restore order and rational thought to the republic. Enforce the laws we have or change them if there is no justification to enforce. Housekeeping if you will. Trump will withdraw the many executive orders that changed laws. Congress, if you don’t like the old laws, produce new ones. Deal with real issues. Legal immigration is fine. Illegal is not. Sanctuary cities are accessories after the fact. Marijuana is illegal or not. CO2 is not a pollutant. The IRS shall be neutral. Education sucks. Corporate tax rates demand that businesses leave the US. Pipelines are safer than the alternative, and a hundred more. What then? Probably congress would have to do some work and produce new and better laws that the president can enforce evenhandedly and swiftly.
President Obama likely had good ideas. Treat people better, protect them, help where possible. He over-reached because he is a theorist, not an operator. Theorists are impatient while operators are pragmatic. They know they cannot do everything at once. Not even all the good and important stuff. Operators understand priorities while theorists do not.
Operators know a simple fact of life. In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they aren’t.
Trump has always been an operator. What then? He will continue to act like an operator and do only things that will implement. Ideally things with a cost-benefit to the people. He will quit the things that do not and that sets him aside for all other politicians.
As the next six months or so unfold pay attention to the two questions. What else should I know? and What then? They may provide insight.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
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