By now, it is surely obvious that I am not a fan of President Trump. Being overt about negative thoughts isn't my habit, but once a certain threshold is crossed, I become much more expressive in my criticisms.
Being asked to believe in the unbelievable is an insult to voters' intelligence, and being repeatedly asked to do so is more offense than I can bear. So, not only are my negative feelings about the administration increasing, they are being more openly articulated. But it is my nature to try to find that vanishingly small common ground in political discussions.
As a warning to those who unwaveringly support the president, I will conclude this column with descriptions of my disappointment in his obvious failures in a few areas where there appears to be something resembling a consensus. Despite that, I hope these next few paragraphs still get the point across that there are issues where there is some level of general agreement about how we can improve our country and the lives of people in it.
Since he was a candidate, I've mentioned infrastructure investment as an area of agreement I have with Donald Trump. Numerous reports from various nonpartisan, independent groups have outlined the undeniable need for resources to be made available for the maintenance, repair, and enhancement of, for instance, America's transportation facilities. This tenant of his platform seems to have taken a back seat. But whatever life remains in it, I am an unwavering advocate for it.
Disengagement from conflicts abroad is another place where I find myself nodding in agreement. Whether it is mission creep, political expediency, or a misjudgment in geopolitical calculations, the U.S. has found itself in the middle of seemingly endless conflicts. While the topic is too complex to adequately cover in only a part of a column, the broad sentiment that America needs to bring many troops home and selectively disengage from some conflicts is something the president occasionally mentions that I support.
Finally, and perhaps not surprisingly for anyone who knows me, I have a sense of kinship with people who feel there needs to be a shock to a system, who protest the status quo. Society usually benefits when people step forward to do things differently, to try new things, act as a chaotic good, or otherwise innovate. Institutions and bureaucracies as large as the federal government do need a kick in the pants from time to time. A little rebellion now and then is a good thing, in my estimation.
Now for the cold water. This administration has failed to act on infrastructure. Conversely, it is destructively hyperactive when trying to carry through with international disengagement efforts. And Trump's attempts to do things "differently" in terms of management and governance have devolved into self-serving conspiracies.
For infrastructure, we received the occasional "infrastructure week" pronouncements, but no more action than would normally have been undertaken. Instead of being more discriminate in terms of the use of American military and diplomatic power, we've seen capricious bombings, abandonment of allies, and harsh treatment of some of America's oldest friends. When it comes to rattling the cage of the people in Washington, D.C., what we've gotten is the concept taken to such an extreme that it threatens our political norms, constitutional principles, and even the rule of law itself.
It is possible to have too much of arguably good things, and voters are starting to make the distinction between someone having a different approach and someone who is acting as an egocentric wrecking ball. I hope not belatedly.
Jason Nichols is District 2 Democratic Party chair, an instructor of political science at Northeastern State University, and former mayor of Tahlequah.