At the risk of saying too little too late and giving critics another club to beat me with, I admit: I regret endorsing Donald Trump. I rescind my endorsement.
If you didn’t catch Joe Biden’s inauguration day festivities, you should. The young poet Amanda Gorman’s anthem was a remarkable summary of the American struggle and our collective hopes. It was a fitting celebration of our first woman of color as vice president.
Biden’s speech and the show he produced hit the target: He inspired hope for greater unity and achievement of our American ideals. Contrast that with Donald Trump’s past few months. I voted for him but regretted it from the moment he began his “they stole the election” act.
Biden pointed out that Americans agree on many things: “Opportunity. Security. Liberty. Dignity. Respect. Honor. And … the truth.” Just affirming his commitment to the ideal of unity was refreshing. I hope by unity, he means less name-calling and more conversation across the aisle.
Trump lost me over his denial that he lost the election and his bullying calls to find more votes. I respect his right to raise questions about the election. There likely are places where election fraud occurred. But by any measure, no one found evidence of fraud on a scale needed to turn the vote around.
Then he encouraged a march that invited violence against our nation’s capitol. I support free markets, limited government, free and fair elections, and the First and every other amendment to the Constitution. But how can these or any other principles be carried forward by a president who seemingly has no appreciation for the rule of law? A president who promotes a riot by an armed crowd because he lost the election isn’t living by the Constitution he pledged to uphold. He’s serving himself, no matter the cost. Trump’s actions violated his oath. He deserves to be impeached.
My vote for Trump was meant as a cry against the current trend to create regulations and government programs for every problem. We already know our current entitlement programs aren’t sustainable even with massive tax increases. To propose we spend trillions more is irresponsible. As digital currencies emerge, we all should be pausing to assess what happens when foreigners are no longer happy to finance our spending.
But I look forward to the Biden years for other reasons, starting with policy that ensures a level playing field for all Americans regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or orientation. I support progress on woman’s rights and global family planning. I support strong borders, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and immigration policy that strengthens us as a nation. I look forward to having a “President for all Americans” who has a better grasp of the meaning of character and principle. I look forward to less fake news.
I’ll take President Biden’s inauguration as a point to pause and adjust my expectations, to put myself in the shoes of others and consider the other side’s view in good faith. I’ll recommit to tolerance, respect and dialogue and to finding lasting common ground. I won’t miss President Trump.
William “Stacey” Cowles, publisher
The Spokesman-Review, PO Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210
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