By Tim Potier
In relative terms, the past week has been quieter. Yes, an effort has been made to uphold and justify the migrant order, but this has become a matter handled largely by the courts. It is obvious that friends of President Trump have taken him by the hand and whispered that things cannot continue this way indefinitely. I cannot think of a President in US history who has lost the support of the American people, but, having been a student of its history, I must confess to having been a little worried these past few days: that, if there wasn’t some form of correction and normalisation soon, then the unthinkable, mass civil disobedience, with all the potential consequences that can result from such, could have broken out.
Like many of you I am sure, I am disappointed, because I had been looking forward to the new term, replacing the stagnant, late-Obama administration which had seemed to have run out of ideas and spirit a long time ago. I repeat, I would have voted for Hillary; not out of any particular love for her, but if only because at least I had the comfort of knowing what I would be getting. Nevertheless, I have wished Donald Trump the best of luck; showing my respect for a man who has been willing to say a range of things that needed saying, but almost no one had the guts to say.
I accept that there will be millions of people in the United States, let alone beyond, who will never accept his presidency. They have every right to oppose him, should they feel the need, at every step of the way; but they must respect the fact that President Trump has been democratically elected, and their task, therefore, is to convince American voters why he is wrong. If anything should arise which could conceivably interrupt his tenure, then process should be respected and enquiry should flow, but there is no reason to suppose that such will occur, let alone what the outcome might be even if it did. In the meantime, all Americans must acknowledge that he has a job to do, for the good of this world also, and if the United States is in any way qualified or undermined by ceaseless bickering then all of us who claim to represent and uphold the values of a free society will be sorely weakened as a result.
For almost my entire life the United States of America has been heckled, hated and hung from a metaphorical gallows for being that malevolent hegemon on the world stage. Yet, it is only during times like the one we are currently living through that we can begin to appreciate just how central a strong and morally upright America is for everyone on this Earth.
Many columns back, I admitted that I was hard on Washington sometimes; my excuses for other countries, systems and regimes may have made me seem an ungrateful friend; but it is precisely because I expect so much from the United States – for their government alone my bar is set so high – that must surely represent the ultimate compliment an informed citizen of this world can tender to any nation. You see, greatness carries with it not only huge responsibility, but the loneliness of being praised little and of always having the spotlight directed firmly when its government should stumble, let alone fall.
During the interregnum, after the November poll, I had told some close friends that I believed the Trump administration would either be a great success or an unmitigated disaster. The first two weeks fell, without question, in the latter category, but, as I said, I have already sensed a desire to turn things around. Strong men have been mocked in recent days. It is easy to scoff and casually quote names such as Putin and Erdogan, but these are not easy times and these are not easy nations to govern. This is not because Russia and Turkey are in any way deficient as societies, quite the reverse, in my opinion, but because the vast scale of competing interests and challenges in both countries, during these times in particular, require such type of leader.
Surely, one of the main tasks for President Trump during the next four years will be to help mighty nations such as these continue their positive path, in the hope, perhaps, that one day they will come to join the United States as just two of the great forces for good that the world needs more of, to make us all feel, for the first time in a long while, more secure.
**** (Lecturer in Law at Coventry University)