The 2016 presidential race was remarkable for many reasons, but what stood out to me was the level of flat-out lies thrown back and forth and how the media failed miserably at fact checking.
Between social, print and electronic media, voters found it hard to determine which statements were true and which were false. Republicans voted for their candidate, Donald Trump, but some Democrats and those who previously voted for President Obama voted for him too, which was evident by the surprising wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Many voters across the country believed the nation was in dire need of leadership and jobs. The hope and change of the previous eight years never materialized. Republicans were tired of the empty speeches and promises made by previous politicians, which never came to fruition. What they saw in Donald Trump was a candidate who was not beholden to anyone and one who could operate outside of the political norms.
We'd seen our medical insurance monthly premiums skyrocket, our yearly deductibles double and triple, and the promises of President Obama evaporate: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor," "If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan."
The endangered middle class began disappearing due to the Affordable Care Act and jobs were not that far behind. There were 17 Republican candidates at the start of the primary; in the end, Donald Trump was the victor.
The reason Trump won the primary and subsequent presidency is plain and simple: Barack Obama. Those who voted for Trump did so for many reasons and here they are:
• The failing Affordable Care Act
• The absence of U.S. leadership worldwide
• The rise of ISIS
• The rise of terrorism worldwide and a failure to act
• Terrorism on our homeland by homegrown ISIS sympathizers
• Deficit grew to a record high number, larger than the previous four administrations combined
• A growing racial divide
Brendan O'Neill in his article, "Trump! How did this happen?" said:
"Because you (society) turned 'white man' from a description into an insult. Because you treated dissent as hate speech and criticism of Obama as extremism. Because you cried when someone mocked the Koran, but laughed when they mocked the Bible. Because you turned politics from something done by and for people to something done to them, for their own good."
My hope is that government works again, for everyone. I hope we can look at each other again as fellow human beings, not as black, white, brown, conservative or liberal. My hope is that everyone can afford health insurance, not just the poor and the rich. It is my hope that Donald Trump makes America first again; that he fixes all that is wrong with education, and not just by throwing millions of more dollars at it. And finally, I hope President Trump makes America great again. Being great again does not mean going back to a dark time in our history when we locked people in chains, but it means returning to a time when our country was respected in the world and other countries looked to us for guidance and leadership, when our schools produced the best doctors and scientists, and a time when we looked out for each other, not requiring the government to do it for us.
Let's all join together and support our new president, because if President Trump fails we all fail.
"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right." – Martin Luther King Jr., taken from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
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John W Schutt Jr. chairs the Humboldt County Republican Party. He lives in Eureka.