I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Prior to our recent move to Buena Vista, CO, Andrea and I lived in several locations: Austin, TX; Chapel Hill, NC; the Cleveland, OH area; Georgia; the Miami, FL area; and the New York City area. We found much to like, and very little to dislike, in these places where I pursued my careers in academic basic biomedical research, in the pharmaceutical industry, and as a writer. We made many great friends in each location. Each of the places we lived exhibited great natural and sometimes man-made beauty, although none of these previous areas could match the striking splendor of living in close proximity to the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps, this mountain range accounts for the name of Buena Vista, i.e., Spanish for Beautiful View. Mount Princeton is a high and prominent mountain in the Sawatch Range. While not the highest peak in this range, Mount Princeton is one of the most dramatic, rising to over 14,000 feet from the 8,000-foot level of Buena Vista in only six miles.
We have an outstanding view of Mount Princeton and other peaks from our new home. The mountains may be long lasting, if not strictly eternal; however, their appearance changes not only from season to season but throughout each day. I am building a photomontage of Mount Princeton to record some of the changes.
The view of the mountains, especially Mount Princeton, provides some retrospective perspective of our recent national elections. I do not know how long our democratic republic will endure; nevertheless, we already have not only survived but have prevailed over numerous existential threats to our nation and several Presidents who were incompetent at best and often appeared criminal by violating the ethics and principles of our Constitution. Our national history suggests many of the alarums over the election of Mr. Trump may be unfounded. Yes, I admit to some concerns about how Mr. Trump will carry out his duties as President under the Constitution.
I do not intend to rehash the issues embedded in our recent national elections. I found much to dislike, and very little to like, about Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump. I could not in good conscience vote for Ms. Clinton but I thought she would win the election. A week before the elections, voting machines were brought into the assisted living facility where we lived in Austin. I held my nose and voted for Mr. Trump, figuring he would not win the election and I could legitimately say when Ms. Clinton was elected, “I did not vote for her.” I did not foresee Mr. Trump’s victory one week before the election. My vote profoundly upset my family.
I would have been in the loyal opposition if Ms. Clinton had been elected; I will be in the loyal opposition under President Trump. Yes, while I voted for President Obama in his first election, I soon became a member of his loyal opposition and did not vote for his reelection. I will strenuously object to any contention that my loyal opposition to President Obama results from racist proclivities. I find that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties in their present manifestation easily incorporate my penchant for liberal social values, conservative economics, and a strong—even overwhelming—national defense. Furthermore, I believe both parties in recent years have violated fundamental principles of the Constitution.
How do I view my role as a member of the loyal opposition to President Trump? First and foremost, all of us should quite bellyaching about the outcome of the election, including the disparity between the popular and Electoral College votes. By running for the presidency, both candidates agreed to abide by the electoral strictures the Founders included in the Constitution. This election was by no means the first time a candidate lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College. Eliminating or modifying the Electoral College through methods enshrined in the Constitution may be a worthy subject for future discussion; however, the issue has no relevance to the 2016 elections.
Second, my loyal opposition status does not mean that I will reflexively oppose any and all policies, legislation, and nominations President Trump may propose. I fully understand, without invoking the charge of racial motivations, that Senator McConnell, Representative Paul Ryan, and other leaders of the Republican Party chose to resist almost all policies, legislation, and nominations from President Obama on principle: They believed President Obama was leading the country into directions inimical to the survival of the United States as an independent nation and world leader supporting democratic principles, as well as the legitimate sovereignty and survival of other friendly nations. I definitely do not support categorical opposition to President Trump’s proposals and nominations—especially to the Supreme Court.
Third, my opposition to President Trump’s proposals will be based upon what I consider sound principles and not upon the more unsavory aspects of his personality. We should take advantage of opportunities to educate President Trump and to provide him with meaningful alternatives.
I am encouraged by some of President-elect Trumps proposed nominations, especially to the positions of Secretary of Defense (Retired Marine General James Mattis) and National Security Advisor (Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn). These nominations suggest President-Elect Trump, arguably in contrast to Ms. Clinton and certainly in difference to President Obama, understands a major principle necessary for the survival and independence of the United States: If you wish peace, prepare for war.
We should remember the Biblical imperative that President Lincoln so eloquently enunciated: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Political opposition to President Trump does not in and of itself mean we are a house irreconcilably divided. In this context I offer an important insight often attributed to John Wesley: In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity. Yes, we may well argue about what may be essential and non-essential but charity should prevail. That is, can we give President Trump a chance to succeed for the benefit of the nation?