With the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States set to take place today, a Gallup poll points to Donald Trump’s approval ratings standing at 40 per cent, the lowest ever for any incoming president. Protests and agitations on the day of the inauguration have been organised. But such protests are not new in the history of inaugurations of US presidents.
President Obama, who has the highest ever approval ratings for an outgoing President, had pro-Israel protesters with placards reading ‘God hates Obama’ and ‘America is Doomed’ during his first inauguration back in 2008. They were fierce, they were nasty, but nothing compared to the protesters who gathered to agitate against W’s inauguration. ‘Hail to the Thief ’ placards were bobbing in a direct reference to the way the Supreme Court handed the presidency to Bush in 2002.
‘Not our President’ placards surfaced during both his inaugurations. Placards reading ‘Dick and Bush’ and ‘George Wanker Bush’ induced a number of parents to turn their children’s eyes the other way. Although the protests organised for the inauguration of Trump are unprecedented and despite the naysayers forecasting gloom under a Trump Presidency, it might be prudent to hold back one’s judgement and wait to see how Trump’s ‘insane’ policies pan out before spelling doom for the world at large. After all, when one observed him after he was declared the winner, he did not seem as if he was like the dog, who upon chasing the car, actually catches it but does not know what its next move will be.
On the contrary, Trump continues to tweet blissfully and has invited former Taiwan government officials to his inauguration (proving that his taking the Taiwan president’s call was no serendipitous act). Many of his actions seem bizarre but they may well be part of a grand plan in a complex chess game. Just like Reagan did not take the Berlin Wall for granted, Trump does not see the One China Policy as cast in stone.
And though his remarks against Muslims and Mexicans seem racist, he is voicing the often unspoken concerns of a sizeable chunk of America. Islam is a religion of peace but if there are Muslims intent on destroying the lifestyle of the free, then how does one differentiate between good Muslims and fundamentalists who act on the authority of the Quran? Over time, with the checks and balances inherent in the US system, Trump will, hopefully, strike a balance between what is sane and what is insane. And in the process leave a more just world behind. At least that is the optimist speaking.