By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report
I watched an inauguration today for the first time since I watched one from a classroom at LaFollette High School in Madison, Wis., Jan 20, 1977, as Jimmy Carter was being sworn in as president. It may surprise many that I actually campaigned for Mr. Carter during back when I was an impressionable teenager.
It’s truly incredible that the United States has such a peaceful transition of power from one administration to the other. The pomp and ceremony was impressive, and I’m glad I took the time to witness this moment in history.
Yes, the victor lost the popular vote by millions. Yes, it was an unusually bitter and dysfunctional campaign. Yes, the nation remains as deeply polarized today as it did 20 years ago, if not more so. But, I can’t help but feel optimistic that things are going to change for the better.
Politicians eloquently speak out of both sides of their mouth so well that they seem to be professional ventriloquists — and we’re the dummies. Trump is no politician.
When completing my college degree back in 1992, when I minored in public administration, I remember getting into several arguments with my professors by advocating that a business person — not a politician — should run the country. I was told my thinking was foolish, that a government couldn’t be run like a company, and that a president must “play politics” rather than dictate how things are done.
Well, my dream came true at noon today. We have a “bigly” successful businessman at the helm, and I am confident that Trump not only has the personality to challenge an embedded bureaucracy, but also the negotiation skills to bring everybody to the table and hammer out genuine solutions for longstanding problems.
Things must change! As a nation, we cannot continue to rack up debt the way we have for generations. We cannot afford to be the “Bank of America” and give money to every nation in the world, while our own infrastructure is falling down. We cannot continue to fund hyper-growing social programs at the same time we allow our well-paying jobs to evaporate.
Anyone who has ever found himself or herself in a serious financial predicament knows that you can only keep paying for lifestyle on a credit card for so long. Eventually, the credit runs out and all that is left is payments, which consist of mostly interest. As a nation, we’re there. Look at the huge percentage of government spending directed at entitlement programs.
We have major problems that need solving right here in America. Yet, for years, we have heard promise after promise from professional politicians. Talk is cheap — and it’s even cheaper when its not accompanied by real action.
Our education system is failing our students from elementary school to college. People leaving high schools are ill-prepared to contribute as working members of society, so they go to college. And colleges are absolutely broken beyond hope in preparing 20-somethings for the working world.
Then, when they finally graduate from college, they are stifled by monstrous student loans exceeding $100,000 while working for less than $30,000 per year. Student loan payments are often larger than mortgages, meaning the graduates will never be out of debt and able to afford homes of their own, let alone recreation vehicles.
Our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. But, rather than borrowing money to fix them, we borrow money to pay people to sit at home or allow them to bide their time in low paying jobs with limited avenues for long-term success.
We’ve turned our military and all our nation’s great institutions into laboratories for social experimentation. We’re a nation paralyzed by political correctness where children demand safe-spaces from being challenged by anything that threatens the indoctrination they received in schools.
Businesses must navigate through a literal sea of regulations — not many voted on by elected officials, but rather imposed by unaccountable bureaucrats. Government tells companies large and small how to spend money so well that businesses have little money, or incentive, left to grow.
We have a professional class of elite politicians who resist any type of reforms to limit their power, like term limits or tying their pay to their performance. While term limits would ensure a constant flow of new people and ideas into government, our elites resist any change that could dislodge them from their comfortable positions of power.
Will someone someday explain how a person of modest means can get elected to Congress, earn $174,000 per year — middle class for Washington, D.C. — and be worth millions just a few years later.
I don’t like everything Donald Trump has said or what he believes in, but I have got to think America has been given a final chance to turn itself around and become, once again, the “shining city on the hill,” as Ronald Reagan described it 28 years ago today. Maybe, America can once again become a source of hope and inspiration to not only it’s citizens, but to people around the world.
I was speaking with a friend earlier today who poignantly noted that if Trump can’t turn America around, the country will never turn around. Trump doesn’t play by traditional rules, which means he’s likely to shake up the establishment and get things done. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that real change is coming to America and we’ll all be better off in the long run.