Yesterday I tweeted the following:
I strongly believe there is a right & a wrong way to become/be successful. Our president-elect could be the poster boy for the wrong way.— Kevin Marshall (@falicon) January 19, 2017
Today, that statement changes from “President-elect” to “President”…and though I’m still disappointed in the American public for having voted us into this mess, I’m not ready to completely panic.
Before I go on, I should also make it clear that my disappointment is not about republican vs. democrat or liberal vs. conservative. My reality is that I’ve got views on both sides depending on the issue in question and if push-comes-to-shove I officially identify myself as ‘independent with libertarian tendencies’ (which gives almost everyone a reason to disagree with my opinions).
No - my disappointment is about the fact that Trump is a bully who appears to care about his reputation above all else (and yes that means above our country & YOUR well being), and he appears to surround himself with only those that meticulously cater to that insecurity. It’s the Steve Jobs reality distortion field without any of the great products or results!
1. I have to believe that not *all* of his policy ideas will be horrible. In fact, I think *some* might even be OK (at least in the short term - who knows about the long term).
However, the honest truth is that I think it’s going to be hard for him to execute on almost everything.
Partially because I don’t think he has the true passion to fight for any specifics or details on any issues…but also largely because the coin has now flipped and I believe the Democrats are going to do everything they can to run out the clock on everything they possibly can.
This is incredibly dangerous because both parties have used the checks-and-balances system to undermine each other more than to do “what’s right for the country and it’s citizens”…and if Trump finds it difficult to get his agenda items pushed through, there’s going to be a more-than-reasonable chance Trump will use this reality to eliminate at least some of the checks-and-balances (and ultimately grow his power).
2. We all have to stand up for the press (and each other).
A large part of this is going to come down simply ignoring the hype, the rants, and mis-directions. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because it’s not what you want it to be, doesn’t mean it’s fake news. Facts actually do exist, and they actually do matter.
Let’s all use some common sense to realize that there’s almost always more to every story than we, the general public, really know about. We should take both sides with a grain of salt, and maybe try to research the facts on our own a bit for those things we *really* care about.
Back room deals, kickbacks, and other shady tactics make a lot of sense in the real estate and development, gambling, and probably even the beauty pageant businesses. Heck they probably even make some sense for many political positions, but not for the most public political (and scrutinized) position in the world. Not for the President of the United States.
And while I’m on the subject, it’s clear that the thing Trump wants most (even above actual success) is our attention and admiration. Knowing this is our bit of leverage, and we should use it wisely.
We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the shiny object that is his latest rant or Tweetstorm. We need to stay focused on the big picture stuff and we have to hold (all of) government accountable for their decisions and actions.
Laws and policies can be changed as our nation moves on and leadership changes, but only if we continue to protect our right to openly report, research, and debate ALL topics. For the free press to be able to do it’s work. Don’t turn a blind eye and let these rights and freedoms slowly be bullied out of us.
3. Love or hate him, appreciate or detest the way he’s done it, you have to admit he’s been successful.
I believe one of the secrets to Trump’s success has been that he (wisely) hedges his big bets. He sets up holding companies that can simply be killed off (usually through bankruptcy) without really effecting his other holdings. It’s frustrating for all the people connected to the ones that fail, but from a big picture view (and the win-at-any cost view of success) it’s smart business.
However, this isn’t one of those projects he can hedge. He can’t allow this one to fail.
I don’t know how he’ll handle that pressure (I think he’ll hate it), what he’ll actually accomplish (I suspect very little), or what kind of legacy he will build for himself throughout all of this (who knows)…but I do know one way or another it will be historic, and that we are ALL in it now.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
If you have comments, thoughts, or want to respond to something you see here I would encourage you to respond via a post on your own blog (and then let me know about the link via one of the routes mentioned above).