The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Edgefield Advertiser.
Christmas week in America is usually one full of song, with the most serious question trying to nail down where we are in the Twelve Days (is today “Three Turtle Doves”?). But not this year. This was a momentous week, and in its own way reminded me of a similarly momentous week in June, 2015.
In that week, the President was Barack Obama. There were three major news events. First, that was the week that our state reacted to the Charleston shootings. President Obama was among the mourners at Mother Emanuel Church, and our state reaction was a bipartisan, successful effort finally to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the state capitol grounds. Second, that was the week that the President’s signature legislative achievement, Obamacare, was found by the Supreme Court (in a 5-4 ruling) to be Constitutional. And third, that same week the Supreme Court in another 5-4 ruling concurred with the Episcopal Church (among many others) that marriage was a right all adult Americans have. The choice of partner must be honored throughout the country regardless of whether the couple being married were of the same or of different genders. All three of those were preceded by events beyond the control of President Obama but were goals that in a very real way characterized his presidency: civil rights and the Confederate Battle Flag, medical care for all, and marriage equality. If President Obama were remembered for events of just one week, that would be the week.
Last week may be equally definitive for President Trump. The major news events of this week in December, 2018, were quite different from those of that week in June, 2015. First, there was the announcement that despite unanimous opposition from his military advisors, we will immediately reduce and/or withdraw our military support for our allies in the Middle East. The decision was so sudden and unsupported that the Secretary of Defense saw no option other than resignation from his post. Second, the Supreme Court decided that the Trump administration could not prevent those arriving at our country’s southern border to be processed for asylum. Notwithstanding the wishes of President Trump, the law and our American traditions both say that we will honor and adjudicate any such requests from anyone with a true need for asylum – whether from a foreign government, or an angry mob, or a drug cartel, or an abusive husband. And the third event this week was that the President overruled Congress, both houses having majorities from his own political party, and decided to shut down nine major departments of the federal government because Congress did not provide him with his own definition of sufficient border security funding.
I hope that all readers of The Edgefield Advertiserhave a happy and prosperous 2019. Comparing those two weeks – and the two Presidents those weeks so characteristically described – should have us all on our guard. The year 2019 will be a great one only if we, all of us, work to make it so.
Happy New Year!