OPINION: Don’t make me come up there!

Bill Crane's Opinion Piece for Champion newspaper

“The time is always ripe to do what is right,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
 
Mid-January in America was book-ended by the birthday and national holiday remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the inauguration of a new president, Donald J. Trump.  It should have been a week of outreach and celebration, but it was instead a loud, and far from gentle, reminder of just how divided our nation has become. 

During the first two years of President Barack Obama’s first term, Congressional Democrats enjoyed a substantial majority in both chambers. They changed the rules and the law regarding cabinet confirmations to a simple majority.

The previous and higher standard was closer to that required of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, which require a two-thirds vote for confirmation. Under the Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi majority days for ‘Team Blue’ the law for Senate confirmation was changed to a simple majority vote. That is 51 votes in the U.S. Senate. Currently the GOP holds 52 of the 100 seats, plus controls the tie-breaking vice presidency. Democrats hold 47 seats along with Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who typically caucuses and votes with the Democrats.

 Georgia Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta, 5th District) has every right to speak out or oppose any nomination he chooses. He strongly opposes confirmation of Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. A few days later, Lewis announced that he would not attend the inauguration of President Trump, as he questions the legitimacy of that election.

 Other than Secretary of State Clinton’s huge win in California (popular vote margin of 4 million plus), Trump won more states, thousands more counties and though a healthy number of major cities and MSAs went blue and for Clinton, Trump’s win was decisive— reversing voter trends across the Rust Belt and America’s Heartland—and winning virtually all major battleground states that were won four and eight years previously by Barack Obama.

 Most are probably aware that then President-elect Trump almost instantly reached for his Samsung Galaxy 7 phone and Tweeted criticism of Lewis and his “crime infested” congressional district in another ill-fated attempt at atwitter diplomacy. All that led to a week with a civil rights icon, the president-elect and their respective supporters flocking to social media for another battle royale likely to solve little if anything. The congressman may also choose to again skip this inauguration, as he has done a time or two previously.

 Millions of Americans did not attend Trump’s inauguration. Millions more chose not to watch. A few thousand likely participated in or supported a protest on that day against Trump.

Vladmir Putin seems to be one of only a few public figures who can take actions against the United States and still receive words of encouragement from President Trump. I don’t believe Russia tipped the scales in this last election, but as Trump has built his own image and brand on media rumors as well as routine reporting, he certainly should understand how things look to his critics. 

If nothing else, there is no protocol or tradition that justifies a U.S. president treating a foreign potentate and occasional adversary with greater kindness and respect than a congressman of three decades. And both men should certainly know better than to pick a fight with the other heading into the week of the King holiday and a presidential inauguration.

 Trump, I expect, will continue to respond or fire back at even the slightest of slights, via his small thumbs and Galaxy phone. I hope we don’t experience an international incident, or an act of war before this president fully comprehends the weight and impact of his words.

Or perhaps he will innately begin to later understand as he already seems to get with Russia and Putin, that it’s better to have the bear on your side or at least not viewing you as the enemy, than just continually picking a fight all but guaranteed to bring mutual self-destruction. 

I am reminded of when my younger brother and I were fighting and acting like immature children and loud enough for my parents to hear on another floor of the house. We would be greeted by a booming voice saying, “Don’t make me come down there.” And admittedly, that usually did the trick. 

As going up to Washington and accessing the White House or Congressman Lewis in person may be a bit logistically challenging, my next suggestion for détente and passing the peace pipe instead is vodka shots anyone?
 

Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, Champion Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at bill.csicrane@gmail.com.

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