My New Year’s resolution this year was simple:
Forget the annual pledges to eat less, exercise more. Toss out the promise to clean my closets or to finally read “Ulysses.”
In the aftermath of an election that left me depressed as no election ever had before, I needed something more basic: a positive outlook that, despite my fear that we have elected a man unfit to lead, the nation will be fine.
I didn’t even make it to New Year’s Day.
I broke that resolution the minute Donald Trump tweeted on New Year’s Eve.
It was 140 characters of what should have been a message seeking to unite a deeply divided nation but instead showed the next president of the United States—once more—to be a thin-skinned narcissist.
“Happy New Year to all,” he began (so far so good), before deciding to trash more than half the nation by adding “including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
Those would be Americans, the 54 percent of Americans who voted for someone else to occupy the White House.
Being politically opposed to someone does not make one an enemy.
In 2008, Republican congressional leaders vowed, even before Barack Obama was sworn in as president, to do whatever they could to ensure he failed.
It was appalling.
America succeeds when its president succeeds.
So I want President Trump to succeed. I want him to prove me wrong. I want jobs to grow, salaries to increase, peace to flourish, terrorism to be crushed and a cure for the common cold to be found.
But every day I open my Twitter account to another barrage which makes me question all over again whether a man who uses Twitter to label opponents enemies, to belittle U.S. intelligence agencies while praising a Russian dictator, and to lie about facts easily checked has what it takes to get the nation through January, much less four years.
We don’t need a “Tweeter-in-Chief.”
Thoughtful policy cannot be blasted out 140 characters at a time. But 140 characters might be all that is needed to cause stocks to plunge, allies to question us, and enemies—the real ones—to take up arms.
It has left the news media in a constant struggle to divine just what the heck he is saying and whether he really means it. He tweets that he will release inside info on the Russian interference in the election, then does nothing. He tweets that an intelligence briefing on that interference was postponed, adding “very strange!” as if some conspiracy were afoot. Reporters subsequently learn the briefing was always scheduled for the later date. He weighs in on the House GOP’s stupid attempt to gut ethics oversight—and in the first wave of news reports only some in the media seem to notice he is questioning the timing, not the effort itself.
This isn’t presidential; this isn’t normal.
My New Year’s resolution for you, President-elect Trump, would be that you grow up and use your Twitter account to encourage and enlighten, and to think long and hard before hitting “tweet.” (I’m as optimistic that you will keep that resolution as I am that I will clean my closets.)
My New Year’s resolution for me, though, is that I keep hoping you will.•