The inauguration of Donald J. Trump has inspired more controversy than any changing of the guard in our lifetime – the inevitable culmination of the most extraordinary political movement in modern American history. More than 50 congressional Democrats boycotted the ceremony. Protests are swelling all over Washington and the rest of the country. The media feeds us one bad story after another. Whether you love Trump or hate him, you can’t ignore the feeling that we’re about to step into a new and uncertain era of change.
Though many of Trump’s supporters are loathe to admit it, many of us are watching this unfold with a wary eye. Yes, most of our attention is on his deranged legion of detractors, wondering how our country can possibly come back to greatness in the midst of all this insanity. When the president is regularly compared to Adolf Hitler, what sort of reasonable political discussion can we have?
The left’s rabid opposition to Trump has a tendency to harden our own position. Oh, you say he’ll be the worst president in history? We say he’ll be the best! You say he’s a Russian plant? We say Putin is a better president than Obama! You say he’s a racist? We say that you’re the racists! And on and on.
But if we’re really being honest with ourselves, we have concerns of our own about the man ascending to the White House. His tendency to get bogged down in mini-feuds with Broadway actors and Saturday Night Live performers isn’t helpful. His inexperience could make him susceptible to bad advice from Washington insiders who don’t have his best interests at heart. And questions about his business empire and the conflicts of interest therein, while exaggerated by a hostile media, are not entirely moot.
For conservatives, the concerns go deeper. Trump’s position on Russia, his remarks on healthcare, and his stance on free trade are just a few of the areas where he is well outside the Republican mainstream. It remains to be seen how these issues play out, but we can’t blame any conservatives who feel discouraged.
Let us not forget, though, that the alternative was Hillary Clinton.
Putting all of our eggs in the Trump basket was always a risk. We went with the guy who seemed like he might actually change things in Washington. The guy who could stand up to the liberal media. The guy who could potentially expand the party in ways that a Ted Cruz never could. The guy who actually brought real excitement back to Republican politics for the first time in a generation.
Real change requires that kind of risk. Real change requires controversy.
Our country was forged by men who were not afraid of an uncertain future.
Let us embrace what comes with that spirit.