For eight years, I watched a political party come apart at its seams as its members sought to oppose and criticize everything said or done by a President. As bad as it was from the leadership ranks of that party, it was even worse in the fever swamp of blogs inhabiting that party’s side of the political debate.
If you are a Democrat or a liberal or a progressive, imagine all of the worst things you think about President Trump and Republicans — they lie, they manipulate, they don’t care about America, they’re in the Russians’ pockets, etc. — and all of that was being said about President Obama and Democrats for the eight years of Obama’s Presidency. Relentless and endless and no quarter given. The Republican Party was taken over entirely by its right wing fanatics who refused to give an inch and who treated every single thing Obama did as an act of war on America.
I refuse to be that kind of Democrat or liberal. As much as I cannot stand Trump and his policies and his way of doing things. As much as I may think he is utterly unprepared and unqualified for the position he now holds. As much as I fear what he will do to this country, and hell, what he already is doing. As much as all of that. I will support him when I think he is right. Lockstep opposition from our side of the debate is no better than the lockstep opposition Obama faced during his eight years.
At least for one moment, I agree with Trump’s strike on the Syrian airfield following the latest use of chemical weapons by Assad against his people. Yes, there are all sorts of reasons to question the legitimacy or rationale of the attack. Maybe he’s doing it to distract from the whole Russia thing. Maybe not. Maybe the attack is a meaningless gesture. Maybe not. Maybe it is a signal that we are going to be drawn into a greater role and ultimately go back to war in the Middle East. Maybe not.
All I know, is that for at least that one moment, we did something to signal to Assad that his butchery and treachery has gone too far. Here is what I wrote on FB the other evening:
This may come as a shock to my friends here on FB, but I applaud President Trump for his statement tonight and his measured action in response to the most recent chemical attack in Syria. There is a lot to be critical of the man, but I also think we should be honest where he gets something right. Or at least as right as it can be. Syria is a mess. But there comes a point when responsible nations have to do something about the horror a government inflicts on its own people. I worry that we’ll get sucked into something that will only be worse. I worry about this particular President’s ability to stay rational and measured. But right now, I feel like he did the right thing. Limited, measured, and relevant. His short statement tonight included some elements I have problems with, but it may well have been the most Presidential thing he has done.
25 years ago I silently screamed for the world to do something about the slaughter going on in the former Yugoslavia. When we finally did, we actually ended the slaughter. That’s what needs to be done now in Syria. It’s what needed to be done a few years ago. It’s a horrible, difficult situation. I waver between my isolationist tendencies and desire that America no longer be the world’s policeman and the recognition that we have such immense power to put a stop to these types of things. I don’t want American lives to be lost. I don’t want any lives to be lost. I tire of paying the price of the world’s wars. But some things just may be worth the cost. The tragedy unfolding in Syria may be one of those times when it is time for us to bear a cost.
If we are unwilling to do something about the particular evil that Assad represents, then we are a failure as far as I’m concerned. There are plenty of risks at play here, but when it comes to evil, sometimes you have to take a risk.
I will continue to keep an open mind and question everything Trump says and does, but when he gets something right, which I believe he did here, I refuse to do what the Republicans did to Obama. I will not be that kind of Democrat.