This week, the nation is seeing a transition of power like it has not witnessed since the Beatles sang about the radical social and political upheavals following the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. In January 1961, no one envisioned the changes our country would experience in less than a decade: reforming civil rights laws, Medicare, a man on the moon, the tragedy of Vietnam, the tyranny of Fidel Castro, campus unrest, the sexual revolution, a new wave of drug and alcohol abuse, and the beginning of the downfall of mainstream religion.
Now, our world is rocked again in ways that none of us can imagine. President Donald Trump is bound by neither the shackles of the Republican or Democratic machines nor will he be bound by the more subtle of American power brokers — political correctness. Many veterans of the political world are wringing their hands, not knowing what to expect. We are entering a revolution, and many will not give up their power without a fight.
Political revolution is not a new phenomenon in America. In fact, Thomas Jefferson reflected on it shortly after our Revolutionary War as America laid its political foundation: "I hold that a little revolution now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." A bit more unnerving, Jefferson also wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
The 1960s saw a cultural revolution as well as a political revolution. President Kennedy entered office with a wave of optimism widely heralded by an adoring media. His economic agenda promised, "A rising tide lifts all boats."
His follower, Lyndon Johnson, haplessly tried to continue with his liberal "Great Society" programs, designed not to elevate dignity and self-respect, but to buy liberal votes. We've been descending into the chaotic swamp of big government since.
In 2016, President Trump announced he intends to drain that swamp. Much of the country is behind him, and for good reason. His economic policies focus on creating meaningful work for all Americans within our borders. His federal judicial picks are constitutionalists, not social reformers. His military will focus once again on defending this great nation, not building other nations into clones of ourselves. His cabinet choices promise an era when leaders will act with reason, not only feeling. His use of social media to get his unfiltered message to Americans is breaking the stranglehold of big media.
However, dark clouds are on the horizon as angry liberals of every ilk are sharpening their knives. For instance, Congressmen John Lewis and others who rode the coattails of great men like Dr. Martin Luther King for 50 years are challenged because Trump is determined to make real improvements in schools, housing, and job opportunities instead of paying lip service to problems in black communities to gain support for a particular party. They refuse to accept his presidency as legitimate. Could this be another "little revolution"?
However, there is good news. A Creator far greater than us is in charge — one who sees with clarity. His words tell us many things about the current time, but perhaps most significantly, "I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink But seek first his kingdom, and all those things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6)
Sixty years ago, America began a revolution that led our country to look for answers everywhere. Perhaps, in this unstable time, he is leading our nation back to him. Trump is an unlikely man to do that, but throughout the Bible, God used unlikely people. It appears he may surprise us again. What a great time to be alive!
Roger Smith, a local author, is a frequent contributor to the Times Free Press.