After Donald Trump becomes president Friday, what do you think happens?The dawn of an era of American greatness? The advent of annihilation?
I'm a skeptic. I tend to view people and events never as good or bad as expected or portrayed.
I see wild extrapolation in politics, so common these days, as exercises in extremism.
President Obama, for example, was never an anti-American racist out to get everyone's guns while imposing Sharia law.
President-elect Trump isn't some recast version of Hitler seeking to rid the nation of all but white, wealthy, or beautiful people.
So I wait to see what's to come with more curiosity than trepidation.
And while waiting, I dismiss the sore-losing, doom-saying of so many Democrats; And the blind-eyed, ever-distracted arrogance of Trump.
Please, D's, please stop telling us how the election was stolen by Vladimir Putin, James Comey, or both, and how many people now will die.
Please, Trumpster, please stop saying (or tweeting) how terrific and amazing everything will be. And leave off fighting with Saturday Night Live. It's a comedy show!
We are a nation of greatness and woes, a double-helix of progress and problems, so many of the latter linked to racial, gender, educational, and economic injustice.
If the focus forward is a past election, exaggerated expectations or meaningless squabbles with entertainers, then our leaders have given up on issues impacting every-day America, and chosen politics and frivolity over public service.
And as to he who takes the oath of office Friday?
Let's listen to that inaugural address. Let's hear what he has to say.
Not that it matters. Despite the inordinate attention his words will receive, words are devalued when a candidate, then president-elect endlessly tweets what words he wishes — no matter their veracity.
Just last week: "I never mocked" a disabled New York Times reporter, despite video to the contrary. The week before: "Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results." This despite the National Intelligence Council report: "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election."
But, hey, we're conditioned to ignore what we disagree with and believe only what we chose.
I'd cite some polls, but who anymore believes polls?
Besides, I'm far more interested in what's done than what's said.
I'm curious to see how a real estate empire-builder (and his daughter) runs a country.
I'm curious to see how someone who demeans all who challenge him, from war hero John McCain to civil rights hero John Lewis, brings a citizenry split by ideology, race, and income together.
I'm anxious to learn what happens in Washington's "swamp," where special interests routinely shape policy through political contributions, then give $90 million to $100 million for inaugural events.
And here's something I'm most curious about: What happens if and when government is trimmed to its necessary nub?
Will we find bureaucracy is indeed a redundant relic we've overpaid for since FDR used it to help end the Great Depression?
If whole departments — I'm looking at you Energy, Education, and oops, I know there's a third — are erased, will we see societal suffering or just tax savings?
I'd note that in the same year Ringling Brothers Circus, "The Greatest Show on Earth," is closing, Donald Trump is opening his greatest show to date.
It's easy to suggest one circus replaces another. It's tempting to make reference to clowns. It's just that for Washington that wouldn't be new.
So I'm just betting what happens next won't be as bad as so many fear or as good as so many others expect.