Friday, November 25, 2016

Free Speech Is The Least Of President-Elect Trump's Problems Ahead

When I was on Twitter recently I saw the tweet below from President-elect's Twitter page:

Followed shortly by the two Tweets below:


and Saturday Night Live back in full swing with a President-elect Trump impression:

These Tweets seem to suggest a disturbing pattern of the incoming President-elect.  The reason is that the implication is that the leader of the free world is more concerned about personal image rather than upholding very important issues like those of science and policy.  Below are a few remarks about worries and concerns.

Image Alert...Threat Detected!!

As I showed above, the images of the Tweet suggest that we are approaching a disturbing future.  I am usually quite optimistic and still am.  Which is why I chose to write this short blog post to remind the public and President-elect Trump  personal image is 'trumped' by important scientific issues.

One main issue is freedom of speech.  Regardless of whether we are discussing the issue in relation to science or personal belief.  America was founded on the idea of values such as 'free speech' and 'equality.'  We have come quite a ways.  During that evolution, the United States has emerged as the leader of the free world -- i.e. the most developed world.  That is not being pompous in any manner.  We are leading the ways in many ways.  We have obligations based on the infrastructure that we have built up over the generations.

At the same time, we have obligations to keep the momentum going.  At this point, you are probably wondering why I bring all of this up?  Especially, since the news has been broadcasting everything I just wrote about on HIGH VOLUME the last few weeks.  Well, let me explain.

The President of the United States has the 'highest visibility' of any world leader.  World leader folks -- yes World Leader - wow!  With that responsibility comes the 'limelight' -- lots of press.  If we have a President-elect worried about a newspaper reporting ('The New York Times') about the troubles emerging during a transition, then so be it.  That is the reality.  That is their job.  Their job is not to cater to the President-elect to make his image look great.

Recently, the newspaper 'The New York Times' ran the article titled "Firings and Discord Put Trump Transition Team in a State of Disarray" about the halt of the transition team for President-elect Trump.  The article discussed the upset of the progress with all of the 'wish-wash' behavior centered around the indecision of the Trump team.  But the most important information contained in the article is near the end:

In another delay, Mr. Pence did not sign legally required paperwork to allow his team to begin collaborating with Mr. Obama’s aides until Tuesday evening, a transition spokesman said. Mr. Christie on Election Day signed a memorandum of understanding to put the process into motion as soon as the outcome was determined, but once he was ousted from the job, Mr. Pence had to sign a new agreement.

The paperwork serves as a nondisclosure agreement for both sides, ensuring that members of the president-elect’s team do not divulge information about the inner workings of the government.

Teams throughout the federal government that have prepared briefing materials and reports for the incoming president’s team are on standby, waiting to begin passing the information to counterparts on Mr. Trump’s staff.

As of Tuesday afternoon, officials at key agencies including the Justice and Defense Departments said they had received no contact from the president-elect’s team.

In business, the process of hiring and firing is frequent and fine.  When you are dealing with the speed of the government, the firing of an individual (team chief) can bring the process to a halt.  After reading this, excerpt, I was thinking about the first few weeks of previous President's-elect.

Did the same problems happen?

Did previous teams have these issues?

Surely, the process of hiring over 4,000 positions cannot be easy and swift?

This does not excuse the President-elect's behavior of focusing on his image so early instead of critical needs -- like transitioning quickly to get ready to run the nation.

On a slightly different note, the choice of working out of 'Trump Tower' in Manhattan has caused a stir too.  In a different article from 'The Times' titled "With Trump Using Tower as Base, Fifth Avenue Grinds to a Halt" customers of the store 'Gucci' inside his building were frustrated with him already:

“I had to be questioned by three different police officers just to get into this store,” said Ms. Hendrickson, 47, who was visiting from South Orange, N.J., the Sylvie at last in her hand. As she mused on Mr. Trump’s being garrisoned in his penthouse apartment, she wondered why he was not preparing in Washington. “This isn’t a Monday-Friday job,” she said. “This is a very serious job, and you need to spend time in the White House.”

From the first read, the stories are making President-elect Trump out to appear not prepared to make large decisions.  But that is not the case at all.  Holding the highest office in the world requires a person to grow 'thick skin'.  This job will bring strong opposition with tough decisions.  At this point, President-elect Trump appears to be having great difficulty.  Just wait until after the inauguration!

With the Tweets above regarding his image and the ability of 'The New York Times' reporting about critical issues that affect our nation, the time has come for him to concentrate on real issues.  Parading his possible candidates around does not build confidence in the nation in regard to solving critical problems that plague the nation and the world at large.

Science Alert -- Trump Possibly Switching Positions!

On a different note but related to image, over the last couple of weeks, President-elect Trump has eased back on his radical opposition positions toward the direction of the nation over the next few years.  During his campaign, he stated in different ways that he was not a large believer in 'climate change'.   Moreover, that he would divert funding from one direction (climate change regulation) toward another (helping the nation - however that is defined?).  Remember my blog posts a couple of weeks ago -- here and here -- on issues from scientists and the research world -- worth reading.  Recent statements have started to change those views  for the better of science -- I believe.

In an interview a couple of days ago with 'The New York Times,' he changed directions as indicated in the following excerpts below:

Climate Change - Pulling out of the Paris Agreements:

On climate change, Mr. Trump refused to repeat his promise to abandon the international climate accord reached last year in Paris, saying, “I’m looking at it very closely.” Despite the recent appointment to his transition team of a fierce critic of the Paris accords, Mr. Trump said that “I have an open mind to it” and that clean air and “crystal clear water” were vitally important.

This is encouraging since his previous position was against the Paris agreement.  Sounds like he is coming around to understand that the wide range of issues that he believes to be able to tackle in a 4 year period are unattainable.  He is coming back to Earth -- slowly:

He displayed a jumble of impulses, many of them conflicting. He was magnanimous toward Mrs. Clinton, but boastful about his victory. He was open-minded about some of his positions, uncompromising about others.

The interview demonstrated the volatility in Mr. Trump’s positions.

He said he had no interest in pressing for Mrs. Clinton’s prosecution over her use of a private email server or for financial acts committed by the Clinton Foundation. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” he said.

The statement is encouraging for progress ahead.  I like to see that he is open-minded, but wary of oscillating on issues.  The saving grace might be embedded in the fact that he is concerned about his image.  The image conscience might save the nation.  As I wrote on Veteran's Day, I believe that the President-elect has the opportunity to help the nation by helping veterans.  Furthermore, by helping veterans, tough issues like homelessness and mental health issues will be solved.  I still hold that hope of his success in dealing with these two critical issues.

I chose to write this blog for the purpose of bringing to light the obvious:

President-elect Trump should be concerned with issues that plague the nation and the world at large rather than be concerned about his image.  Sure, having a good rapport with the nation is good.  Although, getting the job done is more important.

Choosing to shame the nation on issues of free speech is not a useful use of his transition plan.
 President-elect should not be speaking his opinion on such matters like the actors who exercised their 'free speech' last Saturday night.  Here is the Tweet from his Twitter feed:

Do you want a President who is concerned about his image on Saturday Night Live?

The United States was built on values as I mentioned earlier.  Values like "freedom of speech" or "equality."  Here is what the cast of the New York City Play 'Hamilton' had to say to a visiting audience member -- Vice President-elect Mike Pence last Saturday Night:

“You know, we have a guest in the audience this evening,” he said to audience laughter. “And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out.”
As he pulled a small piece of paper from his pocket, Dixon encouraged people to record and share what he was about to say “because this message needs to be spread far and wide.”

There was 'boo-ing' in between the introduction and the message which is below:

“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”

Can you fault the actors taking the opportunity to express their concern to the incoming Vice President of the United States? 


Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you reside, science should be a high priority.  As a nation, we should hold our political officials accountable to make our priorities first rather than second.  Each of us has a responsibility to speak out and share our views and concerns.  The office of the President of the United States is currently under a transition.  Hopefully, the outcome of the transition is a nation with a sense of change and purpose to save the world and planet Earth.

So far, there is concern with the turmoil surrounding the President-elect Trump and his image.  Lets put the issues that confront us as a nation first and image second.  Tough actions (climate change that is not favorable) take tough decisions.  We rely on our politicians to stand up and stand firm for our values.  Even in the face of opposition -- which might result in a few (thousands or million) unfavorable Tweets or Social Media posts.

We should focus on the issues that will help society.  Research and development is crucial to growth as a nation.  Lets focus our attention on growth rather than image.

Until next time, Have a great day!

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