woody zimmermann 120This probably won’t be the most intellectual piece you’ll ever read, so if you’re into that genre, you might want to move on. Media-coverage of the inauguration and first days of the Trump administration have been either deadly serious or trivial beyond the usual meaning of the word – e.g., extensive arguments over whether the crowd at Mr. Trump’s ceremony was bigger (or smaller) than the crowd at Mr. Obama’s swearing-in. (Really, could we get a grip, here? What about Mrs. Obama’s grim face during the proceedings?)

There are serious questions about when Mr. Trump can have his cabinet-choices confirmed (if at all), and which thorny campaign-promise he will tackle first. Most of those are real lulus, so speculation is rife on which will be attempted first, or whether they can be achieved. I read a very erudite article by John Mauldin on the Trump-transition: “Thoughts from the Frontline – What I Learned in Washington” (January 22, 2017). Among many sage observations, he indicates that detailed revision-plans have been constructed for some thirty federal departments – none of them drawn up just over the last two months. All have obviously been under development for some time in various think-tanks, waiting for implementation by the right president.

In this column, I don’t plan to join the speculation game. I lack inside information or expertise in any particular departments of government, and I see little value in uninformed guesswork. I’m not a chicken, either, so I can’t lay an egg. But I can tell if one is fresh or rotten. Just so, in line with this column’s general modus operandi, we’ll keep an eye on what’s happening, and try to assess Mr. Trump’s moves honestly and fairly. This won’t be our sole focus, however. We’ll sometimes take a lighter, less-traveled path that keeps us all from getting too serious. In that spirit I offer reflections on events in the Inauguration, as well as some (possible) results.

Inaugural Address. One pundit theorized that right up until Mr. Trump’s inaugural speech, establishment types on both sides of the political aisle had believed this would be the moment when he finally dumped his campaign rhetoric, moved to the “center,” and became one of them. The writer thought most of the media believed it too. (Isn’t it what presidents always do?) But it didn’t happen. Instead of a speech full of vague, soaring “ask not what your country can do for you” rhetoric, Mr. Trump gave a short speech summarizing how “we” would restore America to economic and military greatness – thus reassuring the folks who had elected him (and were thronging the Mall) that he had no intention of “going along to get along.” His remarks were an exclamation point on his promises throughout the campaign. He went light on the immigration issue – omitting any mention of “the Wall” – but concentrated on restoring the country to a sound economic, social and military footing. Analysts noted that he seldom used the pronoun “I,” but stuck with the collective “we” to emphasize that we were all in this together. It was a dash of cold water for critics who have been in denial about Mr. Trump for eighteen months, and a “shout-out” to those who believed him and put him in office.

Prayer Service. My own informal poll indicates that many people were unaware of the Inaugural Prayer Service that was held in the National Cathedral at 10:00 on Saturday morning. (Perhaps too many were tripping the light fantastic at inauguration celebrations into the wee hours.) We didn’t know about it, either, but accidentally discovered the live telecast on Fox News and C-span. It was a most impressive and uplifting event – particularly for people of faith. It featured performed music and congregational singing – including several great old hymns (Great is thy Faithfulness, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, The National Anthem, America the Beautiful) – and various readings, blessings and prayers offered by a collection of religious figures: a Jewish rabbi and cantor, Catholic and Greek Orthodox and Buddhist clerics, a B’hai cleric, a Navajo Nation member, a Hózhó representative, a Muslim imam, a Sikh, several evangelical pastors, three Episcopal clerics, a Mormon pastor, a granddaughter of The Rev. Billy Graham, and a niece of Martin Luther King. (Apologies for any omissions.) The rabbi, the cantor, the Buddhist, the imam and the Sikh read in Hebrew and other languages that few congregants knew. (English subtitles were not provided on the TV, but the printed program contained English translations of all presentations. Only the Sikh orally translated his remarks into English so listeners could understand them.) Christian pastors read from the Scriptures and prayed “in Jesus’ name.” The Navy Sea Chanters, the Holy Comforter Saint Cyprian Roman Catholic Church Choir, the Liberty University Praise and the Cathedral Choir sang some beautiful anthems, and a young woman gave a wonderful rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” John Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” was especially stirring. [1]

Thanking the Clintons. The media praised Mr. Trump for his “statesman-like” and “gentlemanly” recognition of Bill and Hillary Clinton at the Inauguration luncheon. No commentators, pundits and reporters mentioned the obvious, however: i.e., that Mr.
Trump had every reason to thank Mrs. Clinton, as she was a primary reason that he won the election. Had a less-flawed, more personally attractive Democrat with fresh ideas and a compelling vision for the future been his opponent, Mr. Trump might not have prevailed. One commentator said the Obama-Clinton team had essentially produced the Trump-candidacy. Ultimately, the independent center wouldn’t accept Mrs. Clinton, so they moved Mr. Trump’s way in the stretch run. He was (as Mr. Peabody famously said) the “lesser of two weevils.”

Liberation. I can’t verify this report, but I have it on good authority that spontaneous celebrations broke out in school cafeterias all across the country, at noon of Inauguration Day when Mr. Trump officially became president. Students were jubilant over the end of the unappetizing food dictated by Mrs. Obama in her campaign to make school lunches “healthy.” Students abandoned helpings of arugula, broccoli, beans and gruel, and pigged-out on pizzas they had ordered via cell-phone that morning. Raucous renditions of the Hallelujah Chorus and the old civil-rights anthem, “Free at last! Free at last!” rang out, as the much-hated “healthy lunch” program went into the dumpster.

Why Didn’t They Vote? Observing the throngs of women demonstrating in Washington on January 21st, Mr. Trump reportedly asked, “Why didn’t they vote?” The short answer, I suggest, is that they probably did, but not for him, which was why they were out there waving signs, yelling about “restoring women’s rights,” and shouting vulgar epithets that would make a sailor blush. Pro-life women of both parties were allegedly blocked from participating in the march. And reports are now emerging that trans-gender men who identify as women are complaining that they were also excluded. One radio-commentator asked, “If women’s rights need to be restored, who took them away?” Hmmm…

Unmentioned benefit. Although the media have (understandably) not mentioned it, millions of men across the country are undoubtedly thanking a kind Providence that instead of having to watch (and listen to) Hillary Clinton on TV for the next 4 years, they’ll be treated to frequent glimpses of the divine Melania Trump. Realizing the boffo impression she would make on voters, Clinton-leaning media kept their cameras away from Mrs. Trump as much as possible during the campaign. But at the Inaugural festivities there was no way to avoid showing her. Wearing a beautiful light-blue suit, she was truly smashing. Millions of viewers must have gasped – as this old guy certainly did – at her stunning, Grace Kelly-like beauty and modest deportment. She didn’t try to steal the show. A woman that beautiful doesn’t have to do anything to make an impression. She just needs to be there. (If nothing else, Mr. Trump definitely has good taste.)

Media anxiety. In Mr. Mauldin’s report (mentioned earlier), he said the media have tried to depict the Trump-transition as being in “complete disarray” – adding that this notion is entirely false. My observation, for what it’s worth, is that the media are both impatient and worried. Being generally opposed to the Trump-presidency, from day one, they are impatient for the “fun” to start: i.e., launching heavy attacks on his proposals and actions. They will lay down withering rhetorical fire on every one of Mr. Trump’s moves, hoping (against hope) to cripple and derail his program. Of course, this didn’t work during the campaign, but this time they’re really serious. By thunder, he’s got to be stopped. (Haven’t we heard that song before?) What really keeps media-moguls awake at night, though, is the nightmare that their arch-enemy might actually succeed, despite their best efforts. (How will they explain this to George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas, the Hollywood glitterati, and all the Lords Temporal of the Democrat Party?)

Casualties. I predict that over the next four years we’ll see the careers of some media figures and politicos crash like biplanes shot down in the Great War. Mr. Trump may have no political experience, but he isn’t playing by the old rules and he does know how to get things done. Stay tuned. This could be better than the old Saturday matinees.

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[1] See video of the Prayer Service at http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2017/01/watch-presidential-inaugural-prayer-service-january-21-2017-10am-et/

And the service-program at  http://www.conservativedailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Inaugural-Prayer-Service-2017.pdf