There is a poignant kind of sadness that we all recognize as we grow old.
It is the heartbreak of not being able to see to a successful finish the worthy projects we started.
It is this sense of loss that we can all recognize in President Trump right now.
Perhaps the 45th president of the United States of America can find solace in some words of wisdom from the very first president, George Washington.
In a letter to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in 1797, Washington penned his post-retirement view of public affairs:
“I am now seated in the shade of my Vine and Fig tree, and altho’ I look with regret on many transactions which do not comport with my ideas, I shall, notwithstanding ‘view them in the calm lights of mild philosophy’, persuaded, if any great crisis should occur, to require it, that the good sense and Spirit of the Major part of the people of this country will direct them properly.”
Indeed, we too may hope that the good sense and spirit of the major part of the people of this country will come to reject the radical social and economic experiments of a Democratic Party that has moved too far to the left.
Poverty and unemployment will rise again. Businesses will falter again under increased taxes and regulations. Irresponsible borrowing will enable wasteful spending on building a new America in the socialist mold of broken basket cases like Venezuela.
Democrats resume their old globalist toadyism towards corrupt organizations abroad.
But it cannot last. The major part will return gladly to the confident independence and practical good sense of President Trump’s America-first initiatives.
At breakneck speed, in just four years as president, much was accomplished. Looking back now, no one should doubt President Trump’s love for his country as he poured himself wholeheartedly into the time he was allotted.
Having made promises, he tried mightily to keep them.
Despite impeachment traps and unscrupulous obstructions by his Democratic opponents, he pulled the U.S. away from the costly and corrupt financial toils of globalism.
He stopped subsidizing the many countries that would neither play fair nor pay their fair share in international defense, economic and health programs. He extracted the U.S. from hopelessly expensive and inept schemes like the Paris climate accord.
He re-established the U.S. military as the best in the world. He brought many American troops home from moribund war zones. His bold diplomatic moves in the Middle East brought stunning new peace agreements between longtime enemies. He stood up to communist China, the world’s newest bully.
He went a long way with border wall construction, reregulated domestic immigration and curbed the flow of criminals from hostile countries.
His policies reduced fuel prices and secured energy self-sufficiency for the U.S.
He brought manufacturing jobs back to Americans. He lowered personal income taxes and loosened much of the crippling regulation on American businesses.
He turned the country from Obama’s rampant socialism to successful reinstatement of a responsible free-market system. He brought a substantial increase in wages for all and generated record employment for black Americans and Hispanics. He gave special help to traditional black schools and colleges.
His First Step Act reforming the criminal justice system sought to end mass incarceration. He banned the shackling of pregnant inmates, ended solitary confinement for most juveniles and sought to lower recidivism through better rehabilitation and job training.
He halted American taxpayer funding of the medicalized killing of the unborn in abortion programs abroad. At home, he championed the restoration of the Founders’ recognition of legal protections for “infants stirring in their mothers’ womb.”
He supported religious freedom for all against woke initiatives that demanded that faith-based morals, language and traditions be purged as “hate speech” because they might hurt the feelings of snowflakes espousing the new quasi-religious dogmas of a sexual revolution gone mad.
Practical and tactical, the president’s reforms reached out to so many Americans who needed real help, real jobs, real security and the dignity of real independence.
But now, President Trump knows the heartache of not being allowed to finish what he so energetically started. Perhaps he will be forced to watch as some of his finest work is swiftly undone.
Or perhaps not.
No doubt President-elect Biden, once in power, will set about trying to reverse many of President Trump’s reforms.
And yet wiser Americans might wonder just how much of President Trump’s legacy can be permanently eradicated?
Perhaps very little.
More than 74 million Americans voted for his re-election; they understood the value of all the president had done in his four years in office. They will not be going back to easygoing toleration of any widespread reinstatement of the destructive radical socialism of the Democrats.
Indeed, the greater part of the American people — not just these 74 million voters — have crossed the Rubicon. Their eyes are opened.
Never again will they be silenced by Big Tech censorship determined to destroy American freedoms of speech and religious belief. Never again will they be so easily duped by regurgitated leftist propaganda spread by a disgracefully biased media. Never again will they go along meekly with pretentious academic theories taught as fact in ideologically corrupted educational institutions.
The greater part of the American people cheered the president’s draining of the Washington swamp. They now understand the self-serving tactics of the inhabitants of that swamp.
They are alert to the infamous socialist distortions of the republic’s Constitution by Democrat-appointed Supreme Court justices.
Most importantly, during President Trump’s term of office, they have come to understand the essential integrity of their president’s goals. In these Republican goals, they have recognized a noble restoration of the Founders’ truths and freedoms as set out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
These Americans will never again be so easily cajoled into going along with the Democrats’ plans to move the U.S. toward a far-left socialism that guts the Constitution, communizes the economy and sucks more and more people into soul-destroying long-term dependency on government.
Indeed, thanks to President Trump, many Americans now know the truth. The truth is powerful.
While the Biden-Harris socialist agenda will most certainly do some short-term damage, we can trust the integrity and the resilience of practical, level-headed Americans who are now alert to the dangers.
And so President Trump, like President Washington, may retire honorably, having done his best against the treachery and vindictiveness of a petty-minded opposition.
May he find that sense of closure that President Washington found — that confidence in a divine providence that ordains other good people to take up and continue a worthwhile work once started. In God we trust.
Washington’s confidence shines in a letter he wrote from Mount Vernon on Oct. 15, 1797, to the Rev. William Gordon:
“[W]ith vows for the peace, the happiness, and prosperity of a country in whose service the prime of my life hath been spent, and with best wishes for the tranquillity of all Nations, and all men, the scene will close; grateful to that Providence which has directed my steps, and shielded me in the various changes and chances, through which I have passed, from my youth to the present moment.”
And Washington concluded in his letter to Dr. James Anderson on Nov. 4, 1797:
“Free as I now am from the toil — the cares — and responsibility of public occupations … I hope, aided by the reflection of having contributed my best endeavours to promote the happiness & welfare of that Country which gave me … birth, to glide (peaceably and easy) on in the shade(s) of retirement; and with good will to all men until my time shall be no more.”
Indeed, we all run out of time.
Few of us live to see the finish of the most important projects we started — the lives of our children and all our descendants.
That’s just the natural course of events, until through God’s mercy and love we come home to heaven.
That’s the ultimate success!
May God so bless you, President Trump.