OPED: So long to 2016 and all the dumb things politicians said
A brand new year full of exciting possibilities awaits.
And while it’s unnerving having an unpredictable motormouth running the show, as we plunge into 2017, we should at least rejoice in having a chance to mothball a lot of ridiculous statements made over the past 12 months by politicians who should have known better.
Let’s never hear again the phrase “basket of deplorables,” which Hillary Clinton unfortunately used to describe Donald Trump supporters. What was she thinking, you ask? She wasn’t. Enough said.
As Ben Carson ponders what his Department of Housing and Urban Development is and what on earth it does, please, may he never again refer to the ancient pyramids as granaries built by Joseph of the Old Testament to store grain. Archeologists have known for eons they were tombs for Egyptian pharaohs.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is stewing in Columbus over his ambitions to run for president again in 2020, but let’s hope he has gotten over referencing the “women who left their kitchens” to support him.
Then again, a whole host of politicians proved in 2016 that sexism is flourishing.
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his use of words such as “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals,” to describe women he doesn’t like. Trump said women who complain about his language are too politically correct.
In addition to demanding that Trump tone down his objectionable descriptions of women, let’s hope he stops saying he will “drain the swamp” while stuffing his Cabinet and administration with Wall Street swells, lobbyists, billionaire cronies and wealthy insiders.
We may never again hear from Tim Kaine (Clinton’s running mate, in case you forgot). But let’s hope we can forget his postmortem on the election: “They killed us but they ain’t whooped us yet.”
We know Bernie Sanders is still around, trying to figure out why he’s not a Democrat but an independent, but we don’t want to hear him talk any more about “breaking up” big banks and prosecuting climate change deniers. Not happening.
We are tired of Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, who is going to be something called White House counselor and will be talking to the media every five minutes to blame the media for her boss’s bad moods. If anything, she’s getting more anti-press despite winning and the fact that her man got more free media than any other candidate in history. Yes, she is the first woman manager whose candidate was elected president but, really, move on. Not everything is the media’s fault. And, we again point out, Trump has not held a news conference since July.
Let’s put the kibosh on speculating about using nuclear weapons. And let’s hope the president-elect never again says, “Why do we have them” if we don’t use them?
Many of the incoming Cabinet picks have vowed to abolish the department they will head. Energy, Education, the Environmental Protection Agency — the list is long. Let’s have a moratorium on politicians vowing to get rid of huge chunks of government and then taking jobs, paid by taxpayers, to manage them. And no more politicians on “Dancing with the Stars.” (We’re talking about you, Rick Perry, who wants to axe Energy, did the cha cha cha on TV, got a D in a college class called “Meats” and now is in charge of nuclear power.)
Unfortunately, we’re doomed to more threatening tweets. Many more. On the day after Christmas, Trump tweeted to 18 million followers there is “NO WAY!” (using capital letters is equivalent to shouting) President Obama could have beaten him in a general election, said the United Nations is “just a club for people to get together, talk and have fun,” took credit for Christmas spending, and reprimanded the media for noting he hasn’t contributed to his Trump Foundation (which he is trying to shut down) since 2008.
We’re in for a whirlwind of cliches but let’s stop talking about making America great again. It is great. We need to make it better, a beacon of respect for individual dignity and ensuring government works for all, not just Trump, his children, his businesses and the top 1 percent he has put in charge.
Prediction: In 2017, Americans who haven’t prayed for years will take to imploring the Almighty again.
— Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.