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Cafe Society to discuss apprehension about the incoming administration

By Staff | Jan 20, 2017

With today’s inauguration of President Trump, it is probably senseless to try to concentrate on anything else other than the new Administration in the Cafe Society discussion next Tuesday.

While still President-elect Donald Trump turned the normal transition process into a star chamber-like arena that fed rampant speculation and the prospect of dramatic changes across the board in both domestic and foreign policy. Normal conventions and protocols that usually govern this critical process have been swept away by now President Trump, whose modus operandi appears to be to remain constantly on the attack, keeping skeptics and detractors on the defensive.

Traditional relationships and working procedures required to manage our complex government and the attendant ethics and political mores that here-to-fore have ensured continuity and stability seem almost pointedly to be made irrelevant. The essential interplay of trust and mutual confidence within the Federal government, up and down the tenuous hierarchy of state and local governments, private and public business sectors, and with friendly and allied nations that nurtured an orderly approach to the process of governance is in a state of abeyance waiting for the smoke to clear enough to see what remains and to gain some idea of where to go from here.

These informal discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. each Tuesday morning in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University (SU) Student Center. They are an integral part of the SU Life Long Learning Program and are intended to facilitate a dialog on current issues between the students and older members of our community. There are no fees or registration requirements.

Cafe Society facilitator, Mike Austin commented, “For the next few months, it will certainly not be “business as usual” either in Washington, D.C., in our state capitols or in their counterparts around the world. The tremors from the ‘perfect storm’ that President Trump conjured up are being felt around the world and it will take some time for damage to be assessed and recovery (and in many cases reconstruction) to begin.

“It is obvious that new methods for conducting the business of government at home and abroad will be required and policies and alternative implementing procedures pursued. It remains to be seen how compliant the other two branches of our government will be, when their prerogatives are at risk and they are sidelined by preemptive dictates from the White House. But there is always room for new ideas and new approaches. And having decisively won the White House, he is entitled to all of the Presidential prerogatives that go with that exalted position including use of the “bully pulpit.” He has already demonstrated his considerable prowess in working public media and new channels of communication like twitter and other forms of social media. But there is, as of yet no political “morning after” pill and he will be dogged at every turn by detractors laying in wait for a miss-step. Some of the political and administrative vacuums he has created will be filled by forces beyond his control with unintended consequences. He will be able to do only so much by executive mandate and pre-emptive strikes on inept political leaders who have wandered away from their constituencies. His own impressive wave of followers may quickly subside when reality sets in and “affordability” becomes more than just a label.”

Austin concluded by saying, “Our new President has harnessed an interesting mix of strong-willed horses, not broken to the plow and it remains to be seen if they can pull together as a team. That they will be working on new ground in many cases will make the work that much more difficult. To carry the analogy a little further, he is far afield from prior areas of expertise, and it remains to be seen if he has patience enough, to put in a crop of radically new programs and policies, properly tend it, and be patient enough to wait for the harvest. In the end he will be forced to reap what he has sown and many of the seeds so casually broadcast will prove to have fallen on barren soil.”