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A reader offers thoughts on Trump role in history

What will historians say about Donald Trump?

My ideas follow, listed under three categories: positive contributions, negatives and a third category called "It depends," which contains items that don't fit either of the first two.

As for positives, he has caused:

• More people to read politically oriented books, articles and "Letters To The Editor" and Op-Ed pieces (and a few -- yes, me -- to write letters).

• Increased awareness about the importance of having really good teachers for civics, government and history to help ensure all voters with at least a high school education are better prepared to discharge their responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society.

• Renewed interest in how our democracy works.

• More people to distinguish between news reporters and news commentators.

• More people to think about politics and to register and vote.

• Increased awareness about the strengths and weaknesses of social media.

• More critical thinking about what we read in print media and what hear or see on radio and TV.

• Increased awareness of the importance of having a good daily newspaper.

• Awareness of the critical role of the Congressional Budget Office in analyzing and costing proposed legislation.

• Broader realization of the need for a comprehensive immigration policy.

• More people to think of the short- and long-term importance of voting for someone who reflects one's values, not those of party leaders.

As for the negatives, Trump has:

• Provided a poor role model for youth.

• Created a negative image of himself and our country in the minds of leaders and people from most other countries.

• Done more to divide American couples, family members, neighbors, friends, fellow, employees, church members and congressmen (even within his own party) than any prior president.

• Disturbed sleep patterns and increased stress levels.

• Emboldened white nationalists.

• Increased the number of people who see mental health practitioners.

In the "it depends" category, he has:

• Increased the number of people watching news on their cellphones and iPads.

• Caused TV viewing habits to shift to or away from certain TV channels or programs.

So, given the above, what do I think historians will say about our 45th president? Well, if the past months are any indication of what is to come, I predict most historians will say he was the worst choice for president in living history. His main legacy will be the dozens of books and articles about why he was elected, lessons learned from the experience, the long- and short-term effects of his election, the importance of voting, the consequences of electing an authoritarian-oriented president and the repercussions of partisan control.

Jim Hammons


Commentary on 09/07/2019

Print Headline: NWA Letters to the Editor

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