When California Governor, Gray Davis, was recalled in 2003, beloved actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped up to the plate. Overwhelmingly supported by California’s citizens, Schwarzenegger won a whopping 48.6 percent of the votes. He left three other contenders, and seasoned politicians, in the dust.
I’ll admit it. I voted for the Governator. I was tired of California politics and political games. Our legislators couldn’t agree on anything. California was in debt and the schools were a mess. Who better, I thought, than an outsider to come in and fix our broken system?
Schwarzenegger’s legacy, as it turned out, was more than disappointing. One reporter wrote, “[California] institutions eroded and its finances [were] more of a mess than when he took over.” He left office with a 22 percent approval rating, matching the governor he replaced. Schwarzenegger didn’t have a clue how politics worked. He kept alienating one group after another. It didn’t really matter that he never took a paycheck as California’s governor; he simply wasn’t qualified to be there.
Our frustration with national politicians reached an all-time high in this last election. The childish fighting among Republican candidates, and devious maneuvering among elitist Democrats to elect their chosen queen, left a bad taste in our mouths. In many ways, Donald Trump’s election was a middle finger to Washington politicians.
Americans, for some reason, however, believe that if someone is successful at one thing, they will automatically be successful at another. I address this in my business book, Everything I Learned About Management I Learned From Having a Kindergartner. A successful sales person means they are successful at selling, not becoming a CEO. Without training, a majority them will fail at management. A wealthy businessperson means they are successful at making money. It doesn’t even mean they do it ethically. And if they plan to be president, we most certainly should ask how they did it.
Before Trump even took office, his incompetence was glaring. His cabinet nominees were chosen on the basis of their support for him, not because of their expertise in any of the areas into which they were appointed. In fact, they have been dubbed the most unqualified cabinet in U.S. history.
I’ve read comments from countless Trump supporters who believe his appointees will somehow turn things in the right direction. Unfortunately, that is more like betting on a lottery than simply guessing heads or tails. Considering how Trump’s cabinet will control the future of housing, financing, healthcare, education and retirement for 99 percent of Americans – in which none of them have a vested interest – our future is more uncertain than ever.
Stating it is better to have a businessman as a president, a billionaire donor as the secretary of education, and an oil executive as secretary of state because they will see things with fresh eyes, is like saying it’s better to have a car mechanic for a doctor when you have cancer. That’s not innovation. That’s insanity. I don’t put my kid in the driver’s seat when it’s raining outside because I think her inexperience will get us home more safely.
As is the case for most of us, we surround ourselves with people we know, people in our sphere of influence. The problem with billionaire Trump is that he doesn’t run in the same circles as the rest of us. He can’t relate to the daily struggles of the middle class, and certainly not the poor. He doesn’t have to choose between healthcare and college for his kids.
Throwing away the Affordable Care Act has no impact on him, or the oil and Wall Street executives with whom he surrounds himself. His children and grand children will pay cash for the colleges of their choice. The laws he signs into effect will do nothing to change his situation, except, perhaps, improve it. The regulations, such as the removal of Dodd-Frank regulations, only make it easier for him to put money in his own pocket, and the pockets of his donors.
I understand the desire to change up politics in Washington D.C., but installing people who have no idea what they are doing, and worse, people who cannot relate to the public over whom they preside, is the antithesis of American government and common sense. When politicians refuse to listen, and when they are swayed more by the donations they receive than the phone calls they ignore, it’s time for fresh blood. It’s time for a grass roots movement where citizens get involved in politics from the ground up, learning the system as they go.
While Donald Trump clearly has no experience to run the government, let’s not forget that as American citizens he is not our commander in chief. He is not the celebrity apprentice, or even our go-to reality start. He is our employee. Treat him like one.