US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from reporters accompanied by wife Melania for a New Year’s Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
How can I presume to give the president-elect a New Year’s resolution? Don’t you know I am a member of the media? A journalist today can do or say just about anything—and ignore anything that’s inconvenient. Journalists aren’t reporters anymore; no, not these days; actually, even the job title “journalist” doesn’t seem fitting for the national sort today, as the terms “reporter” and “journalist” still have a faint odor of fact-based diligence on their all-too political breath. Also, secretly many journalists don’t even aspire to be simple reporters anymore; no, they want to be celebrities. But most fail to become popular enough for that label, so they succumb to a lower station: They become critics. They have the tastes, biases and the we-know-better-than-thou persona once reserved almost exclusively for the art critic.
If that sounds unfair, as any generality must be, you’ll also have to admit it bites, as nothing sinks its teeth in as deeply as honesty. (Understanding this is the only chance I have—or any media member has—of continually being checked by an honest analysis of the facts these days.)
As for the New Year’s resolution for Donald J. Trump, I wouldn’t ask him to stop doing anything. No, that’s his wife’s job and, to a lesser extent, his advisors. Anyway, that’s too negative; right now we need his positive, make-America-great-again force of will to swing like a wrecking ball into Washington, D.C. Shatter it, smash it, send the walls around its bureaucracy tumbling down. Let in the light of day; send the disinfecting sunlight of accountability washing in. Make them earn their positions, make their numbers, prove their worth; force them to do real things for our good or else to leave public service to those who want to serve, not control.
Knock down the IRS’ unfathomable and often unfair rules. Topple the colossal and growing bureaucracy of Obamacare and replace it with market reforms that put patients, not bureaucrats, in charge. Crush the EPA’s elitist rule and force them to adhere to actual science and to our civil liberties. Force the leadership in Veteran’s Affairs to fear accountability again.
All that takes a bold, positive, fearless disregard for the norms of our capital city.
It also requires keeping your head as you boldly reset the course. Doing this is a difficult endeavor that requires real inner strength—the type Marcus Aurelius wrote about and Cicero and Cato died for.
So my suggestion for a New Year’s resolution for Trump is simply this: Be humble.