Editor’s note: In last week’s issue Richard K. Rein wrote a column suggesting ways in which never-Trump voters could channel their energy, now that the election is over and Trump is about to be inaugurated. Shortly thereafter we received a letter from John Clearwater, a retired civil engineer living in Princeton, who prefaced his comments with the following statement:
“Your editorial is the most balanced I’ve read in print — at least locally. It has a bullet point focus on ‘getting over it’ while still being true to your beliefs and doing what you can to help all of us move forward in the best interests of family , communities, and our truly exceptional American democratic republic. Without any intent to diminish the very positive and instructive responses you advocate for progressives and liberals generally , I offer the following from my conservative center-right perspective:
“Getting over it.” More liberals must accept the fact the 2016 election processes and resulting outcomes were as intended by the framers of our constitutional democratic republic. The totals of the national popular vote for President are not decisive or even of first importance constitutionally. Further, the scope of the Trump and conservatives’ victories nationwide is best reflected by the county and local election results. They are far more telling than the small Electoral College differential. The scale of the conservative landslide is shown by the fact there are more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. and Trump won more than 3,000 while Clinton won fewer than 100. Five counties alone on the East and West coasts provided more than Clinton’s total margin in the popular vote. Further, the overall state and local election margins for conservatives are without precedent.
“The federal government isn’t the only agent of change.” Quite right, but the unprecedented sweep of state, county, and local community elections by Trump may propel conservative change and reform across the nation. The Feds can easily single out specific counties and/or communities like Princeton and deal with them selectively. For example, measures against easily identified Sanctuary Cities willfully violating federal law will be a top priority target . For our educational establishment, federal policies promulgated by a new secretary of education on charter schools, school choice, vouchers, etc. will constitute a “climate change” for public schools and education in general with expected, enthusiastic acceptance by thousands of local conservative jurisdictions.
Advice to “stay Informed,” improve “cyber security ,” calls to “voice your opinion,’’ use “social media,” and advocate for “public good over politics” all fall on deaf ears. One could hope, even pray, the far left could be motivated to constructively “work together “ and “be for something.” But Michael Moore’s activist views hold sway and his means and methods will be reinforced by legions of Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” compatriots.
“The fight against climate change.” As an environmental engineering professional focused on coastal, port, harbor, and water resources, I accept the fact of climate change as indisputable. However, the spectrum of causative elements and the related scale of contribution to this change from human activities remains largely indeterminate.
What is clear is there is no possibility that the world’s population — by taking every measure now known to science — can change the rate or scale of negative impacts in millennia . This tells us that trillions of dollars spent on measures to arrest climate change are misguided compared to benefits of programs providing infrastructure to protect us from predictable impacts. The facts are the next Sandy will occur in the not too distant future. We have the resources, engineering and construction capacities to build an array of measures for protection, damage control, and resilient recovery from the environmental disasters to come. This can be done within a generation while concurrently continuing for millennia worldwide environmentally friendly, common sense measures addressing human behavioral issues like over-consumption, irrational distribution, etc.
The changing character of Princeton. The undeniable conservative 2016 sweep has caused very liberal, progressive communities and educational institutions like Princeton to be redefined. One local headline proclaims “Changing Character of Princeton Defines 2016.” For Princeton this “changing character” has moved us to adopt, for example, resolutions ( local law) moving us in some directions overwhelmingly rejected nationwide with conservatives capturing more than 90 percent of election districts nationwide at the county level and below.