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How can Trump restore safety in one day? Here's how:
I'm sure a determined Trump critic, or even just a committed cynic, might scoff at one of the biggest promises Donald Trump made last night - that on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored. How can one man restore safety in a single day?
Let me remind you of something from history. In 1979, the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran took 44 Americans hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. For more than a year, Jimmy Carter tried to negotiate their release, and had no success. On January 20, 1981, Iran finally released the hostagees. What was special about that day? Simply this: Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. Reagan did not do anything in particular to make their release happen. He'd only been in office a couple of hours when the hostages were freed.
But the ayatollahs who ruled Iran understood that Reagan would be a very different kind of president from Jimmy Carter. They feared what Reagan might do. They had no fear whatsoever of the feckless Carter. And while Reagan never made a promise to free the hostages on his first day in office, that in fact happened because his ascendance to the presidency represented a change in the status quo. The bad guys understood that they could no longer operate as they had in the past - and things changed immediately.
Under the presidency of Barack Obama, America's police do not feel that the federal government has their backs. When police-hating radicals denounce law enforcement, our president speaks in agreement with them. When an incident takes place that might represent a police mistake, and thus requires investigation, our president tends to jump to conclusions and make irresponsible pronouncements that cast doubt on the integrity of the police.
I have heard from police officers who tell me that they are reluctant to pursue a fleeing criminal, because inevitably a news truck will show up - or maybe just a citizen with a video camera on their phone - and if the slightest force has to be used, it will be shown to the public in a way that makes the police look as bad as possible. And when that happens, no one expects the president of the United States to back the police. He won't do it. If anything, he'll sick the Justice Department on them.
What Donald Trump will do on day one is change that dynamic. The police will no longer feel that the president doesn't have their backs. They'll know that he does. They might still have to deal with angry radicals and a meddlesome media, but at least if that happens, they'll be able to count on the man in the Oval Office standing up for them.
Don't think for a minute that this won't make a huge difference. It will. It will make America's police feel that they can do their jobs as they're supposed to do it, without having to worry about being hung out to dry by the White House. That will make them much more effective at patrolling the streets and protecting the innocent. It will also allow them to be less fearful for their own lives because of an anti-police environment fomented in part by the president.
So yes, it is possible for something so big to change in a single day. Donald Trump can restore safety on his first day in office, not by any particular thing he will do, but because of what the police will know about whose side he is on.
Theirs. And yours.
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