WASHINGTON — There’s a new sheriff, er, president, in town. Maybe.
Observers of Tuesday night’s presidential address to a joint session of Congress were left wondering which one would henceforth occupy the most potent seat in the land, the new one or the old one?
The new guy wants civil rights for all. The old guy had his Justice Department drop its pursuit of voting rights protections for minorities in Texas while his attorney general has indicated the administration would stop aggressively policing police departments accused of harassing minorities and violating their civil rights.
The new guy wants the nation to enjoy clean air and clean water. But the old guy just permitted coal companies to dump their waste into rivers. And he is bullish on reviving the coal industry which pollutes the air. He’s also looking to demonstrably cut back regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new guy wants health care for all. He wants “to invest in women’s health.” But the old guy wants to defund Planned Parenthood which often is the only affordable health care provider to low income women.
The new guy blasts the Obama administration for racking up huge deficits but then outlines a Santa Claus wish list of military and infrastructure investments coupled with lower taxes that will further deepen the national debt.
The new guy wants to work with Congress, wants Republicans and Democrats to work together with him. The old guy bragged that he alone could fix the nation’s problems, that he received a mandate from the American people even though he lost the popular vote by more than three million votes.
The new guy says he wants to “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders. The old guy stacked his administration with fat cats and Washington insiders.
The new guy decried anti-Semitic acts and a killing of a in Kansas last week (but without noting the victim was a legal immigrant from India or calling it an act of domestic terrorism). The old guy’s rhetoric saying some illegal immigrants take American jobs and many are violent criminals emboldened bigots and racists to step out of the shadows and take violent actions against non Christian and non white residents.
The new guy said he wants to rid the country of bad illegals, those that commit violent crimes. The old guy sicced his enforcement goons on all illegals, even those who merely had traffic violations and other nonviolent infractions.
The new guy blamed illegal immigrants for a wave of violent crimes. So did the old guy. Both guys are wrong based on statistics that illegal immigrants perpetrate fewer crimes than native-born Americans.
The new guy appeared presidential. The old guy was clownish, vulgar, disrespectful, inarticulate, a bully, mean-spirited, divisive, ill-informed.
The new guy kept his suit jacket buttoned. The old guy’s stomach protruded out from his unbuttoned jacket.
So which one will it be? Will we live in an alternative universe of alternative facts for the next four years or will we finally find normalcy in the Oval Office?