Now that 2017 is here, Americans are left to reflect on the previous year’s various occurrences and ponder what lies ahead in the coming year.
In that vein, several Texas County residents were invited to share their thoughts and feelings with regard to three subjects (an equal number of men and women were invited to participate and an unequal number responded):
1. The state of the U.S. in general (what can be expected from the economy and where is society headed?)
2. President Donald Trump (how will it go for him, what do you expect the direction of the U.S. to be like under him, and how should people view him?)
3. Terrorism and the world stage (specifically, what can be expected from Islam and ISIS and what could or should be done about it?)
AMANDA COOK (Houston)
1. I am really excited to see what is in store for the economy. I think we will see tremendous growth in the coming months due to policy changes, executive order repeal, and an overall decreased government in private matters. Additionally, I hope to see improvement in healthcare legislation. I recently spoke with a pharmacist from another state that could not understand why Missouri does not have a prescription drug monitoring plan. I believe we also need to see a greater focus on addiction and mental health issues and how they contribute to crime rates, not only in the urban areas, but throughout our country.
2. While I have more experience with life science, I researched politics more during this election than any previous. I feel that President Trump has business and life experience that will be a true asset to our federal government. I am also a firm believer in surrounding yourself with a winning team, and believe no one is an expert on all topics. I think that President Trump has made some wonderful selections for cabinet members and is working on building such a team. I am frustrated that we have seen such a divide over this election. However, after a visit to the East Coast last year, I am less than shocked. There is a real disconnect between the conservative center of our country and the super-liberal ideas that are springing up along both coasts.
3. Unfortunately, there have been known threats to this country for the majority of my adult life. I think we hear more about these threats now due to the prevalence of media and the fast pace of our world, but that doesn’t make them any less daunting. I have had the opportunity to do some traveling outside of the U.S., and there are wonderful people everywhere, just as evil can be found everywhere. I believe we need to remain vigilant of threats both at home and abroad, especially during this transitional time for our country, and continue making decisions based on what is best for mankind.
KEITH FORD (Houston)
1. The country, I think, has stagnated. It seems that concepts like determination, dedication, drive and motivation have mostly disappeared. Personal values have certainly changed over the last four decades.
Some areas of the economy have run away from the rest. For instance, the insurance and healthcare industry. A couple of decades ago, a person could go to the local doctor’s office, be seen and get meds for under $60. Now that is a $200-plus bill.
Also, the current education levels seem to have declined greatly in the last two or three decades, along with a lack of technical and artisan training. Downtown used to host a large group of various repair shops, but the throw-away society we have become has driven the decline of repair shops to near extinction.
And the current rate of inflation has reduced the buying power of the dollar its lowest level since the Great Depression.
Another decline I’ve notice is a lack of involvement in community. The question I often hear from people when asked to participate is, “what do I get from the group or organization?” A definite “what about me?” attitude has permeated our society.
2. The election was a surprise all the way around, and I believe that “The Donald” really did not expect to win. However the deed is done. The fact that Trump is not a professional politician is a plus. The cabinet appointments so far have been interesting and worthy of debate. Also, considering that Trump does not want a salary, and the cabinet appointments have echoed the same words, is outwardly a positive idea.
I’m certain there will be sweetheart deals in the shadows, but that would happen with the professional politicians.
Trump’s desire to revitalize American industry is great. However, with a poorly educated and lackadaisical work force, that desire is doomed before it takes root.
Trump is brash in attitude and speaking, but I feel this is time to be brash, and that’s far better than tiptoeing on eggshells to attempt to appease everyone all the time. Trump also wants to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, and in all honesty the freeway and railroad system needs major assistance and overhaul.
Trump’s over-idealistic programs have both negative and positive overtures. The security of the nation takes precedence over anything else.
Watching and reading post-election news reports, the actions that special interest groups are using to attack both Trump and the rest of conservative American in the media shows to me just how bias the self entitle and special interest groups have degenerated. Eight years ago there was no rioting like post-election this year.
The best thing would be for all citizens to support the nation, which means at least nominal support from the new administration detractors, instead of setting out to cause further destruction.
3.My personal opinion is that ISIS is a cancer and should be treated accordingly. Martin Luther King Jr. preached peaceful protest and that violence negates violence. Unfortunately, his words seemed to have been lost in the passing of time. My thoughts toward Islam are neutral. I think that it is at the point where Christianity was at the inquisition. We will have to weather the storm until the radical elements are mostly neutralized. Unfortunately, terror attacks will never go away as it is an effective tool of the disenfranchised minorities. Until then, national security is paramount.
ALMA THOMAS (Tyrone)
1. As for the economy, based on (President-elect) Donald Trump’s cabinet choices, I feel the rich will get richer and poor will get poorer. By the same token, the stock market is very scary as there is nothing backing up all the paperwork. Also there is no one seems to know how to be truthful and we are living with a bunch of liars. Who do you believe?
2. Trump could possibly be taken out, as this country is in such unrest and the people are weary. I don’t think you can run a country like a business when you have the constitution that should be followed. I believe he will have us in war in short order. The thing I am not sure of is will it be here or there. Hopefully it will be there somewhere, not here.
3. As for ISIS, they have a great foothold in the U.S.A. already, and that is scary. There are too many of them – and drug cartels from Mexico – I don’t believe Trump can deport them all and build his fence. He will have to put deep pilings with fence underground. ISIS is something I don’t know much about or know what should be done. I only hope our constitution, our flag and “In God We Trust” stands tall here in this wonderful U.S.A.
LINDA GARRETT (Licking)
1. I hope our new president can help bring jobs back to America. I think Trump knows why the jobs left and I believe he wants to bring them back. Can he do that? Time will tell. It’s really sad when everything you buy is made in another country. This is everything from cotton balls to automobiles. Trump is a businessman and he’s filling a lot of positions with businessmen.
Common sense tells you if more people are working there will be more taxes collected and less government assistance. I don’t think we need a big jump in minimum wages, because that would make everything cost more and force more layoffs.
The cost of health insurance is a big issue. I would like an investigation into the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. I think some of the problems start with inflated prices.
It seems like our society has been in a downward decline for the past several years. I don’t think even Donald Trump can fix this – it has to be each individual doing their part.
There are a few groups that want to spread hate and discontent in our country, but the majority of the people are good caring people. Most people have respect for their fellow man, no matter what color or race they are, as long as those people are also showing respect. There are others who need to learn respect – respect for their parents, our teachers, our law enforcement, our military, our flag and our country. We need to start taking responsibility for our actions and stop blaming everyone else. We need to stop rewarding people for the bad choices they make or they will continue to make the wrong choices. I think so many people are dependent on government handouts that they have forgotten what pride you feel when you can do things yourself.
2. I believe Donald Trump will make a good president. He wasn’t my first or second choice, but he’s going to be our president and he can’t “make America great again” by himself. It will take everyone working together – Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and everyone in between. I think he made a good choice for his vice president and has made some good choices for his cabinet. I believe he will nominate some good choices for Supreme Court judges.
Our country was founded on God and I pray it will turn back to God. I believe the Supreme Court judges will be an important part in our country’s future. I think Trump will work with other countries but I think he will put America first and not let other countries run over us. We have lost respect from some countries, and if Trump does what he said he would do, he will earn that respect back.
I believe he will prove to be a strong leader. I do worry about the national media and some others trying to criticize or downplay everything he will try to do. I feel some people will try to put roadblocks up, hoping he fails.
3. The threat of terrorism is real, all over the world. These are evil people and they don’t care who they kill. I stand behind Trump wanting to close the borders. Not only because of the threat of terrorist entering our country, but also to keep all illegal immigrants out. This is a big part of our country’s problems. Illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans, bringing drugs into our country, committing all kinds of crimes and taking our tax dollars to support them. There have been many good people who came to America legally who were honored to become citizens. They worked hard and made valuable contributions to this country, and they honored their new country. They didn’t try to change our country into the country they left. They honored our laws, our constitution and our flag.
I hope Congress will support Trump in closing the borders.
KEVIN EVILSIZER (Raymondville)
1. I think our economy will get worse before it gets better. Everyone seems to think the economy we have is the new norm. I think we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
The road has already been paved for it.
Too many people think video games and name brands should come before renting or owning a home.
2. I think Donald Trump can be a good president –even if he wasn’t my first choice – but he has a lot of work to do to show he can do the job. I think we should support him in his presidency. I think the U.S.A. can be great again under him, we just have to make smart choices like he should in order for his changes to work.
Nothing will change by one man making decisions. We all have to change too.
3. I honestly believe that terrorism will never die because all Christians would have to be gone.
I believe terrorists will keep getting worse because people let them get away with it.
We should consider an act of terror to be an act of war. It would be if the White House was attacked, so why not a mall or church?