As 2017 begins, with its blank calendar pages representing mysteries waiting to unfold in all aspects of our lives, a giant question mark on the national and world scene is what President Donald Trump will do, say, or — heaven help us — tweet in the days and months after his inauguration on Jan. 20.
Some among us are genuinely fearful about the man’s ego, temperament, and preparedness. We have elected a wild card. Putting aside whether the forum was appropriate for a political jab, what other incoming president could we imagine — if challenged by perhaps the most respected actress on the planet at an awards ceremony, as Trump was by Meryl Streep at last weekend’s Golden Globes — responding with a sophomoric reply that the actress is “over-rated” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big”?
Others find such unedited candor refreshing in a society they feel has become too politically correct. They hope President Trump shakes up the establishment and changes the way Washington works, or hasn’t worked.
As we approach the annual anniversary of the Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion, most pro-life proponents will tell you they are invigorated by the new president’s commitments to nominate pro-life justices and support legislative efforts to limit abortion and preserve conscience protections. It remains to be seen how he will follow through with those commitments, and how a Trump presidency will impact the full spectrum of Catholic social concerns, such as care for the poor and vulnerable — including refugees and immigrants — issues of war and peace, and concern for the environment.
In the face of uncertainty, let’s fill those calendar pages with daily prayer for our nation and its leaders. A Catholic’s civic duty doesn’t end with a vote. It only begins. Complacency is not an option in the months and years to come. — Thomas J. Dermody