Thinking back thirty years to January 20, 2013, I have to admit that I was a little disturbed and perhaps even terribly unhappy with my situation. There I was, a self-appointed poster-child for disillusionment with almost all institutional aspects of America. I had grown up at the end of the twentieth century and was pretty much willing to impugn any formal organization, public institution and quite likely most existing modern mindsets and “isms.” I was hardly an anarchist though in any way, shape or form and I of course was a huge supporter of individual freedom, but there is no way I could have seen myself as part of the process at the time. I had prided my personal success on being able to work-around process rather than immersing myself in it.
I also was an extremely successful businessman who had accumulated wealth well into the billions. I can’t say I was disillusioned at all about that part of America as it had been simply a matter of hard-work, open-mindedness, a big chunk of fairness, a strong vision and of course a little bit of good luck and timing along the way.
I can honestly say that I was anti-government in most of its forms at the start of the twenty-first century. In fact, one of the hallmarks of my business success had been the ability to manage governmental process and obstacles. I had earned a reputation as someone who did not really listen to governmental authority and regulation if a greater good was being impeded. I pretty much held government equally inept everywhere in the world. The USA though at the time was the worst.
Government in the early twenty-first century, especially in the United States of America involved itself mostly in the pursuit of self-interest and party politics. The Republican and Democratic parties basically just postured and opposed each other in order to undermine, disgrace and usurp the authority of whichever party, at the time, happened to have won the previous election. To me, it was an absolute waste of time and energy that delivered virtually no benefit to the average American. It was an elitist system that protected the interests of the party, business interests and the wealthy. I had no interest in politics at the time and contributed no personal energy or corporate finances to it in the years leading up to 2013.
If you had, in fact, told me a year earlier, on my forty-second birthday in 2012, that I was going to be the next president, and that thirty years later my name would be synonymous with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson, I would certainly have thought you to be one of the dumbest people I had ever met. There was no way in the world, that on March 31st, 2012, that I could have imagined myself as president less than one year later.
This is why I was genuinely angry in January 2013 as I was being sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America. I can honestly say that in the moment I really did not want the role and was wondering how I had just ruined my life.