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There is no law against thinking

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk along Pennsylvania Avenue during the inauguration parade in Washington (Photograph by Evan Vucci/AP)

Millions of people around the world watched in stunned bewilderment that one of the most controversial figures to ever enter the field of politics in America, had garnished enough support to become president of the most powerful nation on Earth. There could be no denying that there are deeply troubled Americans who ponder how this all happened and what it will mean for the future in a world where international tensions remain a global problem.

On the other hand, supporters of the new commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, are thrilled beyond measure, even though the new President ploughed his way through a storm of criticism over remarks along the way that observers felt would have sent most candidates seeking the highest office fleeing for the hills.

A major question still haunting many in the nation is how did a man with a legacy of views considered by many as insulting and divisive could emerge as America’s 45th president.

The billionaire, who has an empire that spreads to different parts of the world, is thought to have used that power to convince many Americans that he held the key to restore jobs and, in his words, “make America great again”.

He was able to tap into sections of the American public that had become totally disgusted with Washington, and the constant gridlock that kept politicians in their jobs, while crucial issues concerning the people were unresolved.

It could be said that Washington provided him with a political strategy that enabled him to promise a change, whether he could deliver or not, to keep his supporters solidly behind him along a bumpy road of twisting views over how best to move forward.

Trump is thought by some to view America as another large company to manage in his ever-expanding empire. It cannot be overlooked that the President has spent a good portion of his climb to economic wealth in shiny boardrooms dealing with economic issues. Most would agree that running a country while also trying to cope with major international dilemma is a far cry from being chief executive officer of a business chain.

The inauguration ceremony went quite smoothly despite protests on the outskirts of the event, which resulted in several arrests. The big question is whether the new President will be able to make the transition from the mindset of a powerful CEO of a massive enterprise to becoming a people’s president. It is one thing to make that assertion in words, but another in making it reality.

With many of his Cabinet choices billionaires themselves, there is considerable concern that struggling Americans will not be out of the economic woods in a hurry. Of course, after promising so many changes in running the country, even those who vehemently opposed him are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as he begins his administration.

Their hope lies in experienced veterans in his administration who will keep a sharp eye on avoiding anything that may cause people to second guess whether the people are being placed first.

Trump’s seeming inability to be clear on issues that concern most Americans continues to trouble those hoping for a change in his approach, especially when his inauguration address was described as fairly empty in convincing all Americans that they would get the change promised throughout his campaign. Some even felt it had isolationist tones. In other words, many are still waiting for that moment when they actually feel something positive unfolding from the world’s most powerful leader.

Beneath the surface of the glitter and pageantry of the inauguration rumbles investigations to determine the full extent of Russian involvement in the election outcome. Although Trump disputes those claims, saying no voting machines had been tampered with. That may very well be true, but there is a school of thought that the mindset of some voters may have been influenced by information alleged to have come from the Russians.

So it appears that apart from many challenges confronting the new administration, there are lingering issues about credibility yet to be sorted out over the path to power.

What politicians say and what they do can be quite different. As one top network anchor put it, people go into that office to change history, but in the end, history changes them.

Bermuda has always had a wonderful relationship with America, and even though Bermudians share concern raised by many about the election results, the warm friendship with that nation will remain intact. Just as there are American residents here, there are many Bermudian residents in the United States. It is a bond that has grown through many presidential administrations, and as long as there is no law against thinking, people on both sides of the Atlantic should be free to express views — as long as it is with respect and concern for truth.

As one American put it, you cannot blame a man for winning an election — if America provided the votes.

Bermuda will be facing a significant political decision itself this year, and we all hope that the people will think carefully when it is time for them to decide how best to approach the future. It will not be up to politicians to make that decision. It will be done by the people. That is still democracy as we know it.