Let me begin this by saying that any American rooting for President Trump to “fail” needs to reexamine their priorities – and what exactly that would mean for this country.That said, a fair chance is not – and should never be – a free pass.
Full disclosure before I write further: I did not vote for Donald Trump. I viewed 2016 as a bad election year, one where Americans had an awful choice: vote for the corrupt business man calling Washington for a favor OR vote for the corrupt politician picking up the phone. To be sure, there were two other choices – a self-righteous protester who catered to conspiracy theories and a nice guy with no clue as to what was happening inside or outside his country. We were truly spoiled for choice.
Yet this is not a post to speak of the 2016 election (let us never talk of it again). This is only my gut reactions to the outcome of that election and to today, the day when the 45th President of the United States is sworn into office.
To Those Others who did not Vote for Trump
I heard it said that the true measure of a person can be measured by how they deal with defeat. In the days since Trump won, I have wondered if this is what conservatives felt when President Obama first took office in 2008. Did they have this sense of fear, this foreboding of dread? I remember a conservative event on Facebook – “A Day of Mourning: where black on the day Obama is sworn in.”
Of course, we all know how many on the other side reacted:
There was also a disrespectful attempt to undermine the 44th by claiming that he was not born in this country – and thus not truly legitimate. Frankly, this was disgraceful. A horrible exercise in partisanship that paralyzed (or was used as an excuse to paralyze) this country.
Let’s look at today:
I have nothing but respect for Rep. Lewis and the work he put into the civil rights movement. There are few Americans who represent the ideals of our nation the way that he does. That said, he was wrong to claim that President Trump is not legitimate. Trump won according to the rules of our Constitution. Yes, he lost the Popular Vote, and yes – Russia interfered with our election process.
Yet foreign powers trying to undermine our democracy is nothing new – and this issue was discussed during the campaign. I would argue that the far bigger story was the lack of reaction to this interference (again partisanship – it blinds and binds). What the FBI did, in regards to Secretary Clinton’s emails, should also be examined thoroughly in the future.
That said, none of this changes the fact that enough people (over sixty million) voted for Donald Trump – enough to win him the Electoral College. While I favor Electoral College reform, I do not favor changing the rules of a game after it has been played. Donald Trump is the 45th President – he is legitimate – end of story.
This does not mean I frown on protesting. So long as it is peaceful, it is the right and duty of the American people to protest any form of government that they do not agree with. There are plenty of red flags with this new President and his cabinet. Climate change does not belong in the political theater and neither does vaccination. A President does not get to deem media as “fake news” simply because they say unflattering things about him (he does have a right to criticize – but he should answer questions). The lack of tax returns and likely conflicts of interest should also be explored. In short: President Trump is to be held to the same standards as every president before him.
Yet, as Michelle Obama said: “when they go low, we go high.” Now is the time to live up to that principle… and that means giving President Trump credit if he does propose actions to serve the people and if he does lead this country forward to strengthen our economy. Let us not be the Republican politicians under Obama. Let us be Americans first and Democrats second.
It is my sincere hope that, four years from now, I am voting for Donald Trump. I would rather be wrong in my fears and predictions than watch the nation suffer. The primary goal of Democrats should not be to make Donald Trump a one-term President, it should be to better this nation.
To Those who Voted for Trump
Congratulations. Your candidate has won and the Republican party is in full control of the government. Success or failure now rests squarely on their shoulders. Enjoy today, but please keep watch in the future. Donald Trump made many promises to earn your vote – I hope that you will hold him to what he said or to the ideals that you believe he represents.
I ask you to have patience for the protests. As stated above, they are nothing new – and I ask you to consider: were the situation reversed and Donald Trump had won the Popular Vote but lost the Presidency – how would you be reacting? It was a long and bitter campaign.
I ask you to watch your party and hold them responsible to any wrongdoings they commit. Partisanship is a real problem, and some Republican politicians have been up to shady maneuvers (looking at you, North Carolina). Hold your party accountable – make them work to fulfill the promises they have made.
I hope you share my willingness to be wrong. Just as I am prepared to vote for President Trump in four years, should he do well – please be open to voting against him, should he ultimately fall short of his promises and prove to BE the swamp, rather than drain it. Donald Trump ran as a President for the average working-class American, the fact that he has prominent Goldman-Sachs presence should be something to watch.
Do not let him undermine the media. Yeah – CNN is ratings and profit-driven – but a free press is essential to democracy. Watch who he criticizes and why – note if it is always in response to them saying bad things about him.
Vladimir Putin is no friend to democracy, so his preference for Trump is cause for alarm. That said, there is no evidence to suggest that Trump is a Russian puppet. I ask that you simply make sure that we do not become a nation that cozies up to dictators, simply because they helped the guy you voted for.
Essentially, I am asking you to be Americans first and Republicans second.
For All Americans
Perhaps I am naive, but I do not believe we have sixty-two million racists/sexists in this country. Perhaps I am foolish, but I do not believe we have sixty-five million people in this nation who are okay with political corruption. 2016 happened because of hyper-partisanship, propaganda, and the inability to talk to the other side. Let us all try our best to buck this disturbing trend in the next four years. As President Obama said in his Farewell Address: “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”
Be Americans first – reach out and look for common ground. Let us work, either with President Trump or against him, to ensure that this nation is able to make good on its claim to be the greatest nation on Earth.