On This Inauguration Eve

9

January 19, 2017 by Julia

It’s easy to call for unification and forgiveness and respect and acceptance when you are in the winning party. I know Obama asked us to do the same after he took office, and the conservatives resented him, too, and then fought him every step of the way during his eight years as president.

The difference is, Obama has never acted like a crazy or reprehensible person (to my knowledge).

Stop pretending as though Obama’s presidency resembles in any way Trump’s campaign or these past weeks leading up to his inauguration. Don’t try to act like it’s just politics as usual, and we’re being sore losers. If a respectable man of integrity had been elected from the Republican party, I wouldn’t be losing my mind right now along with more than half of America. Don’t try to pretend that Obama ever prompted this kind of negative reaction among average Americans. I don’t claim that he was a perfect president, but based on my average-level understanding of the economy and the state of our country, he has been a good one, and I rejoice that an African-American man not only made it to office, but elevated it with his thoughtful intelligence and goodness beyond any president of my lifetime. I also rejoice that racist crazies did not manage to assassinate him during his presidency. Meanwhile, Trump has done and said so many things unbecoming of a president that if you deny it, or dare to compare him to Obama any longer, you are either totally brainwashed, or can’t swallow your pride. Regardless of what you believe about policy, healthcare, or the economy, Trump is not a good man. Obama is. Just admit that, at least. Please. Before I have a complete breakdown.

Trump’s election and the conservative evisceration of Obama and Hillary Clinton is a nearly perfect example of the double standards for wealthy white men in America. Who can deny that Hillary’s transgressions were much less than Trump’s? And if Obama had tried just one of the outbursts Trump manages every other day, he never would have made it into government at all. Of course as a black man he had to be nearly flawless in his words and behavior. And somehow his opponents tried to turn that flawlessness into something that couldn’t be trusted, as though his charisma and intelligence masked something menacing. Meanwhile, America is excusing Trump, over and over and over again.

I don’t think I can unite with whatever part of America continues to defend this man.

We all want to be right so badly at this point. I get it. My kids fight almost every day. Some days I stoop to their level, and start with the name-calling or finger-pointing, so gripped with fury and the need to prove myself right that sometimes, later, I can’t even remember what exactly we were fighting about – the anger had blinded me. Clearly, this is happening in America. “She started it!” “It’s his fault!” “You just did that thing you told me never to do!” “I thought we weren’t allowed to say ‘Shut up,’ Mommy!”

And there is an element of that for me politically, too – I admit it. I do want to see past the anger, because there are more important things than being proven right in the end. It’s just that every time I open my eyes and see another Trump-related headline or, more tellingly, video clip or tweet, there is so much to despise. His complete lack of character is as plain as day, regardless of political party. Anger and disbelief is a natural response. It’s like he has purple hair and everyone who defends him keeps saying, “No, he doesn’t. Stop attacking our new President.” And I want to say, “He flaunts his purple hair! And still you deny it? Really?!? We are not crazy for pointing out his purple hair. We are not imagining it. Please wake up.”

I am marching because my kids’ elementary school has a zero-tolerance policy against bullying, and yet we (debatably) elected one as president. I am standing up for my American brothers and sisters, even the ones who voted for him (the ones he has manipulated and stepped upon to gain power), and I am saying, No, you will not get away with the same shit you’ve gotten away with for your entire life, because we, the American people are watching you, and we will stand up and point out your wrongs. I will not go about my usual business and say it’s okay to behave as you do. My kids know better than to talk to people the way that you do. But it’s not just about manners, dignity or tradition. Your disrespect for the office, for the American people, for non-American people, for everyone, really…it can’t take us anywhere good. We deserve better. All of us.

I get that people think he is going to bring jobs. Let’s think about that for a moment. Do you believe that any means will justify the ends? Do you want a shady businessman doing whatever it takes behind closed doors so that you can earn a living again? You might admit, “Yeah, he’s kind of gross. But he’ll get it done.” Which begs the question, what kind of job do you think this corrupt, impulsive, lying bully will do, in bringing your jobs? Does he strike you as the type to care about quality solutions or people’s lives, regardless of how much attention it earns him? Do you think those jobs will last, or become a permanent solution for you and your children and grandchildren?

When was the last time a man of absolutely no integrity or character had a lasting positive effect on our country? NEVER.

The point of government is to determine how best we should live individually and socially, with the right amounts of freedom and limits, responsibility and independence.

Why in the world would we look at Donald Trump’s behavior, legacy and attitude and then decide that he has any idea how to guide our country along? Because he has flashy gold things and tells us he’s awesome? Do you actually believe any of the words that come out of his mouth? Why? One of his biggest boasts is that he can ruthlessly sell anything. His favorite product is himself, and his favorite profits are attention, power and money.

Look at his life and stop denying that it is just bad, please. It is the worst. The gold, the women as trophies, the constant lies and ego trips and draft-dodging and tax-evasion and crappy buildings built in gaudy poor taste, the utter lack of compassion for anyone who can’t give him what he wants. And on and on and on. Why does he get to be on the “patriotic side”? I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I, a “normal” American woman, care more about the citizens and future of this country than he does.

I want truth, even if it proves me wrong. I don’t believe Trump wants truth. I think he likes to toy with it, “create” whatever truth is most convenient for his personal gain. Creating truths haphazardly is lying, but he probably doesn’t even see it that way, because to him the ultimate truth is personal gain at any cost. Self-preservation and aggrandizement are his gods, and he is very proud that he has served them so well.

He deliberately exploited the kind of nostalgia that reeks of racism, sexism and xenophobia in order to get elected. That “again.” Why not just “Make America Great”? Do you believe that America really was great in some way that it is not now, and if so how do you define “great”? I don’t deny that there has always been aspects of greatness in our country, but don’t let someone manipulate you into believing there was ever an American utopia, not even for wealthy white men like Trump himself, because where there is oppression, ignorance, and injustice everyone suffers.  

America’s diversity is our strength, and the most American thing about us. The fact that our citizens are descended from captured African slaves, ripped-off natives and abused immigrants and we are still here IS what makes us great. That the African-American community and its allies continues to fight for justice and freedom is what makes us great. I am proud to be a citizen of this country where people have risen out of oppression and made the world shine with wisdom, music, spirit, perseverance and grit. As a white woman, I don’t get to claim that my ancestors underwent anything like the trials of slavery; no doubt many of my own ancestors were on the wrong side of American history in that regard, possibly even owning slaves themselves. But I care enough about my fellow Americans to say, “Hell no, we’re not going backwards in history. I acknowledge that our history has been treacherous and unjust for many people because of countless forms of bigotry, and no nostalgia for the cute white culture of the 1950s is worth stepping upon others for.”

I am proud to call the people who have made it, against all odds, my fellow citizens. Men and women of history and present day, who work towards a greater love and freedom – or who simply want to live, or feed their children, or escape abuse, and just keep going, fighting for life – you inspire me. You are my America. I don’t have to be yours, and I know you don’t exist for my benefit. But I cherish you: the rabble-rousers, the escape artists, the pioneers, the people who stood and marched and sang and wrote the truth. You are the people who make my America great.

A bully who uses and abuses my America is about to become our leader. It’s not okay. My kids are learning to speak up about bullying. I am going to speak up, too. I will march on Washington D.C. this Saturday for my America, because I am with you and I love you, and this is not okay.

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9 thoughts on “On This Inauguration Eve

  1. vjthurston says:

    I am with you, Julia!!!

  2. Jennifer England says:

    Wow, great commentary. My thoughts exactly.

  3. Yes! This. A thousand times, this! Thanks so much for eloquently stating what has been screaming in my head for so very long now. Marching with you.

    • Julia says:

      Thank you, Tiffany! Your words on the subject have given me catharsis, too, and helped me to articulate my own thoughts. We’re all in this thing together.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Wow, Julie. So well said, so reflects the same passion and angst that I too feel. We will stand up!

  5. kathyk11 says:

    So well said. I am with you 100%. Be safe on Saturday. I’ll be with you in spirit!!!

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