By Crystal Defatte
Today was the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. I cringe every time I think about it. I am not a supporter. I did not vote for him. I did not and do not believe he will make a good president. I am opposed to everything he seems to embody. I do not believe he will make America great again, whatever that means. Still, he is my president.
He lost the popular vote, but we do not elect presidents by way of popular vote. He won the electoral college vote, and that is how we elect presidents. To say he is not my president or that he is an illegitimate president is simply incorrect. I don’t like that he is my president, but he is.
I don’t wish for him to fail. I hope he is an extraordinary president. I hope he brings about an era of prosperity and peace like never before. I just don’t see it happening based on the things he says and seems to support. There is a difference between opposing the President because we oppose his policies and opposing the President because he comes from the wrong team. We’ve seen eight years of Republican obstructionism for its own sake, and we must not fall into the same pattern. We have an opportunity to reframe the position of loyal opposition to include grace and class. We must do this not because it might make us look good (I doubt it will sway any voters to our side next time around) or because we hope to influence others to do the same (many won’t regardless), but because it is part of our moral code to do so. When they go low, we go high. We don’t do it as some kind of tactic, a means to an end, we do it because that is who we are.
Civility is not weakness. We do not give up, we do not surrender, and we do not compromise on those things that cannot morally be compromised on. We fight with everything that we have for everything we hold dear. I simply ask that we do so in a manner worthy of the task at hand. Do not say he is not your president, for how can you fight to hold him to a Presidential standard if you do not acknowledge him as such? Do not call him names, attack his actions. When speaking to others, speak of why he’s wrong, not just about how much you dislike him. People outside of the Democratic Party will not listen if all we are doing is attacking the President, but they may listen if we can give reasoned arguments of opposition to policy. And if pigs should fly, hell freeze over, and a miracle occurs, if he were to somehow do something right, we must acknowledge and support that as well. We can not cut off our nose to spite our face.
Trump is my president. I do not need to have any respect for the man in order to behave in a respectable manner myself when dealing with that fact. I cannot guarantee I’ll always live up to my own ideals, but I will try, and I urge you all to try with me.
Crystal is a 32 year old mom with a passion for progressive politics and activism. She currently resides in Bettendorf, IA.