My social media friends have different perspectives in the ongoing narrative of events unfolding from our nation’s capitol. Some are standing behind Donald Trump as the newly elected president. Some are in great defiance of his actions. Some prefer to post pictures of baby kittens or ooze soothing acclimations that we should all “chill” and take a warm, relaxing soak in the tub with a glass of pinot.
During the campaign speeches and rhetoric, I felt compelled to applaud my candidate in silence. I felt that I could brush the sand out of my hair when it was all over, and I could cheer on my new president. I didn’t want to brag about the fact that my candidate had the experience, the intellect, and the temperament to be a great president with the added bonus of being a woman. I felt assured in my thinking that the other party had nominated a blowhard, self-serving, lying narcissist. There was no comparison. How could anyone in their right mind choose him over her? So I kept my silence in smug assurance that I didn’t need to concern myself about the other candidate even coming close to winning.
Alas and alack I went to bed early on election night, trying to console myself with the fact that the blue states had not yet all been counted. I would be gratified in the morning when all votes were tallied. To my great dismay (and even shock), that did not happen. What had happened during the night while I slept in ignorance?
I mourned the resultant outcome for weeks and watched as my Donald-fans-friends gloated about how he had kicked butt and how he had defied the odds and defeated the rightful winner. I felt genuine depression – the likes of which I had never in my life felt before.
Even the upcoming holidays did not help to blunt my depression. I concentrated on family, festivities, and decorations – anything to take my mind off the pending doom which I knew (deep in my heart) was approaching. When Inauguration Day came, I was determined to boycott the event to punish the winner. I relished going to work that morning, knowing there was not a television in the office. I secretly wished that others would join me, and I applauded the Democrats in congress who also punished Donald Trump by not attending his ceremony of success.
I felt shame however when I rushed home from work that night to turn on the TV to see how the inauguration had transpired. I had hoped to see only Donald Trump’s family and newly chosen cabinet members at the ceremony and was disappointed to see others in the crowd. I later learned that the crowd size was of utmost importance to this president, and as it turned out the number of people attending was considerably smaller than those attending Barack Obama’s two inaugurations. A glow lit in my heart. I was also gratified to hear that his self-written speech was the incoherent, utter mess that all of his speeches had been during his campaign.
The day following the inauguration ceremony was the Saturday of the long-planned Women’s March 2017. My depression about the president subsided for an entire day. I watched in proud happiness, thrilled that approximately five million others in the world felt as I felt. I watched crowds gather and march in cities all across America and even across the world. Denver, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, St. Paul, Boston, Oakland, Paris, London, and even Antarctica rejoiced in the fact that women were important. Women (and the men who care for them) from all walks of life converged and joined together to send a signal to the new president that they had a voice. Their concerns were not trivial. They wanted a choice in how their government was run and what the government could not take away from them. They had fought this same fight in the 1970s and felt proud to reiterate the changes that they had helped to initiate during those dark times. Strength, pride, independence, stamina – I felt them all as I watched and cheered my sisters on. It was truly an eye-opening event, and it truly helped me to overcome my depression.
Maybe that was my turning point, my self-awareness cognizance, my aha moment. I could no longer shut my mouth to the truth of my convictions about this president. By his actions in his campaign, his inauguration, and now his daily tweets, bullying, and executive orders, he has alienated eleven countries already. With a favorable all-time low rating of 36%, he has proven that he is not stable, that disorder and chaos are his brand, and that in these initial days as president he doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. He has reiterated time and again that the media is his adversary. He has proven that the truth is his opposition.
We are beginning to see that his dividing and diverting tactics temporarily cover for his “alternative facts.” To look successful, he needs an enemy. During the campaign, his enemies were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Today it is the press. By manipulating his data, his advisors try to cover his emotional instability and immaturity. His ego cannot seem to be satiated.
I will no longer hide my feelings about this election behind complacency. In a democracy people are free to criticize elected leaders and representatives and to observe how they conduct the business of governing. The elected representatives are supposed to listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions. When they do not do this, the citizens have the right, nay the responsibility, to say and write what they think. No one can tell them what they must think, say, or believe. The worse thing they can do is to NOT talk about it. We cannot be defensive with free speech. We have learned this the hard way.
To the new administration I say this: We are not going to shut our mouths. You cannot intimidate us. We will find our voices and hopefully they will collectively overpower yours. Winning does not mean that you are right, only that you won. Americans have the Constitution to protect their rights and to limit the power of the government. No one is above the law including the elected president.