Jean Has a Long Mustache: Children’s Bedtime Stories

I’ve decided to write a kids’ book — a new version of “That’s Not My Bear.” See what you think (please imagine cute, illustrated drawings complete with things you can touch, like fuzzy white hair made out of cotton):

That’s Not My President (a Touchy-Feely book)

That’s not my president…his skin is too orange. That’s not my president…his hair is too fake. That’s not my president…he doesn’t think before he speaks. That’s not my president…he didn’t win the most votes. That’s not my president…he doesn’t believe in facts. That’s my president…the unpredictable puppet on the stage.

Ok, so it clearly is for a targeted audience and likely would only be bought by a specific group of parents, but I think I might be able to sell a few copies. I’ve always wanted to write a book, this just wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

The thing is, I wouldn’t even buy this book. I don’t believe it and don’t buy into the idea that Trump isn’t my president (shocking, I know). Don’t get me wrong, I wish he wasn’t my president. But there’s an assumption right now that anyone who resists the Trump agenda, the laws that are going into effect, or the changes that have been happening in our government rejects Trump as their president. I see it in people’s comments all the time: “You liberal snowflakes just need to get over it. He’s your president so just deal with it” or “Shut up and move on. You need to respect the president, not protest him.” I could go on and on, but you get the general idea.

The reality is, I fully believe and accept that Trump is president. My president. That includes the orange skin (really, back off on the fake tan), fake hair, obnoxious comments and all. He is my president despite the fact that I can’t get behind most of what I hear and read coming out of the White House. He is my president despite the fact that I feel alienated, isolated, and rejected by friends and family who support Trump. Trump was elected by the rules of our country, despite the fact that the “majority” of us did not actually vote for him. And I put “majority” in quotes not because I have any question about voter fraud or the validity of the election, but because such a significant portion of our country did not vote at all. So, given the research-y person that I am, I can only take this as a sample and draw broad conclusions (meaning a correlation) because there are always sampling errors. The reality is, Trump’s campaign strategy was better, he won, he was voted for by the electoral college, he was sworn in, and he is the president.

The thing is, it’s over. Nothing can change the past. My fantasies that Olivia Pope from Scandal is a real person who can come sweeping in with her white hat and find some way to fix everything doesn’t change a thing. Yet Trump keeps bringing the election results up and here I am bringing it up yet again. I’m not sure why Trump keeps bringing it up. I have my suspicions that it is to deflect from other issues and to boost his ego, but I don’t really know why. I do know why I am bringing it up and it’s because the right is saying that if you oppose the president, protest against him, disagree with the policies that are being put into place, voice anger/frustration/fear about what is going on, or if you just aren’t “on board,” you just haven’t gotten over the election.

There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. My disgust at what I see happening in the government has nothing to do with me still pining for what might have been. Taking action, protesting, writing, and just trying to be heard has nothing to do with Hillary and everything to do with making sure that I don’t get lost in the crowd and that the things I value don’t get shoved aside.

This “you’re either with us or you’re against us” attitude is dangerous. As much as the current administration has talked about how politically correct speech has been damaging to free speech, they have essentially created a new form of political correctness — one that involves absolute acceptance of what is being presented. If you don’t agree, you need to shut up, sit down, and not ask questions (just ask the Jewish reporter who dared to ask a question about anti-semitic acts throughout the country). If you aren’t “friendly” towards the administration, you are an enemy of the government. This push towards a new kind of singular thought is frightening. In order to have a healthy democracy, there must be the ability to voice alternative views, to question the government and demand answers, to protest when you don’t agree with something, and to speak out against things that you don’t agree with. If the citizens of our country, and this most importantly includes the press, are not allowed to voice their concerns, frustrations, and beliefs — even when they are different from the government — our democracy will cease to exist.

I don’t know anymore. Maybe that is what people want. Maybe people want the government to tell them what the “facts” are, even if they are “alternative facts” and in direct contradiction to what they see before them. Maybe it’s easier because there is less questioning, less thought, less effort. I just don’t know. Facts don’t seem to mean anything to anyone anymore and reality is starting to become whatever is being presented to people — whether it really is, well, real.

I’ve heard people question whether or not this is the end of our civilization and, in all honesty, Bannon’s interview at the CPAC conference and not inviting the “mainstream,” evil, media to the press conference yesterday has made that seem more plausible than I ever really thought possible. I don’t know if civilization as we know it is ending or not, but I do know that if we don’t do something to ensure that our voices are heard, that if we sit down and shut up because we are scared of the consequences, that if we don’t fight to make sure that our rights are protected, and that if we don’t protect the media, democracy as we know it will change. And it may not be a change for the better.

I still may write a kids’ book, but I’d like it to be more like this:

That’s my president…he helped to ensure the rights of those who can’t always defend themselves. That’s my president…he bolstered our healthcare system and helped more people get insured. That’s my president…he respects differing views, even when he doesn’t agree with them. That’s my president…he helped create a country where difference is respected and valued. That’s my president…he presents facts and uses them to support effective policies. That’s my president…he protected free speech and our democracy.

I think that book may be as unrealistic as Olivia coming to save the day, but I hope someone (I’m looking at you Mr. President) proves me wrong.