What I Learned Today: A Tale of Two Presidents (1/21/17)
The Women’s March, like Trump’s victory, caught a lot of people by surprise. Yes it was massive. Yes it was amazing. Yes it was unprecedented. Yes it was global. But the very best part of it was that it was inspired by Trump. Never in history has there been a president whose election has inspired a worldwide revolution. Because that’s what I believe today was — the start of a revolution. The map below is a picture of where women and men marched today. And that was just in the US. Women and men came together from Every. Single. Continent. Even. Freaking. Antartica.
What I learned today is what Trump learned today — that as much as he tries to diminish President Obama, as much as he continues to overuse the words “tremendous” and “huge,” he will never be half the man his predecessor was. And if he doesn’t let it go, it is going to destroy him. His fixation on Obama started with his continuation of the disgusting birther movement and intensified when Obama basically clowned him at the 2011 White House Correspondence dinner. From that point on, he had a need to show the world he was better than Obama.
Theirs is an interesting comparison because their stories could not be more paradoxical. One started life with major advantages while the other at a distinct disadvantage. One speaks often of the love and respect for the women in his life. The other is known for referring to women by their body parts and numerical rankings. One has often been criticized for being too genteel while the other sometimes couldn’t be more crass. One ran on a campaign of hope while the other ran on messages inspired by fear.
Nine years ago, cameras captured people around the globe celebrating the victory of an Obama presidency and all the hope it seemed to represent for them, despite living thousands of miles away. Today we had a worldwide, grassroots revolt, the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Throw in the fact that Obama’s inauguration was the largest in history and Trump’s is shaping up to be the smallest and you end up with a weekend designed to represent his biggest victory over Obama ending up the equivalent of another White House Correspondence dinner roast.
That he chose to fixate on the media’s inaugural comparisons during his very first press conference, on just his second day of office, despite a Dead Sea Scroll of issues to tackle, suggests he will continue to be psychologically haunted by the ghost of Obama and likely prioritize personal vendettas over national concerns.
But for all the damage and division a Trump presidency threatens, it also has the opportunity to make us more unified than ever and to activate us in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise. What I learned today is that: sometimes you have to recognize that the enemy is within; what man intends for evil, God often intends for good; and, that the people who Obama inspired nine years ago, still have hope.