Happier Times

Donald Trump is not my president. Let me elaborate on that…

On Friday night, I stood in front of Trump Tower and yelled. I, along with all the the other yellers, shouted chants in support of women’s rights, the protection of the environment, welcoming immigrants, protecting LGBT rights, and in general promoting the inclusion and safety of people from all walks of life.

There was one refrain that I yelled a bit louder, which I believe most succinctly summarizes my thoughts at this moment:

NOT MY PRESIDENT

Donald Trump is not my president. I do not mean to say that I dispute the legitimacy or result of the election, despite the fact that I belong to the plurality of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton and the majority of Americans who voted against Donald Trump. Donald Trump won the electoral vote, and though I think this system has substantial flaws that have been starkly illuminated in this election that every American (even those who at this moment benefit) should be deeply concerned about, I accept the result: Donald Trump will be the next president.

But Donald Trump will never be my president. I reject the central tenets of nearly all of his policies and beliefs (at least, the small fraction that he managed to coherently articulate during his campaign). I reject his anti-intellectualism, his narcissism, his complete lack of impulse control and restraint, and especially his misogynistic and xenophobic rhetoric. I am fearful for the policy changes he will enact. I have little expectation that he will seek any form of compromise with those that disagree with him (as he himself has demonstrated throughout his campaign, and already several times over as president elect). I find him to be untalented, unintelligent, and unprepared, and I have absolutely no confidence in his ability to effectively govern.

He cannot ever win my support or respect. This is not a refusal on my part to give him a chance to lead. He had a chance, but for me and many who share my views, the line was crossed several times before, during, and after his campaign. This is the price that he paid for running on a divisive, fear-mongering, hatred-normalizing, truth-evading campaign.

I am still a proud and patriotic American who accepts the rule of law. That will never change regardless of the results of any election. Some of the anti-Trump protesters make unpalatable statements, burn American flags, or engage in violent or destructive actions. Though I feel their same anger, I disagree with the methods by which they are communicating it. They do not represent the majority of us who are peacefully expressing our constitutional right to voice our dissent, just as vocal and unabashed xenophobes or white nationalists do not represent the entirety of those who support Trump.

All of us, regardless of political stance, need to apply a bit more nuance in what we say and how we perceive the world around us. We need to understand that those voices who say the most offensive and shocking things are the ones that are the most often recorded, retweeted, and shared. There is not a big market for subtlety these days, and now more than ever, we are going to need to get better at parsing out the trustworthy from the clickworthy.