How to address TrumpPolitically Aware, Bottom Highlights, Latest Issue Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Commentary: Politically Aware
What Donald Trump has done in the days since his inauguration disgusts me. In that time, I have joined marches, breakfasts and rallies to oppose his actions. I have seen signs that inspire hope, invite discussion and incite anger. I can empathize or sympathize with them all, including those that say “Not my President.”
Yet for my part, I will still call him President Trump.
Lest we forget, Donald Trump relaunched his political career as the leader of the “birthers.” He spent time and treasure trying to prove that President Obama, who won both the Electoral College and the popular vote, wasn’t legitimate because he was allegedly born in Kenya. His stances were racist and hateful, and he only recanted his obstinance when he needed to seem sane.
Sadly, that doesn’t change the rules of our … Republic. If you were looking for “Democracy”, we aren’t one. The president is chosen by the Electoral College, and Donald Trump won, despite being millions of votes behind. I believe that he was an inferior candidate and aided by Russian tampering, but Trump convinced enough people in enough states that he was the better choice.
He did that in part by continuing to trample the norms of politics. He refused to disclose his taxes. He insulted Americans individually and in groups. He made up his own facts and stood by them despite clear evidence to the contrary. All of it, including bragging about sexual assault, was made palatable to some under the guise of straight-talking relatability.
Now he is trampling the norms of government. He has placed political advisor Steve Bannon at the top level of the National Security Council, demoting some intelligence officers, and claiming incorrectly that President Obama had done the same thing, causing David Axelrod to refer to himself as an “alternate fact.” His travel ban was so poorly thought out that enforcement agencies were caught as flat-footed as the rest of the world. On Monday, he fired the acting attorney general for her unwillingness to defend it.
America is getting a crash course in the importance of institutional respect because President Trump has none. We are learning that many things we believed were true about how America works had simply not been challenged by someone with no shame who is willing to create his own reality. If we are ever to repair the damage, we will need to make Trump’s time the aberration, not the new norm.
So I will still give the Office of the President the respect I feel it deserves, regardless of my opinion on the occupant. I will fight against his hateful policies as hard as I can, but I will call him President Trump until his term expires or he is impeached, and hope the nation will do the same for the next person of a different gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity to win in the Electoral College.
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