I have friends and family on both sides of the political aisle. Growing up in a conservative family in a conservative midwestern town and now living these past 20 years in a liberal California city, I’ve inhabited both sides of the political aisle. And I’ve come to see that we’re all the same for the most part – we want to live our lives without outside interference, we want to take care of our own, and we all want fairness, kindness, peace, love. And we all have an uncanny ability to believe the worst of those who look or sound or think differently from us.
For the most part, I find political discourse valuable. The role and scope of government in our lives is a legitimate, worthwhile debate with, usually, no clear-cut answers. This is how we govern ourselves. This is how live together. Sometimes I’ll find myself on the conservative side of an issue, and sometimes on the liberal. And sometimes my position will change depending on the circumstances. I am generally unconcerned with which side of the aisle our president comes from, as long as I believe he or she is overall qualified, smart, kind towards others in public and private, and has the intention to work towards making the country better for everybody. I don’t oppose someone I disagree with if I believe they have these qualities.
I oppose the person of Donald J. Trump.
In the past year I have seen and heard him, on video (no media bias or manipulation necessary):
- Encourage violence at his rallies
- Mock a disabled reporter
- Insult and denigrate women
- Boast of his ability to sexually assault women
- Generally insult, bully, mock, and intimidate anyone who disagrees with him and questions him
This is behavior I would be appalled to see in my children. I would be ashamed to face my parents if I acted the same. I don’t care if this person agrees with my position on every single issue. This is a person I would never want on my team, let alone leading me.
But he is our president now. I respect the presidency and the Constitution. If he proposes something that appears unconstitutional, I will protest it loudly and vociferously. If he proposes something I simply disagree with, I will argue against it, but work with the results. If he proposes something I agree with, I will cautiously support it, for our country. In all of this, until I see him demonstrate humility and kindness towards all, I will oppose him, the person.
I understand the anger at Washington and the desire to clean it out. I share that anger. But we the people could have done better. We the people should have done better. We must do better in the future, starting now. We must appeal to the better nature in ourselves and each other. We must demand of ourselves and our leaders respect and civility towards each other and the great effort to understand and love one another.
President Trump is the mirror of where we are right now. Take a hard look. Take a hard look at how he acts and speaks and treats others. And then let’s start cleaning and taking care of ourselves so we can be proud to look in the mirror once again.
I intend to march tomorrow. I march for my friends who fear they may be marginalized or worse based on things the president has said. I march to reaffirm my right and those of all Americans to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I march to reaffirm my right to not have the government determine for me what my happiness should look like. And I march to speak up for respect, kindness, civility, and tolerance toward all people who desire to live in peace.