A Proper, Measured, Proportional Response
How People Across the Country Ought to React to the Presidency of Donald J. Trump
By. Raimondo Graziano
~ Written sometime after the 2016 Presidential Election
A specter of uncertainty has washed over Washington, and has poured out into the streets of cities across the expanse of the United States. The election of the 45th president of the United States was two weeks ago. For many Americans, like myself, who stayed awake, waiting with bated breath, until the early hours of the morning to witness the conclusion to a truly vitriolic election cycle; we were met with shock, disbelief, and a moment of pause was needed for a great many. For others, a sense of relief and triumph. Both are dually justified. We cannot be blind to the pains felt by all Americans. There is a great miscommunication going on in this country, we as a people of different races, creeds, and religions cannot without quarrel express fully what we all want, to live and work for our families, our neighbors. We all want what is best for our communities, we all live here – why should it be anything different and more complicated than that? As a country, all people must look each other in the faces and with confidence say who it is they voted for and why, and be able to discuss the topic amicably at that. Mudslinging amongst the populace does nothing but sow further division. So, know why you voted for the person you did, and say it proudly. That is your right. We all should be able to speak to our opinions without denigrating our own character and falling into verbal jousting. And we must all reject racism, bigotry, sexism and protect each other’s rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are stronger together, and we all must understand that we all can prosper, benefit and contribute to this American experiment.
This was a long, hard fought campaign for the democrats and for the republicans. It was a campaign unlike any seen before by noted political pundits and Washington insiders in their lifetimes. Both candidates were mired in their own respective controversies, though the weight and gravity of the words, actions, and those whom one candidate choose to surround himself with should have been justifiable enough for his disqualification. This was not so. The man who many on both aisles believed would not assume the presidency has been named the President-Elect. What is more troublesome is how his detractors, now in the wake of his triumph over all odds, have capitulated to the burden of civility. Let’s not forget that a day prior to the election, the current sitting President of the United States questioned whether it was responsible for a man who can be baited and thrown into rage over words exchanged online, to have access to the nuclear codes. And as the dust settled on the campaign, the President extended an olive branch, littered with words of encouragement and a faith in the American people, that they made the right choice.
How can those that have for the last year now been so adamantly opposed to a man, so graciously and acceptingly embrace this current reality? For the last eight years congress has vehemently opposed any major policy proposal made by the current administration. The major accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act are now fully on the chopping block, as well the Paris Climate Accord. Yes, premiums have risen, but how can we revoke healthcare access to the millions now insured? Instead of dismantling the bill in its entirety, why not work to improve the existing laws, to lower premiums and insure that more Americans gain access to affordable healthcare? And let the record hold that attempts to improve the bill have been made, though blocked by a Republican held Congress who, since the current President has taken office, has said that they wish to obstruct, though not in such explicit terms, the office and agenda of the presidency. How can we pull out of an agreement, the Paris Accords, signed between almost every major nation part of this global community, that is meant to curb the staggering effects of climate change, all of which is supported unanimously by the scientific community? When we have a political party that denies the importance of this science, we have an existential problem. Difference of opinion on matters of economic, foreign, and political matters is all fine, though on matters of indisputable science, rooted in reality as it is, is dangerous.
Of course, these concessions made are made to keep peace and order in the country. The current administration out of respect for the democratic process must yield to the incoming administration. Though I will say this. The votes for the Electoral College, are yet to be cast. And it is in their hands to whom the presidency goes, and within their judgement to decide if the will of the American people trumps the overwhelming immensity of push back the current President-Elect has received from policy experts, current and past presidents, world leaders and people throughout the global community. Could all these voices be wrong? I would say not, for they come from numerous backgrounds and fields of study. This atmosphere of political turmoil was created by a despondent, disconnected Washington who left just enough people disillusioned and without hope, just enough to allow for the rise of a demagogue who tapped into anger, and fear and turned it into a political movement, one that came out ferociously and voted. We cannot ignore these people, nor resort to calling them names, and offering them our silence. The best we can hope to do, given the circumstances is to offer our ears, our hearts (as hard as that may seem) to them, to open a dialogue so that we may convey our ideas, humbly, not with arrogance, and try to bring people into the fray so that all can benefit from a government that should be representative of its people. We offer a dialogue in a hope that we may find common ground on issues, reject that which is racist, classist, and otherwise divisionary and find ways to work cooperatively. There must be dialogue. For those elected officials in congress who worked and campaigned against the rhetoric and the proposals made by the incoming Trump Administration, they ought to continue their work tirelessly, and promise to block and obstruct any proposal, appointment or otherwise that would be deemed a threat to our national security, our national identity and our democratic values (not the democratic party, mind you). Members of both parties should sign an open letter to the President-Elect expressing these very thoughts.
For those in colleges and universities, schools across the country, it is doing little to further our cause when in the face of a great loss we chose to retract inwardly. It does not foster communication, or dialogue when we choose to turn to grief counselors, and children’s toys, cancelling classes and examinations, to protect our ‘feelings’. I know you are hurting, I understand why, I can emphasize and sympathize, but the methods chosen to voice your concern and dissatisfaction are wholly misrepresentative of the mood and feeling felt by many, though the attention is on you. The attention and coverage is on you, let that sink in; there is a moment here for our voices to be heard respectfully and with great impact. But we are neglecting our chance. In one moment our generation was called the next probable ‘Great Generation’, now we are spat on. This of course was based off of our aversion to ideas that we deem offensive or not in line with our way of thinking. Our resounding unity we exhibited in the face of this election was for naught, our ‘unity’ was rooted in our collective need for grief counseling and for ‘safe spaces’, and for a general yelling and screaming. The fact that we must have these ‘safe spaces’ shows that in fact the world around us is not safe, and rather than confront the issue with courage and resolve we resort to small closed off locales where we do not have to face those that hold differing views and who are just as passionate and caring for their country and family as we are. Rather than confront our differences with debate and facts, we closed off. And now the voices of moderation, cooperation and open discussion of ideas are pushed aside for the more boisterous and loud voices that have taken it upon themselves to be the representatives of our time. The coverage now is showing a group of protesters, united in a loathing for a man and his ideas, though what is being said does not express fully, and intricately the changes we want and why! What is shown is protesters who in some cases are destroying property, and shouting profanities. I understand the frustration and the anger, but there are those that do not see it, and they only see cretins and punks. For those engaging in these acts, you are not helping this cause, you are emboldening a group that already has little respect for your ideas and opinions, only giving them fodder to their argument that our generation is one of an entitled lot, who cannot accept a loss, and who cannot work for anything because we don’t know what work is. In respect to grief counselors, advisors and children’s toys, I say this – In times of great adversity and challenge did men and women past resort to this, or did they grieve in private, and in the midst of each other work not to further grief and pain and perpetuate a feeling of loss, but rather rise and work to see their goals anew, starting from the bottom if they had to. What we are showing today is not what great men and women of the past would have advocated for or been a part of. What we are showing is a generation incapable of rising to any occasion and disinterested in showing our true colors.
I know that is not true, I have seen what those around are capable of. And we have been told for a long time, that we are not in any position to do a thing. Now is the time to show our class, our respect, our intelligence and our work ethic. Now is the time to show people, what it is we stand for, and that we are tolerant and open to debating with those who share a different opinion. We cannot dismiss people for their views, we must listen and work from there regardless of how passionately we feel about a subject. Passion is good, it is needed in this world now more than ever, but passion is at fault if it prohibits you from being able to work and speak with others who hold different views. If we have ever had a chance to prove something, or someone, an institution, wrong, it is now. Protest, but ensure it is peaceful, organized and with purpose and an objective in mind, each time you mount the streets. Discuss your opinions and displeasure, not through cleverly worded witticisms accompanied by a mildly amusing photo, through your words! Through your ability to articulately form a sentence and hold onto an idea for more than minute. Now is an important time for our generation, an opportunity to divest ourselves from social media, and fleeting sources of happiness, and to invest our time and efforts into our families, our studies, and most importantly our civic duties – to voice our concerns and speak our minds with great confidence and great poise. Leaflet your congressman, assemble outside of their offices, use social media as a tool for discourse, all forms. And don’t forget that you as an American have a responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution for all, those in office aren’t the only men and women obligated to serve their county. We all live and reside here. And every man, woman and child ought to keep a good stock, and pride in their house.
For those who supported the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, I congratulate you, but want you to understand that there is a great concern felt by many who did support your candidate. You must know, there are voices on your side who have called for openly racist, and bigoted stances to be adopted by the current President-elect. And it is in this sense that many are concerned, some of the policy positions taken by the President-Elect would harm many Americans, and harm our national security and standing in a global community that looks to our nation for guidance and support in many cases. We want a dialogue, we want to be united, but we won’t be quiet to any injustice, economic, social or otherwise that we see. We have a responsibility to each other to ensure progress is made, and we cannot stagnate simply because we refuse to listen to one another. For those of you that supported Trump, I urge you disavow the voice that has been given to racism and division. I urge you to oppose those appointments and policies that would be converse to our guiding principles. I urge you to do the same as those who did not support your candidate – Protest, but ensure it is peaceful, organized and with purpose and an objective in mind, each time you mount the streets. Discuss your opinions and displeasure, not through cleverly worded witticisms accompanied by a mildly amusing photo, through your words! Through your ability to articulately form a sentence and hold onto an idea for more than minute. Now is an important time for our generation, an opportunity to divest ourselves from social media, and fleeting sources of happiness, and to invest our time and efforts into our families, our studies, and most importantly our civic duties – to voice our concerns and speak our minds with great confidence and great poise. Leaflet your congressman, assemble outside of their offices, use social media as a tool for discourse, all forms. And don’t forget that you as an American have a responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution for all, those in office aren’t the only men and women obligated to serve their county – So revel in your victory, but don’t become complacent and fall into the trap of another would-be politician selling you hope, and solutions. You too have an obligation to ensure the integrity of our nation is withheld. The President is not the answer to our nation’s problems, we are. You are. We will only figure them out, if we can extend our hands to those around us in an attempt to create a tolerant open society. Put politics aside, and the two former candidates at the center of this, at the end of the long day we the people, the collective, make up the momentum of the nation, we choose the direction in which the winds blow. All else simply responds and acts according to it.
For the media there is much work to be done, and this election is the single biggest indicator of said fact. Our media has become increasingly polarized and sensationalized. No longer is there a news channel that can report on the news without added commentary and political ideologies and ideologues getting involved. The media is the medium of the truth, a bridge between the government and the people, and ought to act that way. Money and politics must be separated, yes, but money and the media must also be greatly distanced. The ability for the media and journalists to buy into political parties through contributions and donations effectively blurring the line between what constitutes as a opinion and solid truth is disparaging. Through the use of money to buy column inches, and air time, the media has effectively become a tool of political parties to advance their agendas. If you don’t like what you hear on one station, simply change it and there you have a whole new interpretation of the facts. And this has created an information crisis, a populace not knowing what to believe, who to trust and where to turn to for accurate and credible information on their country, and the world at large. The aura of celebrity must leave the Newsroom, it has no place in a proper democracy, and republic. The media must understand that they, whether they like it or not, are public servants and they hold in their hands a power, a great deal of it – it’s called the truth. What they choose to do with it, report it or no, is in their hands. And if this election is any benchmark on the current standing of the media as public service, I would say they are doing a poor and appalling job.
We live in changing times, and the advent of the phone and other tools of our own devu have perhaps caused a great disconnect among people, while they are all tools for great good, the way in which we use them does not reflect an intelligent people at times, what it more often than not reflected is infantilism, a lack of understanding for what we now grasp in our hands. We have allowed these tools to supplement interaction and dialogue, we use them for toys instead of instruments of change. We’ve allowed it to let a deep apathy wash over us, as if the rest of the world, no matter who or where we are, does not matter at all. Our democracy, our republic, only works, if we work for it. And now more than ever, our republic needs the guidance of a well-educated, tolerant, open, and engaged people ready to sift through the nonsense, and get down to it. We all have obligations, and we would do well to remember not to forget or forgo the one to our nation and its lofty and hard fought for ideals.