Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inaugural Pledge

For all of my life, I have paid attention to presidential inaugurations.  A minimum, I’ve found time to hear the president’s speech.  At maximum, I’ve watched every moment.   In 2008, I kept my son home from school so we could watch Barack Obama’s inauguration together.  I wanted JT to forever remember the historic moment.

But 2017 is different.  It’s not just that my candidate didn’t win the Electoral College while winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.  I watched the inauguration of George W. Bush, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote to Al Gore.  Today’s inauguration of the spectacularly unqualified Donald J. Trump is  a profound disappointment for me.  In the months since Donald Trump’s November election, I’ve dreaded the moment that our nation’s collective fate is in the hands this self-absorbed megalomaniac.  I will eventually find time to read the Cheetoh Kleptocrat’s speech.  I will be glad of a peaceful transition of power.  But after that, everything about this day is filled with anxiety.  There is no cause for celebration.

And so I pledge to stand tall for equality and justice; for the liberty that we the people claim for ourselves and must always cultivate.  Our nation has endured and even flourished in the face of outside threats to our values.  The test moving forward is to endure and flourish when the threat comes from inside.  I would be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t afraid.  

On the evening of the election, as the horrible realization dawned upon us, my liberal 16 year old son developed a case of hives to go with his growing anxiety about the meaning of Trump’s victory.  Repeatedly, I reassured him that we would be fine and that the task that lay ahead would be for us to make sure to look after those who might not be fine in a Trump Administration.  And then my big strong boy, the son of two mothers who has not once experienced discrimination against his family, asked if his moms and their partners would be safe.  I reassured him that gay folks have endured much worse than Donald J. Trump and that we would be around long after he was gone.  

For me, that moment is the compass the directs me as we move forward.  I will not live in fear.    

I am strong.  I am in the majority.  I will not bend in the face of threats to values that have endured far longer than the bluster of one hateful, ignorant man.   This is our country just as much as it is Mr. Trump’s.  He is the test history has sent us.  I pledge to resist him with every fiber of my being.  I will be strong.  I will be good.  I will stand with the vulnerable.  I will speak truth the power.  Every day, for as long as it takes.

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