Look… I “get it.” I understand why so many people reject this president. I feel the same way. If you are reading this thinking it is some sort of endorsement for the president elect, then seek elsewhere. This is not an endorsement. But it still might piss you off.
I believe in voting. Because, unfortunate as it may be, I believe there is such thing as a “lesser evil.” To willingly give up the sliver of influence I have to determine how much less evil will wield power in the White House, makes no sense to me. But I do not live in the illusion that the lesser evil is somehow good. Call it; preferable. And for all you thinking, “both parties are the same,” I say, no they are not. They are both abhorrent, but in different ways.
In a nut shell; I do not believe our government to be the highest form of human organization that so many do. At the same time, I participate in the process in order to exercise what power is afforded me by an authoritarian structure.
Got it? Ok.
What is bothering me about the #NotMyPresident movement is what it means in terms of democracy as we practice it. I totally support the meaning of the words; Not My President. But this applies to ALL presidents. We don’t get to pick and choose when our democracy is really “our” democracy.
Those of you folks who felt Yes My President with President Obama in office, but now feel Not My President for the new guy… I just don’t have time for you. Maybe pick a new slogan. Because what I am hearing is, “since we don’t like the new guy, we are willing to abandon our democratic system.” What?
Listen; I really hate to be the bearer of bad news but… this is how our form of democracy works. Sometimes the candidate you like wins, and sometimes the candidate you don’t like wins. The new guy’s victory is not some aberration of democracy. He played the game and won. Remember that for the last eight years the conservative opposition has been at the same game. Questioning the president’s legitimacy, ability, morals, loyalties… even his status as a citizen. President Obama won the last two elections. That’s how our democracy works. The conservatives that undermined his legitimacy as a president, sound no different than the liberals today claiming Not My President.
He IS your president. And to be clear, I don’t like it anymore than you do. My question is where were you when all the ills of this democracy were NOT embodied in the bigoted rich white man about to take office? Because folks; as much as I have loved having President Obama in the Oval, and as much as I dread seeing this new guy move in, our democracy has been grinding away at genocidal imperialism for the last 240 years (give or take). This newest player is anything but new.
Please understand this; I recognize that person in the Oval wields tremendous power and influence that will affect people across our country and the globe. I do not mean to minimize the impact that this new guy will have, or the pain he will cause. It’s real. It’s horrifying. I see that. My comments are directed at those of you who are choosing NOW to “un-friend” your government. Where have you been?
Of course you can point to the electoral college and claim he has no mandate. And he doesn’t. He still won.
Or you can point to the allegations of foreign influence over the election. And that sucks. He still won.
Or you can say that he has zero experience governing. And that’s true. He still won.
Or you can list the numerous examples of his misogyny, racism, cronyism, lying, cheating and stealing. And that is most definitely who he is. He still won.
He won at the great game of the United States Democracy. How many of you who are claiming he is Not My President, felt a love and pride in this democracy on November 7th, 2016? When you were certain that Senator Clinton would become our first woman President, because America was simply That Evolved. How many of you were happy to support our incredibly enlightened democratic system during the last eight years because the guy in office was black? Because you thought that him being there was PROOF POSITIVE that as a nation we had overcome our racist roots and had finally moved into some Aquarian Age of Compassion and Reason.
Wake the fuck up.
The new guy isn’t the problem. He is the symptom. His rise to power was made possible by our Constitution. By our laws. By our institutions. By our people. Made in America. He is the American Dream in person. He isn’t afraid to say it straight. He doesn’t hide his bigotry. He isn’t pretending to be anything other than himself. He is America revealed, not America denied.
Continue organizing. Continue protesting. Keep speaking up about the injustices in this nation. Make a stand. Commit. If it takes this guy in the White House to get your attention, then at least that much good has come of it.
But remember that it’s not him. It’s us. It is how we are organized as a nation and the values that lie just beneath the surface. Please focus your attention on that part. You can choose to fight the racist, or fight racism. You can fight the misogynist, or fight misogyny. You can argue about the rules of the system, or create a new system.
I sincerely hope that you choose to address the illness and not the symptom. We can (hopefully) rid ourselves of this demagogue. But if we don’t address the underlying reasons that enabled this horror of a man’s rise to power, we run the risk of seeing more just like him.
Just please; find a new slogan.