I was reading the morning newspaper today, and noticed an article about eager Trump supporters heading for the inauguration. Okay fine, there were eager Obama supporters heading for his inauguration in 2009 and 2013; so the fact that Mr. Trump has eager fans is no great surprise-- all politicians have their loyal followers. But what caught my attention is that one of the Trump supporters was someone I had encountered online, who liked to send me at times-gloating, at times profane, at times-angry messages. I was the enemy, of course, because I was from "the other side"-- I was among the millions of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. This offended the aforementioned person greatly. One of this person's last messages to me was that I'd better "get on board the Trump train or it will run you over." No offense, but that sounded rather threatening. But then, so did much of Mr. Trump's campaign rhetoric and many of his tweets.
In Trump world, either you're with him 100% (meaning you believe everything he says, even when it's demonstrably false) or you deserve to be verbally attacked and then shunned. And like Mr. Trump, that is how all too many of his fans react. If you try to fact-check some outrageous and false claim he made, you are told that "fact-checkers are liberal" or that you're just a tool of the "lying media," or worst of all, you must be a "libtard." If you know me, you know I try my very best to be courteous on social media, even when I am disagreeing with someone; but I really dislike being called names, and much of the time, I find there's no interest in having a dialogue-- their side is right, everyone else is wrong, end of story.
Something tells me it's going to be a very long four years, assuming Mr. Trump lasts his full term without being impeached. He claims to support only the American worker, yet he packs his cabinet with billionaires and right-wing ideologues who have never shown one ounce of interest in workers' rights. He perpetually said Hillary Clinton belonged in jail for her alleged corruption and her ties to Wall Street, yet he refuses to release his taxes, refuses to address his many conflicts of interest, seems to be more concerned about enriching himself and his "brand" than anything else, and, of course, he has hired a multitude of current and former Wall Street insiders to help him run his government. To those of us on the left, the hypocrisy is stunning. Yet he claims he is "draining the swamp." Sorry, but it does not look that way.
Today, I got an anonymous letter in the mail. It seemed to be from a Trump supporter, someone who saw a recently published letter to the editor of my local newspaper, that I wrote in defense of Hillary Clinton. (Note to Trump fans: I was a Bernie supporter, but I still felt Hillary was subjected to some very unfair treatment by Republicans, and especially by Trump fans.) The person, who didn't have the courage to sign his or her name, sent me my letter, cut out from the newspaper, with a note saying basically that Hillary doesn't deserve my defense of her, and that she belongs in jail. I guess when you're a Trump fan, your enemies remain your enemies forever. Sad.
It all just reminded me how I am going to miss Barack Obama. I didn't always agree with him, but he was a gentleman, he was eloquent, and in a crisis, he was the adult in the room. I cannot picture him sending out angry and vengeful tweets at 2 AM. I cannot picture him petulantly attacking someone he perceived had wronged him. Did the campaign rhetoric sometimes get heated? Of course, on both sides. But in his role as president, Mr. Obama was someone you could count on to be rational and logical. He was also someone who never lost his optimism no matter how many times he was subjected to rudeness or obstruction from Republicans.
I am also going to miss Michelle Obama. It makes me furious when I read the tweets from Trump fans about how now, finally, we have an elegant and classy first lady in Melania Trump. Excuse me, but Michelle Obama was absolutely elegant and classy. She was also a role model for young women, especially young women of color-- yes, the custom for First Ladies is that they must give up any professional life they had before (a retro expectation that it's time we changed), but she handled the duties of First Lady with dignity and good humor. She embraced pet causes like fighting against childhood obesity, and she also embraced popular culture, whether it was going on talk shows, or doing karaoke, or even dancing. She was beautifully dressed, as we expect First Ladies to be, but she was also a passionate and eloquent speaker, and someone worthy of admiration.
The racist remarks made about both Barack and Michelle are shameful. Disagreement with a president's policies is to be expected, but some of the criticism was nothing more than crude racism. I hope the current administration will not empower such attitudes, but I fear it will. I fear Mr. Trump will continue to say outrageous things (as he even did in his jaw-dropping inaugural address), and more than his rhetoric, I fear that he will continue to do only what benefits himself, while he takes credit for the positive achievements of others before him (including Mr. Obama). And above all, I fear that we will remain a nation divided, where those who truly do need help don't get it, and those who already have more than they should (including the billionaires in his cabinet) will just get even more.
If you are a Trump fan, I know you are happy right now, and that's understandable-- when our favorite candidate wins, we tend to rejoice. But I beg my friends who supported this man to think about the rest of us. We are not losers. We are not the enemy. We are not libtards. We are Americans too, and we are worried about what lies ahead. We don't want to get on board the Trump train (many of us still see him as the ultimate con man), but we don't want to be run over either. I can't predict what lies ahead, but if the rhetoric up to this point is any indication, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.