There’s plenty of things circulating at this point about Donald Trump’s Inauguration. The man is downright infamous and he hasn’t even had his first day in office yet…and I’m not under any delusions that what I have to contribute is any more unique or important than what anyone else has already said. But even so, given this important moment in our history I feel compelled to contribute my thoughts as part of the eventual historical record.
No, I didn’t vote for him. Might as well get that out of the way right now. Most of my friends and family didn’t vote for him either; but that having been said I still know plenty of people in my life who did vote for him, including one of my dearest and closest friends, so I’m well aware of the reasons most people voted for him. I’ve been doing my damnedest to try and understand, in the hope that I can once again find common ground with my fellow man in a world that currently feels so sharply divided.
I won’t lie…it’s not easy. Then again, it never is when you come up against someone whose views and beliefs are the exact opposite of yours. Supposedly the hallmark of our society is that we’re able to coexist with others by remaining tolerant and accepting of all beliefs and viewpoints…but as the saying goes, if it was easy then everyone would do it.
My brother made an interesting observation, that for the first time our generation (his and mine) have experienced an election season where in essence things didn’t go our way; and in the fallout it almost feels like a national shedding of innocence for the millennial generation as a result. (Disclaimer: I know not all millennials were against Trump, this is more general statements based on national polling and research.) For the first time we’ve had to recognize that there are a lot of people who don’t think and operate the same way we do, who don’t prioritize things in the same way we do…and in so doing, we are then confronted with the question of whether or not these differences are a good or a bad thing. Wrong or right. Correct or……
Oh it’s quite tempting to label those who I disagree with as “bad”; but that’s also a bit of a cop out…because it’s simply not true. Most of the people I know who voted for Trump aren’t bad people; they just view the world through a different lens. And just like when we ask our clients at Lasting Connections to name their deal breakers before we start looking for their next life partner, people in politics have their deal breakers too. And those deal breakers aren’t the same for everyone; something that seems extremely important to you isn’t even on the radar for someone else.
It’s all about the lens through which you view life.
Looking through my lens, I could not ever support a man who is such a blatantly abusive narcissist; and that’s due to my history of abuse and what I’ve experienced and understand now to be true about people. I imagined Randall being appointed to the presidency, and it struck terror in my heart; because that is not a man who ultimately gives one crap about anyone or anything but himself, and even in moments when he attempts to do things for the good of all it usually ends up twisted and ugly by the end because that’s just his nature. And it didn’t matter how many people tried to console me or reassure me that Trump wasn’t like Randall…to me, through my lens, he was and is a twisted, abusive, cruel, evil person. Many of the things he’s said over the years…many of his mannerisms and his track record with those around him…are identical to how Randall was. And as a result I cannot feel comfortable as he takes that oath of office today. I just can’t.
Now…does that mean I want the country I love to fail? Does that mean I’d rather be correct and have things go down in flames than ultimately have him prove me wrong and do wonderful things for the country and its’ citizens? Of course not. I’ll be the first person to admit I was wrong if he ultimately shows himself to be different than he so far has demonstrated himself to be.
Trouble is right now I don’t feel like I’m wrong, and haven’t yet seen evidence to tell me otherwise.
I’m not a “bleeding heart liberal”…I’m a straight down the middle moderate when it comes to politics. I’ve voted for and supported just as many Republican-backed programs and candidates as I have Democrat. So this isn’t a partisan issue for me; it really isn’t. I have my causes and issues that are dear to my heart, and I have others that aren’t as important, and they don’t all fall to one side or the other.
I always, always try to find a middle ground with those around me. Family members have teased that I’m a born diplomat, always stepping in the middle to help mediate disagreements and disputes (often successfully). And I say that now to give a little perspective, and emphasize that I don’t take lightly the struggle I’m currently having to accept this new president as he takes the oath. It’s a feeling unlike anything I’ve experienced before.
And when I explain my reasoning to others who voted for Trump, the funny thing is they all nod their heads sympathetically and insist they completely understand my perspective. One relative who voted for him even said “If I had been through what you have, I would probably feel the exact same way”…which I found a bit puzzling, seeing as how in a sense my family did go through a lot of the abuse with me. They witnessed what Randall did; they witnessed the changes in me, and then saw the incredibly long, traumatic healing process I’ve had to embark on in the aftermath.
“So you’re okay with a man that I see as the same as Randall being elected president? You’re comfortable with that?” I always ask this with sincerity and without hostility or accusation in my voice, and generally in response I get an uncomfortable squirm and a shifting of the eyes away from my own as they struggle to come up with a response. Ultimately I usually get some variation on the theme of telling me they just don’t see him as being bad for the country, and anyway, he will still be better for America than that lying crook Hillary Clinton.
I won’t pretend I totally agree with or understand that particular sentiment; I am no big fan of Hillary Clinton, but I have failed to understand how she is worse than a man I perceive to be an abusive, lying, cruel, narcissistic SOB. I clearly see it through a different lens; but again this post isn’t about pontificating my political beliefs or getting into a debate. It’s just some random musings on this, Trump’s Inauguration Day. So I’ll let that one go for now.
I’ve been debating with myself whether or not I even wanted to watch the Inauguration ‘festivities’ on television; a part of me feeling like I don’t want to be seen as supporting him at this point, but at the same time another part of me not wanting to do precisely what I criticize others for doing, which is stick my head in the sand and refuse to see what’s happening around me. I have no desire to be an ostrich. And the Inauguration of a president is always a historical event, no matter who it is putting their hand on the Bible.
Ultimately I’m to a point where I’m not consciously avoiding the ceremony on television, but I’m not going out of my way to watch it either; it’s on in the background even as I’m writing this, so I’m vaguely aware of his procession toward the White House, and the protests throughout the city that are growing increasingly violent. But I’m not glued to the television; but I’m not concerned. The other reality is I’m sure our obsessive 24/7 news media channels will ensure I see the whole thing over and over again for months to come in clips and highlights, so it’s not like I’m missing much.
Frankly, that’s pretty much how I feel at this point about his presidency overall; I’m not out there calling for someone to find an assassin and knock the man off, and I’m not secretly hoping he screws up so badly that the entire country goes down in flames with him because dammit I don’t feel like catching on fire……but that having been said, at the same time I am not comfortable right now. In fact I’m quite nervous, and even a tad anxious as I look toward the next four years of my life. So where does that leave me?
Anything good that he may end up doing for the country, I’ll applaud him for. All successes and failures I’ll give him credit for. I won’t hate him just for breathing at this point; if he starts to treat others with respect and act in the best interests of the country then I’ll bite my tongue about the rest.
But I’m resolved to stand up for anything I believe in. So those deal breakers I was talking about earlier…I’ll advocate for those if he ever starts to encroach on them. If anything he or his administration brings up smacks of racism or other forms of prejudice, I’ll speak out. If he does things that restrict women’s rights, I’ll speak out. If he leaves a majority of the country unable to get health insurance and turns the healthcare industry into an even more rapidly floundering system than it already is, I’ll speak out. If he makes getting a decent education less accessible for all Americans, not just those born in the wealthier communities, I’ll speak out. If he takes drastic steps to do harm to the environment through policy decisions, since I’m young enough that I’d experience the consequences of climate change (as would my children and grandchildren), I’ll speak out.
(And as of this moment, I have to admit he’s not off to a great start: barely sworn in an hour ago and his staff have already removed the pages on the Official White House Website dedicated to talking about issues related to Climate Change, Civil Rights, and LGBTQ Problems. A little disconcerting…so I’m speaking out.)
But all that having been said, if he proves me wrong and ultimately doesn’t go after any of those issues…if in fact he passes legislation and policies that wind up doing good things for all…I promise here and now that I will be one of the first people to stand up and say I was wrong. That I misjudged him. I will happily dig into my piece of humble pie. And I sincerely hope ultimately that’s precisely what I’ll have to do.
For now……I just have to wait, along with all the other Americans holding their collective breaths at the moment. Today he is sworn in. Tomorrow? I’m watching to see what he’ll do……
Meghann Andreassen is a businesswoman, author, and personal success coach who contributes to this and other blogs on a regular basis. For singles, visit Lasting Connections. To work with Meghann personally, contact her through her website for a free consultation.
**Names and other personal identifying information of some individuals referenced throughout this blog have been changed to protect their identities