-The following first appeared in The Roanoke Times newspaper on January 17, 2017 HERE.
To those who insist that I get over Trump becoming our next president, I want to state that it’s not going to happen. Never before have we had a president-elect so inexperienced, one whose election win was knowingly helped by a foreign government and the spread of fake news.
Donald Trump is a climate change denier who tweets indiscriminately about sensitive national security issues, who is unabashedly vulgar towards women, who chronically makes false statements and sides with a foreign leader over a sitting American president. He has undisclosed tax records and business ties with foreign governments. He denigrates the press and anyone who doesn’t fall in line and seems poised to plunder our natural resources and gut public services in the name of business. Psychiatrists have suggested that Trump needs a full neuro-psychiatric evaluation. His cabinet appointees and staff picks include inexperienced billionaire cronies, people with cozy ties to Russia, a white nationalist and others known for wanting to dismantle the agencies they have been chosen to head up.
I feel more unsafe with Trump taking the reins of power than I have ever felt before. As a writer/poet/blogger, being informed and paying attention gives me a small sense of protection. Writing about the political news is what I’ve done during times of trouble in the past (the U.S. invasion of Iraq) and what I find myself doing again. But with the advent of social media and the election of Trump, talking politics takes a toll and has sometimes felt like another way of being on the front lines, as I engage with both diehard Trump and Bernie Only supporters.
To my Facebook “friends,” I want to say, if you have something of substance to add to my updates, feel free, but I’m not interested in rants and old scores. I’m not interested in hearing about dark conspiracy theories that I can’t prove or disprove or do anything about. There’s enough in the open to speak-up about. And please don’t add insult to injury; don’t act like Trump by engaging in name-calling, repeating sensationalized fake news headlines or making shallow comments that have no real content.
To those who plead that I give Trump a chance, I ask, what else do I need to know? This isn’t about being left or right. It’s about knowing what is right and wrong. I’m a fiscally conservative Independent who votes Democratic because they represent my views on civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights and the environment better than their counterpart. I would gladly support a moderate Republican over Trump, who appears to have more in common with the Putins of the world than U.S. conservative Republicans.
To those who would like me to just get over it – the election of an irresponsible man who sets a terrible role model for children, who impulsively makes his own rules, is self-promoting and doesn’t seem to understand world affairs – I say that the fear and grief I feel is an appropriate response. I am grieving the loss of presidential standards and the erosion of civil freedoms that Trump embodies.
I understand that many of you want this divisive and exhausting election season to be over and for everyone to move on. I want my life back too, but there are so many reasons (most listed above) to believe that our troubles are just beginning. This is no time to look the other way, and as much as you think that I and others aren’t accepting the reality of the election results, the same could be said for you. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million and many prominent Republicans do not support Trump. Those of us that think Trump is a danger to the world are here in large numbers, and we aren’t going away. That’s another reality.
And to those who scour reliable news sources like I do, who ask questions, share resources and help me learn, I say “thank you.” Being one among other voices of reason gives me some reasons for hope. – Colleen Redman