1.23.2017

Come Together

We are living in the result of the most divisive presidential election in recent history, and the winner of said election is (by most accounts, including those of his supporters) the most divisive candidate in our lifetime.

Appropriately (or perhaps ironically), there are a diversity of opinions on the state of our republic, from pessimism ("the Union is fraying") to bullishness ("the Union is strong enough to hold against all the fraying").

There are also a diversity of responses to the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, from elation ("now we begin to make American great again") to acceptance ("I didn't vote for him, but I respect the process by which he was elected and so I consider him my president") to patriotic dissent ("it is my civic duty to make my voice heard on issues I feel President Trump is wrong wrong wrong on") to anarchist protest ("this whole thing is so gawd-awful wrong that I am angrily and violently repudiating President Trump's legitimacy").

The thing about the pluralistic society that most of us desire (and see as fundamental to what the concept of America aspires to be) is that while it is good and right to want others to see and agree with your perspective, there needs to be room to disagree and to co-exist. 

Hence, on the one hand, Trump supporters shouldn't think that "we won so you have to shut up for four years."  No, a democracy requires a loyal opposition; more on this in a sec. 

And, on the other hand anti-Trump protestors need to be careful about using phrases like "the true majority" and "the resistance" in ways that are divisive, incendiary, and disrespecting of the political process that yielded the presidential outcome.  No, a democracy requires a loyal opposition; #NotMyPresident is either revoking your citizenship or denying the hallmark of a democracy which is accepting the result of an election.

If I may continue.  Trump supporters need to understand that much of what their candidate campaigned on and has set up his incoming government to implement is founded on a less expansive and less accommodating vision for America.  Whether or not this is true, it is what is perceived to be the case, and this needs to be understood and opposed.

Conversely, anti-Trump protestors need to understand that while their voice counts and thus needs to be heard, it is not the only voice that counts and needs to be heard in this country.  As the cries go out for Trump to understand the perspective of "the other," so do the criers need to make sure that their cries do not make others different from them feel unwelcome or less important.

As for me, I will ever have my radar on for what advances the sort of America I am trying to live out in my life, which is respectful of differences, celebrating of diversity, and looking out for those who feel left out or left behind.  I fall very short on all of these fronts, but I am trying, and I hope that both Trump supporters and anti-Trump protestors will too.
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