On Wednesday after the presidential election I ran into a former US Government student at the dentist office. We didn’t discuss politics but she did recall my telling her after the 1992 Clinton victory that regardless of how much you disagreed with the president-elect, the people had spoken and the office demanded your respect and support.
When I said that I meant it. But never did I imagine anyone like Donald Trump being elected to the White House. Trump’s choice challenges so much of what I’ve held true about American democracy, American politics, the two-party system, and the basic intellect of the American people.
I’m no rookie when it comes to losing elections. My good friend and fellow Democrat, John Baal, and I many times commiserated with a six-pack over getting our political butts kicked. Being a liberal Democrat is a lonely life in Southern Ohio.
This defeat is different in so many ways. Never have I woken and seriously questioned my future after a loss. Never have I entertained the thought of expatriation, never the thought of symbolically surrendering my citizenship, never have I had to deal with the idea that my friends and neighbors may be tolerant of racism and hate. That Americans would be so indifferent to the very very dark side of a candidate’s personal history and behavior. Never have I had to hug my wife as we tried to comfort each other following an election.
Someone asked me long before the election what I would do if Trump came out the winner? My answer was short; I would continue to obey the law, pay my taxes, and work within the system to help make sure his is a one-term presidency.
What I can’t do is show him or the office respect. This turd just cannot be polished that much. In my adult life I’ve also believed that respect is something that is earned and not merely given. That’s the life rule I’m going to use at this time. If everything bad I believe about Trump proves true, he’ll not experience my respect. If, however, I should be proven wrong he can earn some respect in the exact proportion to it being warranted.
Sorry Amber, but sometimes one has to prioritize their rules.