Now that the inauguration is out of the way, I’m starting to see that it really doesn’t matter to which party one belongs, one will become even more entrenched in the opinion one had from before. With that in mind, I’d like to try to explain, as best I can from a non-political viewpoint, my relief at not facing another four years with Trump. Count me as one of those “72+ million Americans with memories longer than a hamster.”
I felt lots of concern and agitation at the start of Trump’s campaign. His slogan, “Make America Great Again,” seemed to imply that we were doing absolutely terribly. It was also hard not to draw parallels between this and Hitler’s “Make Germany Great Again,” and we all know how that went. With the echoes of Nazi Germany in that slogan, one would think his marketing team would have worked to change the wording a bit.
When that terrible tape from Access Hollywood came out, I thought for sure this person couldn’t possibly be elected president. Then, instead of coming up with some kind of apology for something that happened years ago, he dismissed it and called it “locker room talk.” This response is a big deal. Let me repeat: this response IS a big deal. When the man who has a chance to hold the highest office in the country makes derogatory statements about women and describes sexually assaulting them and that he can because “when you’re a star, they’ll let you do it,”, it gives other predatory men a pass, the thought that, if this person who might be president can do it and get away with it, then it’s ok to do this. It puts women in danger, and it makes sexual assault seem acceptable. When he mocked Hillary Clinton on and off the debate stage, I thought for sure someone with this much contempt and degradation of women couldn’t possibly be the person who would represent us on the world stage.
I was shocked to see Trump mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski by flailing his arms around. That is not the behavior I expect to see from anyone in a place of power. I thought for sure his campaign was over.
Then, he was elected. My daughter, who was 6 at the time, cried when I told her the next day. She thought she couldn’t be friends any longer with kids at her school who didn’t have the same skin color as she. This fear did not come from home, as we would not speak about politics in front of her. She heard these things about POC at school. We did our best to set her mind at ease.
In his Inauguration speech, Trump mentioned how in his new administration, power would be transferred away from D.C. and to the people, which I found odd since the Constitution lays out the balance of power and the freedoms we are afforded. It seemed like a statement designed to make people agitated. He spoke of jobs lost to foreign countries, but his MAGA wear was printed in China. I do agree with a few of his “boilerplate” lines about country and honor, and his statement about how it truly doesn’t matter which party controls our government. His repetition of “America First,” shocked me, again, due to it being a second parallel to Hitler’s speeches.
Then came the Women’s Marches, which took place in various cities far after inauguration. They were not in response to the Republican party as a whole but to election of a person that wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, reverse Roe v. Wade, and take body autonomy away from women.
There was a line in a post I saw circulating on Facebook: “For the last 4+ years, the Democrats have gone scorched earth.” While this is true for some, it is not true for all. Are all Trump supporters and Republicans responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol, or can we agree that it is unfair to lump everyone together based on party affiliation? Maxine Walters (D-CA) has been quoted suggesting those in Congress who support Trump should be publicly harassed. Sarah Sanders (former press secretary to Trump) was even kicked out of a restaurant due to this comment. Chuck Schumer (now Senate majority leader) and Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) both spoke out against this, urging people to not resort to violence but to use their power to urge their state and local governments to make the changes they want to see.
Taking a look at Trump’s now-defunct Twitter, it seemed like the posts of a man with no filter and no forethought into what he had to say. He even went so far as to post a tweet with what I think was a typo, “covfefe,” and it went viral. I take issue with anyone in a position of power thinking that social media can be used to make policy. He even used his platform to degrade others; he attacked Greta Thunberg after she was named Time’s Person of the Year.
I remember Trump calling the white supremacists at the Charlottesville riots “very fine people” on both sides. I was horrified.
I saw people on the news harming others in the name of their country. I saw people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ persons harrassed simply because they … were. I also saw white supremacists and Trump supporters have their personal information shared to the public, get called out, and ultimately fired from their jobs due to their behavior towards others. While being doxxed and getting fired are terrible, being treated as a second class citizen because of your skin color, gender, or sexual preference is far worse.
I remember at the presidential debate how he told the Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by,” rather than say anything about white supremacy being racist and horrific.
I don’t know exactly when it began, but Trump’s speeches and debates started to be fact-checked. I never thought this was something we would need, but it brought to light the many lies and half-truths Trump was constantly telling.
Then, there’s his response to COVID. He refused to wear a mask. There was no distancing or mask mandates within the White House. When he tested positive, he was given the absolute best treatment available, and rightfully so due to his position. But, for him to return and again have no regard for others was, at the very least, saddening.
When Biden won the election, there were outcries that the voting was rigged, that dead people were voting (spoiler: they weren’t), that USPS workers were dumping ballots. Trump supporters surrounded voting stations, some calling “stop the count,” and in other locations calling, “count them all.” Trump seemed to sit back and let it happen. There was no call for standing back and letting his lawyers work on it, though they did. He just let “us” fight amongst ourselves instead of call on us to seek anything other than violence.
I remember reading stories back in December about the Save America Rally. A troop of buses was to start in California and drive across the country, stopping in various cities, to pick up more protesters that wished to join the group in D.C. on January 6.
Then, January 6 came. Trump’s speech, whatever you think of it now, incited people to do what came next. His words: “We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” “…we’re going to try and give [Republicans] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
I watched scared to death as people forcefully broke into the Capitol, violently pushed past police, and destroyed, robbed, and ransacked everything in sight. Afterwards, I heard many comments from those on the Far Right saying Antifa had infiltrated the Save America group and had done all the damage.
- This has been disproven.
- Anti-fascism is a political movement in opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals
- Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy.
That night, after Biden called Trump to action, Trump released a video of what looked to be a well-rehearsed speech aimed to calm down the violent protesters. Afterwards, he went back to Twitter to once again condemn the election and call for a recount. He violated Twitter’s rules against election misinformation, he glorified the violence in D.C. and falsehoods about COVID-19. It finally caught up to him, and his personal account was permanently suspended. But before he gave up, he sent a tweet from @POTUS (which was then removed and suspended), @TeamTrump (which was removed and suspended), and his campaign marketing director’s account (which was removed and suspended). Trump is now facing a second impeachment and criminal trial based partly on his behavior this month.
He publicly said he would not attend the Inauguration. He formerly said there would be a peaceful transfer of power, but there was no cooperation with Biden’s team (silence is not the same as peace). He had a strangely weird morning on January 20, choosing to fly home to Florida rather than stay for the Inauguration. But, before he and Melania boarded Air Force One for the last time, he gave a speech that seemed so narcissistic that he even took credit for setting up Biden’s team for success. The irony is that one could argue that each president does that, though Trump did nothing but complain about Obama.
In this moment of looking back, I really wanted to find something positive about Trump’s term. I thought I had found something when he’d said, in his speech on the morning of January 20, that he had made the most tax cuts of any president. What he forgot to mention was it was corporate tax cuts.
There is no shame in being a member of your political party. There should be no shame for standing up for human rights. There should be no shame in having been scared for yourself, your friends, and your family for the past four years based on them not being white or cisgender or heterosexual. And, there is no shame in feeling relief that a man like Trump is not going to be president for another four years. But, I do not understand the continuation of support for him, after watching his four-year term end with the most bizarre implosion, and after looking back at a term that contained the most bigoted and racist moments I have ever witnessed in my life.