It’s been difficult this holiday season to wish others “Happy New Year” without it sounding like a prayer. In closing out 2016, I need to focus on how I enter 2017.
The Brexit vote for the UK to leave the EU was reported the morning I flew into Edinburgh in June. I spent the week in Scotland (which had voted to remain) listening to people’s shock, anger and uncertainty. Now I know how they felt, at least the anger part. After the November federal elections I listened to friends and family express their own anger, shock and uncertainty.
Like many others, I’ve read and discussed and analyzed why Trump won— and grew angry and weary of the second-guessing and blaming. Many folks I know, young and old, felt disgust, dismay and foreboding at the prospects of a Trump presidency. Here was a liar, a bully, a crotch grabber now president. Deplorable man.
For a while, I went around declaring Trump “not my President” until I was gently but firmly reminded that Trump will be the President of the United States and, as such, like it or not, is the chief executive of the nation of which I am a citizen. That made me angrier (well, I’ve been angry since the election) but it gave my anger a focus: Donald Trump is the president of my United States, my Washington state, my city of Bellingham, my Salish Sea (the Puget Sound part, at least). Donald Trump now represents me and you, as well as all the Trumpists and Strumpets who in the minority voted for him.
Silly? That’s not the way politics works? That’s exactly the way politics works: Leaders and their appointees are held accountable to represent their constituents and when they don’t— by word or by deed— they are to be held accountable.
As of January 20, the buck stops with Donald Trump. He now “owns” all the world and the nation’s problems. Trump and his cronies ran— and won— a campaign fueled by resentment, hatred and bigotry. He has no mandate for resentment, hatred and bigotry. After all the talk now comes responsibility— and for that we hold him accountable. He has no place to run, no place to hide.
Here is where I will take my anger in 2017 and what I ask you to do with me: Hold Trump and his cronies accountable to what is true, what is just and what is fair. Do it with facts because Trump lies. Do it with history because he and his cronies have special interests and weird and dark pasts. Do it with humor because we now have a president who cannot tell a joke or take a joke.
These are not normal times. There is no Happy New Year. We fight on!