We’re two weeks into the Trump era, and I need to apologize.
In just two weeks we’ve entered brand new territory. I say that in the most non-partisan way possible. Some folks say this is just the polar opposite of eight years ago when Obama took office, but I think this is something different (and when I talk to conservatives, most [though not all] agree with that sentiment).
I need to apologize because I never took this election seriously.
In general I’m not a big fan of debating politics publicly (which may come as a shock, given my flurry of political tweets in the past few weeks). I’ve talked before about how I did too much of that in 2008, and didn’t like it. Throughout the 2016 campaign I didn’t say a lot. I said things here and there, but in general I didn’t engage.
I kept thinking there’s no way Trump will get the nomination.
Then I thought there’s no way he’d win the presidency.
I don’t know what happened. The first election I ever voted in was 2000, so I understand the value of every single vote. Maybe I under-estimated Trump. Maybe I over-estimated how far the country had moved under Obama.
Whatever happened, I didn’t want to get in the fight. I kept thinking that everyone sees the same ridiculous things Trump is saying, and I don’t need to add to the echo chamber.
But clearly those were conversations I shouldn’t have shied away from. Maybe tweeting or blogging about Trump wouldn’t have accomplished anything, but there was a lot more I could have done. And I didn’t do it.
But seeing Trump in action I’ve reached a point where I can’t keep quiet.
- A white supremacist is a senior advisor to the president and sits on the National Security Council.
- Someone who wants to gut voting rights is likely to be confirmed as attorney general.
- A nation that supposedly welcomes people has banned refugees, creating chaos in the wake and then brushing it off as a temporary inconvenience.
- Islamophobia is on the rise, often with the tacit approval of my own faith.
- While I could care less about lies about the size of the inauguration crowd, the willingness of this administration to boldly lie leaves me terrified for when we’re facing a national emergency and we can’t trust what our president says.
- Let’s not forget the way our president advocated sexual assault, then brushed it off as locker room talk.
I could go on and on, but each specific instance really isn’t the point.
The point is this is not normal.
I’ve never called my Senators or Representatives before in my life, but I’ve done it multiple times in the past two weeks. I’m paying attention to my local state politics and I’m speaking out.
I won’t apologize for that. I’m sure I will need help being reasonable. I’ll have to be reminded of the need for common ground. But I think too many important things are happening, too many assumptions going unchallenged.
I think a lot of people are waking up to that reality. That’s why so many women marched the day after Trump was inaugurated. That’s why so many people showed up last weekend at the airports.
A lot of us haven’t been paying attention. Or we didn’t think it really mattered. Or we thought the system was too broken. Or we thought it wouldn’t impact us. Or we thought the candidates were terrible. Or whatever.
The time for excuses is over. Now it’s time to do something.
I’m sorry I didn’t do it before. But I am now.