Comfort is in scare supply to those who value democracy — or even basic human decency — but what little comfort is available I can take in saying at least I tried. It was December 2015, when I wrote that based on our experience in Toronto, America should be wary that Trump may win.
Instead, today the world will watch as America gives up the audacity of hope for the tyranny of fear. An inauguration is meant to mark a time of new beginnings, and instead I fear we are going to bear witness to the end of America as we know it. Today missing only a white flag, we will watch as America surrenders.
The inauguration of Donald Trump is a complete and total surrender of American ideals, to their worse instincts. An election won with racist, misogynistic rhetoric, aided by fear and outright lies is treasonous in a country founded in the ideals of all men being created equal. Hate groups across America actively worked towards making today happen. A win for them is nothing less than a win for the forces of evil itself.
An America that embraces someone who has promoted discrimination and violence against so many, is a sad cold shadow of the place people across the globe fled to in search of a better life.
In electing Trump, America has turned it’s back on the legacy of the office of President as well. Donald Trump is not only unprepared professionally to be President, he has demonstrated little indication he has the requisite compassion or empathy for anyone but himself which the Presidency demands.
Great men, of all political stripes, have looked out across the Resolute desk and seen not their own power but the solemn debt to others enshrined in their position. Any number of Republicans understood that their primary duty was to improve the lives of those they served, even if I may disagree with how they chose to go about it.
That Trump will succeed one of the best qualified men to sit in the Oval Office — and ran against perhaps the most qualified person to ever seek election — is more than disheartening. It is a victory for the cult of personality, over stoic consideration and the self-interest of millions.
Most distressing of all today, is that Trump’s inauguration may mark the end of the American republic in the most literal sense. Trump’s election was in part, the culmination of a deliberate and malicious attack on the American electorate by a hostile foreign government. Repeatedly since November, the President Elect has failed to support the findings of the American Intelligence community he will be in charge of as of today.
There can only be two sides in a coup, and repeatedly Trump has chosen to stand with forces that worked to undermine American democracy above those who have dedicated their lives to preserving it. It is bad enough that Trump is a racist, misogynistic, and unqualified lunatic. That he might be all of those things and also under any degree of Russian control of influence is terrifying to consider.
That may sound like hyperbole, but for anyone who doubts how quickly tyranny can become normalized remember this; it was only six months from his election before Hitler banned all political parties but his own and seized total control over Germany.
Resist where you can, when you can, while you can.
In the coming months and years America will need to summon tremendous courage to endure. As protesters are demonized as unpatriotic, agencies are headed by people dedicated to their destruction, and any number of disadvantaged groups find themselves under rhetorical if not physical attack the urge to capitulate further may understandably grow. Hopefully the instinct to give in is one of many things that a growing number of Americans will be able to resist.
At the end of the day, the American Constitution and the protections within are nothing more than words on a page. It is people with the will and determination to stand firm against injustice who will be needed. There were any number of facets of the Constitution which should have made segregation illegal. It took people sitting at lunch counters, in the front of the bus, and standing on a bridge in Selma to make sure the covenants of the Constitution were enforced and upheld.
In 2016 a battle was lost to the legions of hatred, bigotry, and fear. The war though must continue if the American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is to survive. When the end comes it must be democracy and decency that are left standing, or in America and around the world, an unthinkable number may fall.