My fellow Americans,
Four years ago, I attended what is to this day, one of the most patriotic events of my entire life. I was surrounded by people from across America, of all backgrounds and of various futures. There were people of all nations, who came to America from across the globe. There were citizens and there were visitors. I did not go to the inauguration on that cold day in January four years ago to voice my support for policies or for lifestyles. I went to President Obama’s second inauguration to voice my support for America, for democracy, for the peaceful transition, and for a historic day.
Now, four years later, I plan to go again. I do not plan to go to endorse everything Trump has done, or because I agree with all of the policy decisions that he might make, or to endorse his past lifestyle, because I don’t. I will go in support of my country, I will go in support of democracy, and I will go in support of the historic peaceful transition of power that is unique to this great country.
If we are to move forward with a passion to change the world for the better, we will get nowhere if we boycott everything we disagree with. We will also get nowhere if we follow everything that we feel forced to agree with. There must be a balance. We must move forward with passion, respect, and a mind that is open to new ideas.
America wasn’t founded on sitting down, and we shouldn’t plan to. Actions matter, big and small. But, we can’t move forward without accepting the present. We cannot change the future with a facade of reality. We cannot expect respect if we do not also respect others. Despite party affiliation, personal beliefs, ethnicity, location, gender, and any other grouping mechanism, we are a united people. But, we can only continue to be a united people if we continue to unite. No president can change the actions of its people (and people probably won’t change the actions of their president).
This inauguration, we have a choice. We can accept the reality and move forth with optimism and encouragement — to accept the reality of our new president, while fighting for the rights of the people. We can choose to work together to uphold the principles of the United States. Or, we can protest the fact that Donald Trump is our 45th President — something that no rally, change.org petition, or series of pun-filled chants will change.
We can block out reality and make only failed attempts to change what we want to change. For, if we change the world without a sense of truth, we are changing only our own perception. Yet, if we change the world with the knowledge of the truth, we can change more than perception – we can change reality.
While I have much hesitation with President-elect Trump, while I voted for an independent candidate, while I only know of his past and of his tweets, I have hope. While I have little optimism that his presidency will be anything close to that of Lincoln’s, I also doubt he will fall close to the presidency of James Buchanan.
If we only look for mistakes, we will find them. Likewise, if we back up every action no matter the action, then we will become complacent with Trump’s mistakes, and at times, find them to be wrongfully praiseworthy. But, if we start looking neither for mistakes nor for achievements, and instead take an objective look at the actions that our president takes, we can begin to set our sights on reality as opposed to our desired perception.
I, myself have been guilty of perceiving President Obama as simply the opposition to the Republican Party. I have perceived him how I wanted to perceive him. I saw his policies as awful, no matter if they were helpful or not. While I have tried to step back and absorb the actions of the president, his mannerisms, and his policies, I still, at times, fail to look beyond partisan lines.
However, while it is difficult to do such, if we want to unite as a country, if we want to move forward as a nation to uphold the sanctity of life, the prized gift of liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness, we must first seek truth, and then seek to do something about it – together.
Your Fellow American