More Protests and Prejudice: How the President-elect Failed His First Test

For some reason, people all over social media can’t get over calling people like me (a liberal/progressive) or conservatives/libertarians on the other side of the aisle hypocrites. It seems we are all hypocrites because we ask for people to condemn the hatred and violence around us. For example, if I point out how heinous the hate speech in the wake of DJT’s election is, I’m accused of being a hypocrite for not condemning the car burning rioters. Never mind that I am condemning them for their inappropriate tactics too. One wrong does not excuse another wrong. So when I say that school children chanting “Build that wall!” in the cafeteria at lunch time to shame and bully immigrant students is wrong, I’m met with, “You hypocrite! What about those hoodlums beating up that motorist they thought was a DJT voter?!” Guess what? I openly say that is wrong too.

But protests in and of themselves are not wrong, but a vital part of our free speech rights and a mechanism for seeking a redress of grievances with our government. Protests often lend deeper understanding to our elected public servants. The fact that the past few days have been wrought with horrifying images from all sides means that our elected representatives need to fill the void of leadership. HRC asked for her supporters to give DJT a chance in her gracious concession speech. She said, “Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans…Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

President Obama asked for Americans to do the same: “Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that. That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other.”

DJT’s victory speech echo these sentiments. He said, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”

And DJT had the perfect opportunity this week to prove those words true. To step up to the task and be the great unifying leader he claims he will be. Instead we get this:

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Yet somehow our newly elected Cry-Bully-in-Chief turns free speech that raises very real concerns about his ability or willingness to unify our country into a pity party for himself. His very first post election tweet failed the test of leadership. He would have been better served condemning the violence and hate speech from both sides. Yet he offered no words requesting peace, offering all a place at his table, giving solace. All he is reassure the protesters that we are in for four very long deeply divided years.

Nine hours later, he did try to correct course with a follow up tweet. But his inner nature keeps sabotaging his efforts. I can only hope that his follow up tweet indicates that he is going to start thinking before acting. For the time being I will accept his course correction, but I still wish to see more on a unifying front from him.

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The organic protests that have sprouted up nationwide send a clear signal that his hateful rhetoric will not stand with the majority of the American people (regardless of how you slice it, HRC won the popular vote and when you add in 3rd party votes who didn’t vote for DJT it is clear he did not win the majority of voters in the election despite the electoral college math). Unfortunately, the some of the crowds are growing in unruliness–particularly in my home county of Los Angeles. I agree with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who issued a statement on Twitter in response to the continued protests.”Your 1st amendment right to freedom of speech is a cherished privilege that should be exercised. However, destruction of property and vandalism will not be tolerated. Exercise your rights responsibly and respect our city.”

DJT would be even better served if he condemned the hate speech that is picking up steam in the past few days. He still has not acknowledged that hate groups are feeding off his rhetoric and that they feel buoyed and safe from repercussions because of his rhetoric. If DJT really wishes to do as he says and seek guidance and help–well I’m offering it. Condemn the hateful actions and speech on both sides. Protect and serve us all.

As for DJT’s plan for his first 100 days in office,  many items are straight out of the right wing playbook. I cannot agree with his naive promotion of charter schools. I am troubled by his tariffs worrying about him starting a trade war. I do agree that we need to revisit our trade agreements. He’s a risk taker at heart. These trade moves, if they work will make him look like a genius, but if they fail, we all will pay a very steep price. And the names being floated for cabinet positions? Not experts, but people from the fringe–like a climate change denier running the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency, or like putting a half-term governor who quit her job as the Secretary of the Interior because she is obviously an expert on land management, geological surveys, and national parks. So far the names DJT has floated smacks of the very cronyism that he ran against. Again, I hope for better.

I am trying to do as HRC and President Obama asked. I am trying to keep an open mind and an open heart. I am trying to give DJT the chance to lead. I am continually using the words “hope” and “change.” One would think I was talking about President Obama. DJT has my attention, but he has yet to earn my respect. So far, I remain underwhelmed.

And as for the protests that continue, I hope they will grow in organization and minimize the outbreaks of violence. The few violent offenders should be jailed, but the media should not allow those few to hijack the protesters’ stories.

The hate groups vandalizing across this nation, the students acting in hateful ways against immigrants and descendants of immigrants–you need to learn lessons in love. Love will always trump Hate. And I will work tirelessly for that purpose. I will be arming my family, friends, and melting pot students with safety pins and paper clips. We will be the safe harbors in your turbulent sea.

(Image from @honoraye)

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