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Why I can’t wait for the inauguration

This inauguration highlights an avoidable rift that has formed in our country between opposing political parties. Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons.

This inauguration highlights an avoidable rift that has formed in our country between opposing political parties. Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons.

By Jason Grill

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I can’t wait for inauguration day. I can barely hold back my excitement. But my excitement is hard to express in a school of liberals even as an outspoken conservative. A November 2016 Black & White survey would put me in the 13 percent of conservative students in Whitman’s population.

For me, Nov. 8, 2016 was one of the best days I can remember. On that day Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. We also took control of both the governor’s mansion and state legislature in 25 states and either the governor’s mansion or state legislature in 20 more. This leaves Democrats with only five states that are solidly blue. And, with a vacant seat on a split Supreme Court waiting to be filled by President-elect Trump, it’s a reasonable expectation that the court will soon be conservative-leaning. Now, what I am describing is likely a doomsday-esque scenario for a majority of the people reading this, but for some of us it is really exciting.

I am not trying to brag about my party’s recent successes; I just want to illustrate the avoidable divide between political parties in our country during what has become a pillar of our great democracy: the peaceful exchange of power from one president to the next.

Our uniqueness doesn’t make any one of us better or worse than someone else, it just makes us different.

And, I write this knowing how easy it is for people to simply shut out and attack dissenting opinions from behind a computer screen.  I’m sure I will be called vicious names by numerous people who have probably never even met me, let alone talked to me. Yet, I write this because I believe it is important to always understand the other side.

So often I have heard people say that we should celebrate our differences in regard to culture, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. but never have I heard it in regard to politics. I want to change that. Let’s all celebrate the fact that we live in a country that celebrates and nurtures passionate debate from our living rooms all the way to the senate floor.  Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) could not be further from each other ideologically as often seen on the Senate floor; what many do not know is these two men often work out together after their rigorous debates because they respect each other as Americans.

I have patiently sat and listened to dozens of my friends and family members preach the “dangers” of Trump or tell me why they are so terrified of the upcoming inauguration. So now, I want to speak on behalf of  us who are truly excited for it.

Democracy, for all its immense benefits, isn’t easy

What I ask of anyone reading this is to accept others regardless of how they look, act, or think–a sentiment I hope almost everyone at Whitman can agree to. In this country, many self-proclaimed progressives are more than happy to accept people who don’t look or act like them, but accepting those who don’t think like them is far more difficult.

We don’t all have to agree with each other but we should always respect opinions that are different from our own. No one should feel scared to voice their opinions or worry they might be attacked for not thinking the way everyone else does. As President Obama said in his farewell address, we weaken the ties that unite this country when “Americans with whom we disagree are seen not just as misguided but as malevolent.”

Eighteen years of living in Bethesda has taught me that not everyone thinks like I do when it comes to politics. At times, I wonder if anyone thinks like me. But, this election, for all that has been said about it, proves one of the fundamental truths about humans: we are unpredictable and we are all unique. Our uniqueness doesn’t make any one of us better or worse than someone else, it just makes us different.

After what was a divisive and often times emotionally painful election it is important to remember that democracy, for all its immense benefits, isn’t easy. In every campaign and vote there is a winner and a loser. Yet, our country has developed into the greatest on earth based on democratic principles and the knowledge that we always have the power to change what is happening around us.

I am looking forward to the next few years; you may not be. But, that shouldn’t mean we can’t talk about it; it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends; and it definitely doesn’t mean there is something wrong with either of us. It just means we disagree. Now as Americans, let’s move forward together.

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Why I can’t wait for the inauguration”

  1. Freddy Spaghetti on January 19th, 2017 11:40 pm

    You suck.

    [Reply]

    Pam Reply:

    Such an intelligent response.

    [Reply]

  2. Anonymous on January 20th, 2017 5:19 am

    To the author– I understand how you feel, I was one of the few under-cover conservative students back in my day at Whitman (Class of 2012). I know where you’re coming from, it can be incredibly isolating and difficult.

    That being said, I would have liked to know more about why you’re excited about the upcoming administration. Are you generally excited about the new policies that will be in place, and if so which ones? Or are you just excited because you finally feel like your opinions have been validated on a national scale?

    As a woman entering a STEM field, I am concerned about the results of this election. Since leaving Whitman, I have discovered I was not actually conservative leaning but just much more moderate than a majority of my peers in our high school. That’s why I loved John McCain, but am very concerned about Trump. We are about to have a president who has openly expressed his concerns over women having careers (he has described this as “dangerous” in the past), and has said that women who are sexually assaulted by their bosses should leave the job rather than being protected under the law. These views, along with similarly concerning views about other groups such as the LGBTQ and Muslim communities, are the main things that worry me and a lot of others about Trump.

    I, and I’m sure many other readers, would love to understand why you are excited about the upcoming administration. What views has Trump expressed that you believe will better the country? What policies are you looking forward to? Why should people be excited for this presidency?

    [Reply]

  3. Pam on January 20th, 2017 8:41 am

    Jason,
    I am very proud of you for your bravery and willingness to write this. You know that you and I were always on the same side of the coin and you expressed exactly what I am feeling. Thank you. I too am very excited about this Inaguration Day.

    [Reply]

  4. Gregor on January 21st, 2017 12:25 pm

    Good on you, Jason. You have every single right to be excited by this truly magnificent victory. No one has the right to tell you that your opinions or political views are wrong because that is something reserved only to you. You should not have to hide your content and you most certainly should not have to justify yourself to anybody. It’s nice to see that in a school as liberal and left leaning as ours, there are still some people who are not afraid to speak their minds and stand up for what they believe in.

    [Reply]

  5. A Liberal on January 23rd, 2017 2:30 pm

    Jason,

    I appreciate this article and applaud you for your ability and willingness to express yourself. With that being said, I feel compelled to compose this response to you.

    I understand your excitement about the victories of your party. I understand that you are happy about Congressional majorities. I understand that you are happy about Republican control of state governments. I understand your excitement for a renewed conservative majority on the Supreme Court. I myself am disappointed in all of these results, but I understand and respect that they have made others happy. I fully respect your opinion and your political beliefs because I know that both of us want what’s best for the country, and you believe that a conservative agenda is that.

    What I cannot understand is your unwavering and, indeed, enthusiastic support of Donald Trump. Your main point (and one which I wholly agree with) is that respect of differing opinions and (if I may continue this logic) compromise between those differing opinions is essential to the progress of democracy. Donald Trump is the antithesis to this line of thinking. His statements, actions, and policy ideas are neither defined nor detailed, yet he refuses to take any criticism that may come on either them or the way he conducts himself. Take this weekend’s events: a president does not need to bother himself with a few comical tweets about crowd size. He only makes the issue worse by sending his press secretary to angrily espouse completely false facts and force his surrogates to defend those facts.

    What I’m trying to get at here is that Donald Trump does not do the very things that you argue we should do. He does not respect others’ opinions and he does not realize that compromise is essential to progress. He will refuse to work with others to do what’s best for us.

    That’s why I disagree with you. I respect Republicans, I respect conservatives, and I respect you and your opinion. But I do not respect Donald Trump.

    Respectfully,
    A Liberal

    [Reply]

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Why I can’t wait for the inauguration