Why I can’t wait for the inauguration
January 19, 2017
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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.