Conflicted feelings. It’s Inauguration Day. We are transitioning from one administration to another, in a peaceful way, which in its own right is truly amazing in human history. We didn’t have an angry and defiant outgoing President waving a flag from a burned-out window in the Capitol Building daring people to remove him. In that sense, I am proud of who we are as a society and as a nation.
So why am I so conflicted?
Many years ago I heard a story about a man who had a photo of President Nixon on the wall in his kitchen. His friend asked one day, “Why do you have a picture of a crook on your wall?”
The old man replied, “I don’t have a picture of a crook. I have a picture of the President of the United States.”
Let that sink in. That story has always stuck with me, and that’s how I want to be. I want to respect and honor the office of President even if I disagree with the person in said office. Now, in the interest of full disclosure I have never actually put a photo of any President on my wall, but if I did that would be my sentiment. I respect and admire that sentiment. It shows that the person is a citizen first and a partisan second.
So why am I so conflicted?
I’ve been thinking about this. There have been Presidents that I liked, and those that I didn’t. I would have never wavered to hang a photo of any of them simply based on bias and partisanship. Yet, if I were the type of person who would proudly display a photo of the President of the United States on my wall, I would have a seriously hard time putting up a photo of President Trump. (He is now President as of roughly an hour ago, as I write this.)
I’m conflicted because the man embarrasses me. Simply put, the man is a repugnant jerk and bully. I generally don’t put much stock in the current trend of “privilege”, but if anyone ever was the epitome of “privilege”, it is Donald Trump. Rich privilege. (I throw up in my mouth a little just thinking of the title “President Trump”.) I want to keep respecting the office, and I still do. I want to respect the process, and for the most part I still do. I want to respect the will of the people, an… wait. I have long defended the intelligence of people in general, but now I am starting to question my previous faith in my fellow citizens. I believe the man is a sociopath and a pathological liar, yet people sem to eat that stuff right up. I get that people are sick of the status quo and want change, so do I, but seriously, people… c’mon! The last year has been baffling and bewildering.
So why am I so conflicted? I should just hate the guy and root for his downfall, right?
I can’t do that. While I most certainly do not endorse or condone many of the things he says he wants to do, I also cannot root for his failure. I want him to succeed. I need him to succeed. His success means the country does well, and we need that. His success means that my family and friends do well, and they need that. His success means that *I* do well, and you bet I have my best interests at heart.
I’ll even take it a step farther. If, deep down inside, you are rooting for President Trump to fail, then you are precisely the kind of partisan hack that is what is wrong with this country. You are selfish for wanting to harm the country to satisfy your own personal emotional needs. I get that you may want certain things to not happen, same here, but I am talking overall results.
I hope President Trump does well. Overall. To be absolutely honest, I don’t expect it to happen, I think he will be an absolute travesty, but I hope I am wrong and it works out for our benefit.