Okay, it’s official. Barack Obama is out and we now have a billionaire businessman occupying the White House.
No looking back now. The inauguration is over. The people have spoken. The deed is done.
Donald Trump, erector of hotels and casinos, reality TV host and personality, is now the 45th President of the United States.
A lot of people I know are very worried. Understandably so. After all, this is not a man who epitomizes the qualities of what we think of as a president or a leader.
He is narcissistic, thin-skinned and impulsive. He tweets from the hip, picks fights with actors and beauty queens, boasts of his power over women, mocks his enemies and handicapped people, disses the media, and lavishes praise on a dictator like Vladimir Putin.
Will he do something crazy while in office? Get pissed off and start a spark a third world war? Seek to restrict the power of the press? Reverse some of the civil rights progress we’ve made over the past fifty years?
I’m not too worried about all that. I have faith in this country’s democratic process and our in-built checks and balances. Not even Donald Trump, with all of his self-proclaimed God-like abilities, would be able to trump what’s written in the U.S. Constitution.
No, what bothers me the most about the Trump ascendancy is the thought that people, especially our young people, will take his victory as a license for intolerance and bad behavior.
Seeing a man like this rise to the most powerful post in the free world gives hope to all the bullies out there who make themselves feel bigger by making other people feel small.
Hey, if our President can speak of women as objects and mock disabled people, why can’t I?
If a guy like this can be so successful, then why can’t I talk and behave the way he does?
This is where, in my mind, we need most to be worried, and to speak up as enlightened, peaceable men and women.
We need to remind our children that there is a reason why our current U.S. President is so disliked. Why he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes and comes into office with the lowest approval rating in history.
We need to remind them that the reason Trump won the presidency was not because of his bad behavior or his character or even because of his leadership qualities. He won because he was in the right place at the right time, because he was an outsider at a time when people were tired of the status quo in Washington and wanted someone – even someone as deeply flawed as Donald Trump – to get in there and shake things up.
We need to remind them that as quickly as a man of hubris can rise to the top, so swiftly can be his fall. Look no further than Richard Nixon.
I don’t believe that will happen with Trump. I don’t think it will happen because what matters most to Donald Trump is the good name Donald Trump, and he and his team will not allow anything to happen that could possibly sully Brand Trump in the annals of history.
In fact, as I’ve written before, I feel good things will come from this bizarre man and his administration. More business-friendly policies, as long as they don’t harm the environment, are a good thing. Cutting taxes and wasteful spending in Washington, if it actually happens, would be a good thing. Returning manufacturing jobs to the U.S. would be a good thing.
The biggest risk, in my mind, is that the country’s collective behavior takes a huge step backward because of the terrible role model being set by the POTUS.
We can’t allow that to happen. We can accept the results of a free and fair election. We can never accept intolerance. Trump may be the leader of our country, but he is not the leader of our conscience.
What policies will come from the Trump Administration … we will have to wait and see (and fight them, if need be).
But as an individual exercising my free will, I will create more positive change in the world by setting an example of kindness, tolerance, and conscious goodwill … than will the President of the United States with a stream of vindictive, uninformed and unintelligent tweets.
So here’s my prayer on the first full day of the new administration:
That we will all choose our words and actions carefully and consciously, even if our President does not. Because we are Americans not because of where we live, but because of how we live.
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