Over the last couple weeks I’ve been involved in and witnessed numerous discussions both in person and on social media about how we all need to support our President elect. In many ways I share and support that sentiment. But there is a lot more to it than sentiment so here are some thoughts and examples as to why that is pretty unlikely, even impossible for many who did not vote for Mr Trump.
Let’s begin by stepping back in time. Back to when Mr Obama was elected to the office of the President of these United states. Until then, I had pretty much voted Republican. Not always as I have long placed issues and positions ahead of any party. But eight years ago things changed. The leaders of “my” party refused to accept Mr Obama as the peoples choice in spite of him receiving both popular vote and Electoral College majorities. It appeared to me they worked to block every effort put forth by the Administration even when those efforts were clearly for the good of the U.S. as we attempted to climb out of a major recession. Then came Mr McConnell on public television and said “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president”. At this point I became a registered Independent. There is no way I could associate with such a strong party over country position. I still cannot.
We also saw for nearly all eight years of the Obama Presidency a movement to question his legitimacy called the “Birther Movement”. One of the leaders of this movement was none other than Mr Trump. He continued his questioning the birth place of President Obama right into the 2016 campaign for President. So now the left and the center are being asked to afford Mr Trump the very same respect and support he refused to provide to his predecessor. I and many others understand and support the sentiment but that will continue to be a difficult leap.
More important than my opinion however is how folks who were already associated with the left felt, and how they feel now as they are asked to support Mr Trump. Many of these calls and critiques use terms like “cupcake” or “snowflake” assumed to be used in a critical and/or derogatory way. Here for example is a collage of a few pictures posted on the web and other media throughout Mr Obama’s Presidency:
None of these appear indicative of right wing support for what again was the majority and Electoral College choice. Now let’s look at how one strongly left leaning writer feels about being implored to support Mr Trump. This piece speaks strongly to the very real emotions at stake in this discussion
While I don’t support every statement by the author, there is enough I know to be true and enough very real emotions shared by the left community to warrant paying attention. Anyone who denigrates real people who feel this way by calling them “cupcake”, “snowflake” or demands they fall in line behind this President elect just doesn’t understand the issues and emotions. Making demands for support of which their party and their newest choice for the Presidency failed to supply just a few years ago will not be productive.
A short time ago my wife and I were in Spain and ran into an expat who disavowed President Obama stating “He’s not the President, he’s an A-rab implant, somebody needs to shoot him”. I posted this comment and threat to my Face Book page to gauge the response as most of my friends are pretty right leaning. Sadly just three people among hundreds (literally) expressed any dismay. I respect those folks a lot, and have significantly less for those who failed to show concern. Even less yet for those who failed to speak then but now ask everyone to fall in line behind Mr Trump now. Actually none. The standard is either the standard or it’s not. It’s not subjective based on which party.
There is no doubt for me where this deep division began. While there have always been differences, we citizens have seen work across the isle by Presidents and Congress of differing parties many times. When the people speak in a true majority or the good of the country is at stake it’s imperative to compromise. It is how our government is supposed to work. The obstructionism during the Obama Administration, public critiques of the President, continued questioning of his legitimacy (up until just a few months ago by the President elect himself) and unsupported critiques of nearly every policy will be tough to overcome. Some will never forgive. As an Independent I will have a tough time. I can’t imagine how difficult, likely impossible it will be for most.
In the end it’s a case of how high a horse right wingers want to climb up on. Most should be very careful. Those who failed to act in defense of Mr Obama during his tenure but now attempt to demand respect and support for Mr Trump will get nowhere. Those who belittle the emotions of the left after men like Mr McConnell and Mr Trump demonized “their” President will get nowhere. Perhaps there is someone, somewhere in my old party, a true leader who will come forward and state that what they did for the past eight years is wrong and proffer an apology. Perhaps there is someone who will at least acknowledge how and why the left feels as the author above describes. Or perhaps they will simply continue to gloat in victory, address the left as “snowflakes” and demand support. I know how I will react to any of those. As a retired combat veteran I will always support my country, but I will not fall in line like another sheep behind Mr Trump after the actions I witnessed by both him and his party.
Republicans failing to at least acknowledge their own divisive actions will continue deepen the divide.