Tomorrow Donald Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President, and what seemed unimaginable and impossible only a year ago will become a reality. It’s been an extremely weird journey, and many of us are still grappling with what it all means.
But whether we figure it out or not, tomorrow everything changes. We’ll have a brash new President who will routinely use Twitter to communicate his views to the American people. We’ll probably have a former President who will be much more engaged in national affairs than ex-Presidents typically have been. From what we’ve seen and heard in the lead-up to tomorrow’s inauguration, we’ll undoubtedly have immediate reversals of Obama Administration policies, a news media that is feeling its way forward in a new paradigm, and bitterly opposing sides on every issue that the country confronts, each ready to paint everyone on the other side as liars, or uncaring, or unpatriotic, or unprincipled, or whatever negative word they can think of and put into an aggressive, over-the-top Facebook meme.
Speaking as someone who’s got friends at many points on the political spectrum inside the far outer fringes, and who would really like to keep as many of those friends as I can, I’d just like to respectfully remind everyone, regardless of where your views lie, of what I hope we can all agree on:
There’s a right to boycott, and a right to attend.
There’s a right to oppose, and a right to support.
There’s a right to protest, and a right to counter-protest.
There’s a right to be outraged, and a right to let things slide.
There’s a right to be active, and a right to be passive.
There’s a right to speak, and a right to decide whether to listen.
There’s a right to care with every fiber of your being, and a right to think that other things are more important to you and your life.
These are just some of the rights we enjoy in this wonderful country, and that we will continue to enjoy in the Trump Administration, whether we’re ardent supporters of the new President, diehard opponents, or one of the mass of people between those poles who just hope we can get through this next chapter without experiencing the fate of the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat.
I’m going to respect all of those rights. I think if we all just keep those rights in mind, we’ll be okay.