By Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
For the majority of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton last Tuesday, the wee hours of Wednesday morning were devastating. Friends and co-workers walked around in shock and mourning. Others took to the streets in major urban areas to voice their anger. Many in the Hispanic, African American, LGBTQ+, Muslim, and Millennial communities fear for their future. Those concerned with women’s rights, economic justice, fighting poverty, healthcare, pollution, and climate change were devastated to see their country moving away from addressing these issues.
Now is not the time to mourn the loss of your country, but to fight for it.
Many people took to news outlets and social media in the days following the election to urge that people accept the results, wish the President-elect well, and respect the office of President.
The first of these we must do. The peaceful transition of power in our nation is not just a tradition, but the warp that keeps the threads of our nation and union together. Unravel that, and we sink into the civil chaos that curses so many other nations.
The second depends on your interpretation of wishing Donald Trump well. If that means we wish he does not get us into World War III, then yes, we wish him well in that. But it does not mean we have to wish him well in accomplishing those policy initiatives with which we strongly disagree. We can be the loyal opposition…loyal to our country, but opposed to the actions of our elected leaders. We did not choose a king.
John Adams and others had proposed that the President of the United States be addressed with your “Highness” or “Majesty” as had been the form of address for monarchs. This was not because he wanted a king, but because he wanted to strengthen the executive branch. Thomas Jefferson called it the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. James Madison finally proposed, and got George Washington to accept, the title of “Mr. President” which we use to this day.
Respect is not a right; it must be earned. The office is not the person occupying that office. Respect for the office would extend to not trying to shout down the President during a State of the Union Address by calling him a liar as one Republican Congressman so infamously did to President Obama. That is the common form of respect we extend to anyone and it is not somehow a loftier respect. We can and must separate the man from the office.
For those with ideals of what this nation should be, who are at odds with the vision of the President-elect, there is no more reason to give up on those ideals today than there was a week or more ago. With Republicans in charge of the presidency and both houses of Congress, as well as every statewide office in Missouri and the Missouri General Assembly, whatever happens going forward is the result of one-party rule. Americans have come to have faith in checks and balances, and midterm elections have traditionally resulted in losses for the political party to which the President belongs. Voters in 2018 will be faced with a simple question. Where is the check on President Trump?