President Washington. President Adams. President Jefferson
President Madison. President Monroe. President (Quincy) Adams.
President Jackson. President Van Buren. President Harrison.
President Tyler. President Polk.. President Taylor.
President Fillmore. President Pierce. President Buchanan.
President Lincoln. President Johnson. President Grant.
President Hayes. President Garfield. President Arthur.
President Cleveland. President Harrison. President Cleveland.
President McKinley. President Roosevelt. President Taft.
President Wilson. President Harding. President Coolidge.
President Hoover. President Roosevelt. President Truman.
President Eisenhower. President Kennedy. President Johnson.
President Nixon. President Ford. President Carter.
President Reagan. President Bush. President Clinton.
President Bush. President Obama.
Maybe I should call him President. Maybe I should be gracious. Maybe I should be forgiving. Maybe I should be the bigger person and not do to Trump what the Republicans did to President Obama for eight years. Maybe I should see past Trump’s hateful rhetoric, unqualified and destructive Cabinet nominees, and his promises to bring America back to a mythical time of yore where there is no autonomy or rights or equality for people like me. Maybe I should give him a chance before rushing to judgment.
Except, I tried that. I was “hopeful” (if you could call it that). I clung to Trump’s inconsistencies, hoping that he was more liberal than we imagined. I wanted liberals to be the more noble group in this age of political discord. I tried to understand that there are Trump voters who are not racist and misogynistic and homophobic.
I have tried those things (and perhaps succeeded at the last one, because people aren’t one-issue voters), but I am still in despair and fear.
I do hope that this administration won’t be destructive, but I cannot blindly stand behind a platform build on exclusion, simply because it’s “the office of the Presidency.” I cannot proudly watch the upholding of our democratic institutions and the peaceful transition of power at a time when such a transition ushers in an agenda of climate change denial, attacks on free press, the taking away of accessible health insurance, and the curtailing of rights for women. I cannot listen to speeches of “mandates” when the “winner” lost the popular vote by millions of votes. I cannot, as a student of the humanities, support someone who is scrapping the National Endowment for the Humanities.
So, no. I will not call this man “President.” I will not grant concessions that go against my core beliefs solely because he holds the office. Respect is earned, not taken. So, surprise me, Mr. Trump. Make America great — for all of us, in this time and in the future. Maybe then, I will surprise you as well.
Everything makes me mad. It is a tiring way to live, but what else can you do when you care about the world.
Header image taken from Time.