When it comes to the 58th Presidential Inauguration, protest and resistance continue to appear in many different forms. From musicians declining to perform to an increasing number of marches planned, a weekend often reserved for commemoration will be highlighted by opposition. To give some perspective, there are three times as many requested bus parking permits for the Women’s March (1200) than for the inauguration itself (200). Rep. John Lewis has told NBC News that he will not be attending the inauguration. Other politicians are following suit.
I wasn’t planning on attending. Like many others I had my heart set on avoiding humanity, bunkering down in my DC apartment with enough alcohol for a small army and whatever was just added to Netflix (let’s be honest I’d probably just end up watching Parks & Rec for the 100th time). But a few days back I unexpectedly received a ticket and also a change of heart (not medically, metaphorically).
I didn’t vote for Trump. In fact, I despise him. I spend my days doing things like this:
But I will be attending his inauguration. Not for the 3 Doors Down concert, not because I’m required to for work, not because I want to wake up early and stand in the cold, not even really for the historical precedence, and certainly not in celebration.
I’m going for motivation. I’m going because I need to embrace and confront this reality.
Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, it seems as if each week has been marked by vulgarity, disrespect, incompetence and sometimes a combination of all three. What’s more, the rhetoric he’s unraveled in our country is horrifying and discouraging. It should anger anyone who believes in freedom. From the stories I hear from close friends to the anti-semitism I’ve seen and experienced firsthand in recent months, America is becoming more intolerant, not less. This trend will only continue under Trump. We’re transitioning from the first ever black president to a president who has (already) endangered free press, lied, disrespected minorities, lied, harassed women, lied, and lied again — and by the way he does it all on social media. Have you heard?
My concern is that normalization is already occurring. We can’t let that happen. We, meaning the collective “we.” Citizens, the media, politicians — anyone who cares about America. It’s also important to acknowledge that some don’t have the luxury of being able to speak up or fight back, especially the marginalized groups the Trump administration will attack. That’s why it’s crucial for those who can, to do so. Donald Trump may be the next president, but that doesn’t mean our values disappear.
I’m attending the inauguration because the years ahead are going to be frustrating, exhausting, maybe even unbearable for some, and I don’t want to simply accept that. But I’m fearful I, and others, may fall into a content routine. Like when you accept Pepsi because the restaurant doesn’t have Coke. Don’t accept Pepsi. Never accept Pepsi.
On January 20th when I stand among the inauguration crowd I’m going to be sad, scared, uncertain and uncomfortable. Tbh I might bring a barf bag (@AmericanAirlines hook me up?). But I’m going to take it all in. Because I know in the coming days I’m going to need to use it as fuel — as motivation. It’s one thing seeing disheartening tweets from anonymous Twitter avatars, it’s another seeing the faces, hearing the cheering, and looking on as a dishonest, misguided bully gets sworn into our highest office.