Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson received a torrent of right-wing flak for posting a column in which he expressed his hope that Trump fails. Perpetually missing the point, the right-wing media propaganda machine promptly lost its mind at the apparent double standard of the left refusing to support President Trump when we condemned the right for refusing to support President Obama’s agenda.
While the comparison between President Obama’s desire to bring healthcare to millions and Donald Trump’s desire to deport millions is outrageous, Robinson took to his column to pen a response to his critics, and it’s an exceptionally powerful piece of writing.
The people chose Hillary Clinton. But it’s the electoral vote that counts, not the popular vote, so Donald Trump will be president. And no, I’m not over it.
No one should be over it. No one should pretend that Trump will be a normal president. No one should forget the bigotry and racism of his campaign, the naked appeals to white grievance, the stigmatizing of Mexicans and Muslims. No one should forget the jaw-dropping ignorance he showed about government policy both foreign and domestic. No one should forget the vile misogyny. No one should forget the mendacity, the vulgarity, the ugliness, the insanity. None of this should ever be normalized in our politics.
The big protests that have followed Trump’s election should be no surprise. You can’t spend all those months trashing our nation’s values and then expect everyone to join you in a group hug. Trump made the bed in which he now must lie.
If a normal Republican had been elected, I could say the polite and socially acceptable thing, something like “I didn’t support So-and-So, but he will be my president, too, and I wish him success.” But I cannot wish Trump success in rounding up and deporting millions of people or banning Muslims from entering the country or reinstituting torture as an instrument of U.S. policy. In these and other divisive, cruel, unwise initiatives, I wish him failure.
I do hope he succeeds in avoiding some kind of amateurish foreign policy blunder that puts American lives or vital national interests at risk. And let me be clear that I am not questioning his legitimacy as president. When the results are certified and the electoral college casts its votes, Trump will be the nation’s duly chosen leader, ridiculous though that may be.
But he has not earned our trust or hope. Rather, he has earned the demonstrations that have erupted in cities across the country. He has earned relentless scrutiny by journalists, whom he shamelessly made into scapegoats during the campaign, and he has earned the constant vigilance of the public he now must serve.
We must watch Trump, and judge him, every single inch of the way.
Robinson hit the nail right on the head. We were willing to give Donald Trump a chance – but he immediately hired a white supremacist as Chief Strategist and doubled down on his plan to unconstitutionally register and surveil Muslim-Americans. We were willing to engage with his supporters and hear their grievances – but they immediately went on a spree of hate crimes, harassment, and assaults across the country.
We cannot and will not forget the fact that he is still a serial sexual predator and an avowed racist, a liar and a thief and a con man who is being sued for fraud and racketeering. We cannot forget that the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party cheered his election and cheered again when he hired Stephen Bannon for his administration. The resistance begins now.
No justice, no peace.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.