Looking back today on Obama, and this inevitable day that’s come for many finding it hard to watch him leave, and even more difficult to see his replacement take office.
In April 2008 I traveled with my college roommate to see then-Senator Obama campaign in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He packed an arena and delivered a speech that was just as powerful and measured as his words every year after. In his closing remarks, he assured:
I don’t want to be president
of just the red states,
or the blue states;
I want to be president of the
United States of America.
These words were hopeful and we’d learn, genuine. That year an excited nation watched him alter history. For eight years we’d watch him embrace America and the people that loved him (and didn’t); he was our guy.
I expressed to my mom on November 9 my disappointment in the election results. Not because he is “not Obama,” or because the party he is affiliated; these have never been great points of contention for me. We know we can happily live and move forward with a new leader, that America would continue. But many had hoped it would be someone with compassion, a respect for diversity and the grace of a first-world leader.
So today, and in the future, I cannot support Trump. As a woman, it saddens me that a U.S. President could brag about grabbing women, yet still get elected; it confuses me that a U.S. President could mock a disabled reporter, yet still get elected. That a U.S President could downplay the achievements of prisoners of war and civil rights activists, yet still get elected. That he could embrace xenophobia with such vigilance, and foreign enemies with such casualness. That he would wage wars on Twitter as bullies do, that he will tear down those who don’t see eye-to-eye, rather than engage in a productive conversation. That he could repeatedly call the existence, ideas, and defense of others “sad” or “loser”; that he does not possess the humility to admit when he’s wrong.
I’m perplexed that U.S. President could refuse to release his tax returns, to the country of hardworking people that he’s working for; to deny that historic transparency, yet still get elected. I’m worried that a U.S. President could insist on imploding a healthcare system that millions depend on, myself included — without doing his homework of a replacement plan — yet still get elected. I’m so lost — so lost — that a man that played to people’s fantasies with grandiose promises, with no blueprint for a way forward, without political savvy or the poise of a world leader, that he could still get elected.
Today this is not my President, and I’m not sorry. I’m a woman, and I’m standing up. I believe in a nation of people lead by someone inclined to do the right things, to lift and accept, to listen, and to offer solutions. In positivity and respect for the melting pot, not just the one percent.
Let’s march, America. I want a president of the red and blue states. For the working class, the black, brown, gay, muslim, young, sick, flat-broke and starry-eyed. A president for the United States of America.