President Obama's job, or the losing candidate's, is to ensure a peaceful transition. Obama called for grace, humility, civility in his transition speech, and Hillary Clinton demonstrated in her concession speech. Our role is to organize, to hope for the best but more importantly, prepare for the worst. It was our faith that our fellow citizens believed in higher ideals than they do that cost us this election.
Freedom of speech and assembly is not what makes America great. What makes America great is our sense of civic duty to use those freedoms to enact change when we fall off course.
Social protest to enact this change is not "losing it," it is not "lowering ourselves," and our emotions in confronting it should not be conflated with the displays of intolerance and indecency during the Trump presidential campaign. Period.
My being disheartened, sickened even, by the support shown for Trump in America is not disgraceful nor can it be compared with his supporters' behavior that is is either passively supporting or actively condoning violations of the Bill of Rights. My wanting to voice that out loud is not uncivil, nor can it be compared with Trump's careless and cruel discourse and conduct, campaign-related or otherwise.
It's my constitutional duty. This behavior wasn't okay in politics before Obama took office, it's not okay after Obama's tenure ends, and it's not okay even if 25% of the country voted for it, or overlooked it, and voted for Trump anyway. It's unconstitutional.
So, fellow Americans: Call for black people not to get killed. Call for women not to get assaulted. Call for Muslims and Jews not to be the target of hate crime. Call for the right to choose, the right to a decent life, the right not to be preyed upon by unregulated finance gone wrong. Call for something. Act, raise your voice, speak without fear. I think we're all there by now.
But if we ask people, or encourage them, to question their reaction to Trump's election, we're asking them to second guess themselves. To me, that reminds me of what much of society does to sexual assault survivors. Why do I know this? Because I am one (and because of research). Why do we do this? Because sexual assault is extremely unpleasant, and because we'd rather it didn't happen. But it did.
A Trump Presidency was rated in the top ten global security risks of 2016 by established centrist organizations (e.g. The Economist). Trump has demonstrated no reverence for either the institution of the Presidency nor for our government in service of the people. He has verbally assured us that he doesn't respect people with disabilities, women, and those who immigrate. He condoned violation of our bodies. Why would we ask someone to face this with grace and humility?
We ask leadership to. We watched Hillary Clinton do that, and the nation continues to crucify her.
President Obama's job is to say everything is okay. Our job is to make the change so that it actually maybe is. But make no mistake -- it is no one's job to say, "Don't you think maybe everything's okay?". When anyone, anywhere, might walk down the street tomorrow and get attacked for who they are, it's not okay.
And we aren't allowed to normalize it.
I write about contemporary events and my hope that persistence wins over intractability.