Last night, we publicly bid farewell to the 44th President of the United States. What can I say about Barack Obama at this point, other than
Please Don't Go!!!!
But that is life, and that is how the cookie crumbles. I was a huge supporter of the candidacy of Barack Obama back in 2007. I cast an absentee ballot for him from Paktika Province, Afghanistan. I missed the huge celebration at Grant Park...I watched it tearfully from our TV room, with several other soldiers. I reflected upon the thought that my father passed away thinking that we would never see a black President of the United States of America.
I was a staunch critic of Barack Obama in the following years. I thought he was being too nice to Republicans, and too openly accepting of their stonewalling of any policies he brought to the table. I think he could have done more. I think he could have offered more transparency, distanced the United States from the practices of the Bush regime, closed Gitmo...no one is perfect. I firmly believe that history will look at him favorably, and rank him as one of the greatest presidents of our time, and by far the greatest president of my lifetime.
So, as I watched the speech last night, well, I watched half of it, listened to half driving home from jiu jitsu, I was mesmerized. The man is amazing. Charming, thoughtful, with a beautiful family...I thought it was a fitting farewell for the first American President of my lifetime that I wholeheartedly feel affection for, and whose character, committment to his country, and moral fiber is unimpeachable in the public eye. I also think this will all be a stark contrast, although I hope I am wrong, to what we'll see over the next 4 years...but let's hope for the best.
I feel like a lot of people are poopy faced today, and that an air of hopelessness is spreading over the Hilary crowd, and the Pantsuit Armada, as well as the Bernie bros. I was a Bernie guy. I was sad Bernie didn't get the nom. I think he genuinely would've won. I think he genuinely would've driven our country in a positive direction. I shed tears on election night.
But I'm not sad now. I'm not, I'm excited. I think Trump is a generally terrible person, with perhaps none of the characteristics I alluded to earlier. But to me, that just means it's time to get it in. Generally, I think Americans have become "soft". I mean, no one wants to struggle anymore.
I have that feeling I would get when someone would come into our hut and say,
"The Afghans are being attacked out at a checkpoint. We're taking some trucks out there for support."
I don't relish violence or conflict, but it's coming down the pipe, so what do you do? You gear yourself up for the fight. I got that feeling like the next 4 years are gonna be a fight, but I'm up to it.
Politicians are public servants. Servants. If they do something that we don't like (Trumps approval rating is at 37%, and he did not receive a majority of popular votes.) we must, as a vocal opposition, let them know, and nip at their heels until they vote to the desires of the American public.
Oh no, you might have to get off your tailbone and make some phone calls?
Write some letters?
You have people that you fear for and worry about?
That means you have to work harder.
Activism might have to be your part -time job.
God forbid I might have to go walking in the streets, gathering petition signatures, calling, writing, and emailing my elected representatives: maybe even daily...
...invite people into my house to talk politics or go to the houses of others to do the same...
...hell, I might have to run for public office because some jerk who wholeheartedly supports Trump is running unopposed. I'm up for that fight. As I once said to a sergeant in Afghanistan,
"I wasn't born for this shit, but I'll make sure you don't know the difference."
I watched Trump's press conference this morning. I smiled...I don't think he's a man of genuine heart and compassion. He's not a worthy adversary, but the one in front of us; those whom hold progressive ideals, inclusion, and diversity as important parts of the modern American tradition.
I am more than willing to support President Elect Trump...if he offers a vision that will benefit all Americans, and not just the wealthy...or the white. Thus far, he has given no indication that he has any intention of passing legislation or guiding this country upon a path that will benefit myself, my children, or the people I hold dear.
Therefore, I will be marching in protest on January 20th. The only reason I won't be marching on January 21st in solidarity with the women of Chicago is because I have a class that morning. But if the march is later in the day (if anyone knows when the 21st march is, please let me know) I will be there. Now is the time to support each other. We are in this together.
We have a lot of fights going on in this country. If you don't know how to get into the stream of action, ask me, or contact an organization that works on the issue you're compassionate about. The next four years are not a time for sadness or apathy. Put your mouthpiece in, grit your teeth, and educate yourself on what's going on, who the players are, and how they are helping or hurting you. Understand the conservative perspective (I'm not a conservative), try to see things from their side...I don't agree with it by any means...but I get it. At least I try. I can debate openly, honestly, and accurately with conservatives. If there is common ground to find, hopefully we can find it. If not, hopefully I hold the better ideals, which can be exceptionally hard to define. But, I think we have to think about what decisions and direction is beneficial for EVERYONE, not just a chosen few.
Some people look upon the next 4 years as a period of sadness. I look at it as a period of growth, change, education...and perhaps building of character. I took some admonishments in President Obama's speech last night. I have work to do. I have changes to make.
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