Wednesday, January 18, 2017

On the Eve of this Inauguration

I originally wrote this as an off-the-cuff post on Facebook, trying to express the range of conflicting emotions I'm struggling with.  The response was much stronger than I thought.  I guess it resonated.  Hopefully this is helpful to you as we all look to this most strange January 20th.

Let me see if I can explain how I feel about things right now...
Donald Trump will be President, in accordance with the laws and processes that have kept the government functioning for nearly 250 years. He will have all the power and authority bestowed on the holder of that office.

While it is extremely gratifying for people to resist, protest, and deride, none of it will change the fact above.

Our elected officials have all taken oaths to execute the responsibilities of their respective offices. When I was serving in the military, I didn't have a choice to execute the decisions with which I disagreed; I did my job. I feel that our elected officials must do the same or risk failing in their duty to their constituents.

The Russian interference is problematic, but it's not exactly novel. Between the Koch Brothers and George Soros, we have our own 'shadow influencers' pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into influencing the electoral process at every level of government. Is one better or worse? Is one more or less of a reason to question the legitimacy of the process or the outcome? I'd like to say yes, but objectively I can't find a reason to. Russia no more de-legitimized the election than our own shadowy Mega-PACs do with their piles of disinformation and propaganda. Its our own process that has made us vulnerable to such interference.

To our elected officials: DO YOUR JOB. I need you more than at any time I can remember to get serious. Leave the protests and civil disobedience to us. Figure out what the HELL is going on at the FBI and sort it. Fix campaign finance laws once and for all. Trump proved you can run an entire campaign off Twitter on a relative shoestring. Sanders proved you can run a campaign funded by the citizens who support you. Crush big money donors once and for all.

To our media: DO YOUR JOB. I need you more than at any time I can remember to get serious. Truth is the side you're on. You're the goddamned 5th Estate; act like it.
To my friends and neighbors: Get involved, starting at the most granular local level possible. Get informed, and don't trust what you're fed by someone with an agenda. Talk to each other, and for heaven's sake, LISTEN to each other. Shed the propaganda and just TALK. You agree on more than you think.

To our intelligence community: get this right. Prove or disprove the allegations that Trump is a puppet of Putin so we as elected officials, citizens, and the media can decide what to do from there.
Make no mistake, our nation is being tested right now, not just by our adversaries, but by the weight of our own culture. Do we dig in and become the next "Greatest Generation" by putting us on a better course for the next 100 years, or do we set the stage for decline?

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