Return to Rationality: #HeIsYourPresident
By Brandon Bartlett
Brandon Bartlett is a philosophy junior and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
In this article, I am going to talk directly to the people who claim President Donald Trump is “Not My President.” There is no real point wasting my time defending Trump nor in arguing that he may cause good, as many have concluded that he cannot cause any good. Thus, for the sake of this conversation, let us assume that President Trump is the backwards, hate-filled, idiotic bigot that so many claim he is.
As such, it would seem only natural that we would want to set ourselves apart from him, to undermine and disrespect the power that a politically favored minority gave him. After all, halting progress, which is Trump’s supposed mission, is halting justice. And what better way to oppose his mission of bigotry than triumphantly asserting our own virtues through a catchy slogan and a megaphone?
My thoughtful companion below will comment on some alternative strategies for expressing one’s distaste for our current president. But allow me to submit a reason why claiming he is “Not My President” may be a bad strategy: it will damage your ability to create change in the future.
You may not want to reject leadership as a whole, you may simply want to bring in a different leader, and this is because you believe that other policies (on, say, health care or the minimum wage) would better serve people. But there is still a problem here.
Seemingly, the reason that you have a “Not My President” sign hanging in your window is because you believe it will actually have an effect. There is hope that, by showing your disagreement to whoever walks by, you can help create some sort of momentum against Trump’s future actions. Why else would you so obviously make yourself the enemy of the fascist tyrant we are assuming Trump to be?
But every attack on Trump’s authority is also an attack on the system which gave him that authority; by claiming that he is not your president, you are arguing that the process by which he was selected is illegitimate. The problem with this is that unless you are planning a full, guns-blazing revolution, the only way for you to enact the policies you feel are necessary is through the very system you are attempting to destabilize.
A fair response to this would be “Yeah, but the Republican Party did the same thing to Obama and will do it again to whomever comes next,” and yes, you are correct. But A) your current action only legitimizes those childish and immature reactions and B) by weakening the system, you are helping to encourage similar responses in the future.
So, if your goal is to instate as many of your policies as possible during the next presidency, then it is unwise to chip away at very the structure that will enable you to do so.
Government is the great compromise, a system set up entirely because people will always disagree, so we should not be surprised when we are sometimes disappointed with the results. Even if Trump is as awful as you believe, remember that by living in the United Staes, we have all agreed to respect the authority of whatever fool is elected president. After your candidate solves all of our nation’s problems in the next cycle, you will finally get to say “I told you so.”
By Hunter White
Hunter White is a history junior and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
It happened. He won Florida. The sky fell. Woe was we. Oh, how hard I tweeted. With righteous indignity, I shared tales of pussy grabbing, fake news and fraudulent universities across every electronic feed my grubby little hands could find. With the conviction of a Russian ascetic, I checked each new and blasphemous campaign proclamation daily, declaring each as the final nail in the coffin for then-President Elect Trump’s Chuck E. Cheese fascism. I was wrong, oh so wrong.
To those of us lacking in snappy trucker hats who see not an America on its way to greatness again but instead a Kafkaesque nightmare so beyond the realms of reality satire may never recover, we must ask ourselves: What now? So far the answer has consistently seemed to be “keep whining,” with our #NotMyPresident and our snappy Facebook posts. However, I would like to offer an alternative tactic from a time before hashtags and glowing screens: citizenship. Gross, I know.
The first and perhaps most harrowing option you have is to actually get on your feet and get involved. Horrifying as it may be, volunteering for your local Democratic Party is the most direct way you can assist with the backbreaking and mind-numbing work of registering voters by either cold calling or door-knocking.
You may take offense at the Democratic Party, or the very concept that we should govern a nuclear-armed nation of 320 million people on a two-team system, but the fact of the matter is the other team has appointed a figurative petulant toddler who seems to know less about the functions of government than a literal petulant toddler who knows the words to “I’m just a bill.”
A far more righteous complaint is, of course, direct interaction with the public. By volunteering you risk running into one of the two sworn enemies of our cynical and overindulged age: either a bright-eyed and cheerful youth that dares to actually care, or a member of the rest of the general population who drowns in daytime television and Buzzfeed lists of the form “Only a True _______ Will Get These References.” If the thought of such people fills you with joy and optimism for the future, get on over to www.slocdp.org/volunteer.com and hit the streets doing the heavy lifting that the preservation of a brighter tomorrow necessitates.
If, like myself, the very idea of the unwashed masses sends you reeling back into the dark corners of the internet, you can still be of value to democracy and whatnot in the depths of your misanthropy. How? Donate. Go, open your wallet, make your own cup of coffee and donate to those who fight for what you admire. Whether that be the ACLU, Planned Parenthood or whichever other group or cause you deem worthy.
Finally, for the real go-getters, those of us who look in the mirror and see not a human being, but a HOPE poster (or at least decent cheekbones). Those of us who dream not of being in a movement, but being one: run for office. State and local elections are almost entirely ignored in our current global society despite their huge impact on the lives of average Americans, and it is easier than you think.
Organizations such as Emily’s List and Run for Something exist solely to support and encourage that perfect cocktail of egomania and compassion necessary to push the world ahead. Whatever action seems most appealing to you, for the love of God,