Last weekend I asked readers to respond to these questions:
“What does #notmypresident mean to you? What should this movement be aimed at doing, beyond spurring marches? How committed are you to #notmypresident? What actions should/will you and others take to show that Trump is #notmypresident?
Here are some of the responses I received through email. A few dozen more were posted on my Facebook feed from readers as well.
Dorothy: As a 70+-year-old white woman who cut her protest teeth on “Hey, hey LBJ…” my response to our current political fiasco is “KKK & Donald J. We won’t go away.” With Trump’s consistent hate-filled, misogynistic, racist rhetoric I do not feel he brings dignity to the office of President of the United States. In the past I had respect for the office if not the occupant but Mr. Trump has tainted the process and is such an undeserving, if not downright terrifying, future occupant of the White House the dynamic has shifted. The aforementioned chant popped into my head while I tried to calm my fears and apprehension about the future of this country. The last time I experienced this kind of despair was attending a memorial and wearing a black armband for the victims of Kent State.
Beth: When Trump first announced his presidency, I thought it was a joke. Now it no longer a joke — it is a reality. There are things I am afraid of: that he will take away the health care for some of my friends who haven’t been able to afford it, that he will build that wall instead of better relations with Mexico, that he will further hamper small business (after all he did this as a businessman), and that he will destroy all the previous hard work of this country trying to be tolerant and just toward women, people of color and religions not their own.
There are also things I am terrified that he will do: lead us into a world war ( which because of modern war fare may be fought for the first time on our soil), that he will weaken the EPA and that the Paris climate change initiatives will be ignored causing further damage to our planet ( the planet my 6 grandkids will inherit), that he will take away the right for my daughter to marry whom she loves or that he will deny my daughter-in-law the right to benefit given same sex couples, that he will take away the right of my daughter to keep the two adopted children she has now or the right for her and her spouse to adopt future children, that he will so gut the Medicaid system that these two special need children will not get the therapy they need to live the best life possible.
Melissa: I haven’t taken up the mantle of “#NotMyPresident” but I have been thinking about the best ways to resist and respond in the face of the election result. I’m looking forward to hearing what you and your readers propose. Here are my ideas:
1. Recruit folks to contribute by serving in local government. I am an Overland Park resident and the city just announced that they are seeking citizens to serve on three boards that work on fair housing and community improvement. This is a great way for people to get in their community and make a difference, and perhaps a first step for some toward higher service.
2. Communicate with elected officials. While I don’t expect my federal officials, who all endorsed Trump, to denounce him now, they need to hear from their constituents. They can only listen to our voices if we choose to speak. In the short term, these officials are not making themselves available to the citizens they represent.
3. Work to make progress locally. While President-elect Trump has vowed to halt progress or roll back the clock in many policy areas at the federal level, local governments can still do much good. Two areas on my mind these days are work with local police to put in place policies, programs and practices that reduce inappropriate use of
force and efforts to increase energy efficiency, which saves money and reduces pollution. We need to urge our city councils, mayors and county commission to do all they can to make progress.
Dave: There are many things that need to be done, or done better, after this election. Above all, we should never allow Trump’s words and actions to be normalized and accepted as words and actions that we expect from Americans, much less the leader of this country. If it becomes acceptable to have a neo-Nazi as chief of staff and a voting suppressionist as attorney general, we will have failed as a country. If it becomes acceptable to lie repeatedly and expect people to accept the lie as truth, we will have to redouble our efforts to point out the lies and educate the electorate. That means speaking out, loudly, via not only marches, but also social media and letters to the editor, about how far from accepted norms his words and actions fall. It means keeping pressure on our elected representatives, via letters and phone calls, whenever they need to be alerted to the dangers we face as a country.
How committed am I to this? Our nation is at a crossroads, and we have already taken steps down a road toward a fascist future. Our planet is on a path toward a future where coastlines are flooded, food and water are scarce, and regional conflicts over resources threaten to balloon into global war. I am a patriotic American and global citizen, and I will do whatever I can to slow or reverse his attempts to lead us, whether purposefully or merely through neglectful greedy ignorance, down those paths. I want my country back.
Jason: To me, it is very simple.
— Lost. The. Popular. Vote. #NotMyPresident
LaDonna: While I think Trump is extremely unfit for office, I see no point to the protests except to show how unhappy we are, and Lord knows we do enough of that on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think protests could ever have the power to sway the Electoral Voters to vote in someone in Trump’s place.
Donald’s biggest personal threat is his bullying attitude and desire for vengeance. It is so destructive. Re: his politics, behind the bluster about “the wall” and so forth, he is not a straight conservative so I think he will be all over the place.
His “truthful hyperbole” will allow him to say whatever he thinks people want to hear so he can get applause and hear folks scream his name. But when the rubber meets the road, I don’t think he knows what he will do until the moment of the decision. I read that one of his “people” always waited around to talk to him last because he knew Donald would make the decision based on whatever was last whispered in his ear.
Also, I think there will be Republican in-fighting that may impede any action by Congress. My greatest fear is for the Supreme Court.
Ed: I hate the slogan “Not My President.” It’s unrealistic and meaningless, because living in a democracy puts us all in the contract of having to accept the outcomes of elections. Trump will be our president, as much as I hate the thought of that, that is the cold, dark reality I and the Nation face. More, many more, Democrats, Independents, and Moderate Republicans could have voted in this extremely important, future deciding election, but chose not to—it’s our fault, yes, the left’s fault that Trump won. We had the votes to stop him, but didn’t use them, and now we want to complain about the fact that he won. Sorry, it don’t work that way.
Can we change his agenda? On Supreme Court nominations, no, too late. On immigration, the environment, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, and every other issue that he has some harebrained idea about, maybe, but it won’t be easy and will take a lot more effort than has been shown so far. Why not protest during the day? These night time protests are accomplishing nothing as far as changing anyone’s political views. How many people even know they’re happening? Move the protests to Republican offices. Protest at Kevin Yoder’s office, or Roy Blunt’s, or any other Republican that will have a hand in helping Donald Trump push through his Great America dream. Publicize the time of the protest so more people can show up. We need a lot more people to get our point across. If you’ve got a dissenting voice, you’ve got to scream it loud and at the right people. You’ve also got to vote 2 years from now for Democratic candidates who will stand up to Trump where it counts. Good Luck, because the Nation is going to need it.
Dave: I’m personally split on this. While i agree with you totally that his ideas as a candidate were insane and unworkable pandering to the tea party, and i also agree that his beliefs do not coincide with mine on anything at all (in fact if he advocated for guys peeing while standing up, i would bypass a dozen empty urinals to wait for an empty stall just not to be associated with him). So in that respect he is notmypresident.
But a lot of our problems today are caused by a failure of bipartisanship. Compromise is the very soul of a democracy. When we lose the ability to talk with each other and reach across the aisle, the machine that is government grinds to a halt. It is what we have witnessed over the last 8 years as the GOP was torn asunder by the Tea Party and refused to wor on anything with President Obama.
That is shameful. I’m better than that. We’re better than that. We have to be willing to work with him if for no other reason than we must be better than what the GOP did to Obama. If we replace their hateful blanket obstructionism with our own the country continues to fail.
Are there times when on moral principle we will be required to filibuster something? Yes, i’m sure there is. But blanket statements like this are not good (even when we totally disagree with the person making the statements).
Anonymous: I am a 72 year old woman residing in rural Clay County, MO. to all appearances white and completely unremarkable. Like many, I was shocked and disheartened to learn that my beloved country had elected the worst candidate in history for the office of POTUS. No, he is #notmypresident, and never will be.
In answer to your question, here’s what I am doing about it: There was an article mentioned on Twitter with suggestions for donations: A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support
I chose to donate to the ACLU. I also have subscribed to The New York Times and The Washington Post to demonstrate my support for legitimate news (I already subscribe to the KC Star). I have increased donations to Harvesters and Goodwill in support of those less fortunate than myself. I plan to contact Missouri members of the US Congress to express my opinions on issues before the legislature. Oh, yes, I also have large gold safety pins to wear in public.
Thank you for asking for ideas. I feel cowardly for asking this, but please don’t publish my name. My neighbors are good but deluded people and there is little point trying to convince them how desperately wrong was their vote.