Ican’t seem to get the song “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” out of my head. That song played over and over in my mind as weeks became the days leading up to January 20th, 2017. It’s been fitting. I’ll miss the elegance and class President Obama and his extraordinary wife Michelle brought forth as they lead our nation for the past eight years. And of course you can’t forget about Vice President Joe Biden. My wife nudged me as my alarm clock went off last Friday morning at around 5am. It took me a minute to get myself together as I stayed up late the night before. I’d asked her to wake me up early because it was the day my least favorite person in the world was going to be sworn in as President of these United States of America, and traffic was going to be absolutely ridiculous. So I thought.
The subway system affectionately, or annoyingly, known as the Metro (depending who you are) was going to be filled with tourists and possibly Trump supporters. You never know what kind of person you are going to bump into and I wasn’t in the mood for all of that. I just wanted to get to work and get through the day. I decided to drive. I live in the district where they have been prepping the streets and rearranging traffic patterns for the inauguration, so it was best to get an early start. Rewinding to eight years ago, I can remember the feeling of the big day as President Obama was sworn in for the first time. A young African American Senator from Chicago swept the nation and became the first Black President of the United States. The feeling in the air was indescribable, it was undeniably a great time to be an American.
This time around I can’t say that I am enthused. The nation just put an egotistical, astonishingly ignorant, selfish, misogynist, cry baby pathological liar in office. The words I just used to describe Mr.Trump is actually a lot nicer than some of the things I’ve read of Facebook and Twitter. I simply cannot ignore all of the things that have taken place since Mr. Trump began his bid for the White House. Some of the things he’s said have been baffling at best, void of intelligence and flat out ignorant. I know Trump lost the popular vote, but there was enough folks in the battleground states who bought into his venomous rhetoric, swaying the delegates enough to give him a sweeping victory over Hillary Clinton.
These things affect us all. I’ve overheard a couple of brothers and sisters state that Trump’s policies won’t affect them because they have “good” jobs and healthcare. Thinking like that is part of the problem in our nation. We’ve got to take these things more seriously. As the day progressed I had a hard time focusing on my work as an IT Security Analyst. All over the news, social media, and office were people talking about “the Donald”. I did muster the strength to watch him get sworn in so I could force myself to accept the reality of the direction the country was headed in. A truly uncertain direction. The man at the helm often appears to have difficulty staying focused and off of Twitter when he wants to throw a temper tantrum. As the ceremonies were in progress, I couldn’t help but notice the sparse crowd. I laughed a bit and took a screenshot to send to my friends who were also feeling down about this moment in history. Watching President Obama get on the helicopter to fly away was a sobering moment.
Mr. Trump’s cabinet choices leave much to be desired. Many lack the experience and even understanding of the agencies they could be potentially leading. Mr. Trump chose people who share his narrow view of America. His views are questionable at best. What do we tell our children? The nation elected a man who stands for everything we tell our children not to be. This is a person who labeled a whole group of people rapists and murderers. Despite my feelings, I am going to keep an open mind. Maybe he will surprise us all and do some good. I am not confident in his ability to lead but this is reality as of late.
Our nation is truly divided. Anyone who can’t see that needs to schedule an appointment with Lenscrafters immediately. As a proud Black man I am going to stay vigilant and well informed, these four years are going to be really important. As January 20th came to a close I promised myself I would not become a bitter, angry, black man. I choose to look to the future with hope. I will make sure I vote in the 2018 midterm elections and I encourage you to do the same. We have to make sure we come out and vote if we want to really see changes. Although it may feel like a dark period in American history, let us all chose to believe in the hope President Obama so passionately reminded us of. The riots all across the nation represent a country of people who feel uncertainty. We want change. We need change. We must continue fighting for change. President Obama reminded us as he departed the White House that this is not a period, it’s simply a comma in our nation’s history. Let’s love one another and remain hopeful that the future will be great again.