I have been listening to the debate about whether to appear at the Inauguration for a few days now. Since John Lewis took a stand, the way he took a stand last year when he led the sit-in on gun control in the House, the way he has stood up for democracy and for the American people all the way back to Selma. And the idiot who made great deals with Russia and the FBI and the republican party tweeted attacks against him. Nothing clever, just his usual same old names and falsehoods.
This is the guy we are supposed to show up for on Friday.
His very attack on Lewis is the reason I won't be there. I will not respect a man who mocks, who lies, who attacks other Americans. Minorities, women, the poor. People who are not like me, and people like me. A man who will do anything to get what he wants, who will do anything to get revenge for a perceived slight. A man who spent years accusing our president of not being American, and who did it for the notoriety.
I am as disillusioned by the members of the party he joined in order to win the presidency. They have sold out. Sold out their beliefs, sold out our country, sold out the Americans who elected them. They have done this because they will always follow people they believe have more power, because they believe this alliance will allow them to keep their power and their fortune. Paul Ryan has become a pathetic shadow of Trump. McCain is trying to be tough, but I can hear him waffling every time he is asked about the incoming "president" or about a cabinet pick.
And then there are the people who Trump has chosen to flank him, to protect him, to defend him, to give him his ideas. Neo-nazis, plutocrats, people with more power than he has, and people with less power that will do his bidding. Smart and mean, or stupid and mean, but always mean. Willing to cut down anyone who gets in their way. Trump's kind of people.
I am listening to republicans and Trump's own chosen pretend to be appalled that Americans are questioning their leader's legitimacy after he questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama. Who are silent when Trump attacks the media. Who will gladly give up the freedom of the press to follow a man who is as crazy and abusive as the worst third-world dictator. I wonder how far they will go, just as I once wondered how Nazi Germany every was allowed to happen.
He was elected with a minority of votes. He was elected by virtue of Russian intervention in our democratic process, with Putin continuing even today to feel free to comment on the validity of our government. He has refused to be transparent about his wealth and property and his ties to foreign governments, and has refused to break any ties that would cost him fortune or power. In fact, he has already used his presidency to increase his influence and wealth.
I can be sure that every accusation he made against Hillary Clinton is one of which he himself is guilty.
So there it is. He is not my president because he is not democratic. He will profit and grow his power. He will deny us our constitutional rights, the freedom of our press, the freedom to worship as we choose, the right to protest. When mockery doesn't work he will use force.
There is far too much at stake to stand by and let history repeat itself. We all must take a stand. We cannot talk in trite patriotic cliches. This country was founded on dissent. Our founding fathers knew that the most important principle is freedom of speech. We have been allowing our liberty to be corroded by attacks on women's bodies, voting rights, religious freedom, and much, much more. We have allowed the rich to buy our government while too many of us lack a living wage, decent housing and health care. Our liberty is dependent today on whether we are afraid to disagree and dissent or whether we will stand up to the corruption that has been building for decades, and has concluded in the coronation planned for Friday.
I don't go to big events, but I will be at the march on Saturday, speaking in defense of my democracy. I won't be at the inauguration of a despot, not there in the audience, and not in my heart.
Call it undemocratic. I call it patriotism.
I haven't spent a lot of time composing this rant. I surely wish I could have said it the way John Lewis said it, the way Barbara Lee said it, the way Gilda Cobb-Hunter said it, the way Luis Guitierrez said it. But they said it for us, and for that I am thankful.