The other day San Francisco Bay Area KTVU news anchor Frank Somerville posted on Facebook the admonition that because Trump is our elected 45th President of the United States, it’s time for all Americans to fall into line behind him. With all due respect,* now is not the time.
Even if there weren’t valid concerns about the legitimacy of his electoral victory, given his over loss in the popular vote, electoral college votes from states with significant disenfranchisement issues, and the selective meddling, including in potentially criminal ways, by foreign powers, it would not be time.
Even if he weren’t someone who has has openly threatened thousands if not millions of Americans based on their ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation, and whipped up hate against them accordingly, it would not be time.
Even if he weren’t someone who has assaulted women and bragged about it; even if he weren’t someone who has mocked the handicapped (and others); and even if he weren’t someone whose business affairs have been littered with apparent tax evasion, bankruptcies, and ignored debts, it would not be time.
Even if he were someone who knew anything about economics, diplomacy, law, ethics, or how any organ of our Constitutional government works it would not be time. Even if had surrounded himself with people who did, or had not spitefully dismissed those who do, it would not be time. Even if he were not someone bent on breaking alliances, picking fights with other nations, and risking needless war it would not be time.
Even if he and his associates were not openly putting the interests of a foreign power ahead of those of Americans it would not be time.
Even if none of the above issues existed it would still not be time to blindly submit to authority because it is NEVER time to that. It is not our job to rally around our leaders: the most important role to play in the governance of America is not done by the President; it is done by the people. It is our job to demand the best from them, and to hold them accountable when they fail to serve us.
Moreover, it is the job of the media to help us with our task. We count on members of the press to give us the information we need so that we can ensure our leaders are not abusing their position. Their job is to help us be good stewards of our democracy, not counsel complacency.
Our understandable desire for order and calm simply cannot lead us to turn a blind eye to the powerful. The more power they wield, the more important it is that we carefully scrutinize their exercise of that power and speak out when it is misused. This is our responsibility no matter how wise and benevolent our leaders are, but especially when they have shown themselves to be coming up so short in those departments.
* I actually met Frank Somerville when I interned at KTVU years ago. He’s a nice guy, but I fear dangerously wrong on this.