It was one of those nights last night where I lay awake in bed staring at the ceiling. I couldn't turn my mind off to save my life. The inauguration is over and we have a new administration in place and for the first time in my life, I feel uncertain as to what the future holds for me, both as an African American and a member of the LGBTQ Community. In many ways, it's like waiting for the next shoe to drop.
My country has been divided...polarized in ways that I have read about in history books and watched in documentaries. People are hurt, disappointed...and angry. Donald Trump coming to presidency should have never happened, and it could have been avoided if the government officials that we appointed to do the jobs that they were elected to perform on our behalf had simply did their jobs.
What is needed now more than ever is for leaders, young and old, to step to the forefront because this administration does not define who we are collectively as a people. We all want the opportunity for advancement as well as equal pay for equal work. A woman's right to do what she wants to do with her own body is not anyone's decision except for that woman. Banning all Muslims from entering this country will not stop ISIS. And while we are on the subject of terrorism, what about the men that have caused a senseless loss of life for a myriad of reasons from mental illness to white supremacy?
As I've watched our new president in action, I understand that by nature he is somewhat of a bully. Those tactics work well in the business community but does not necessarily translate well to the leader of the free world.
Everyone is not going to agree with him nor will they always have praise for him...but sometimes that seems to be the expectation. And if you don't provide either, you are branded "false news" or that somehow, you are a traitor.
I do not subscribe to many of Mr. Trumps ideologies because he has never addressed the concerns that directly impact me from both an African American and LGBTQ perspective. Many of his supporters/followers (and yes, there is a difference) voted for him knowing that he will not govern for all of America the way that a presidential leader should. They are primarily concerned that his decisions does not adversely impact them and if those decisions impacts another demographic group negatively, it's okay. It will not hurt them in the long run.
Out of his supporters, there are those that are genuinely concerned about the restoration of jobs to America. I get it. People are concerned about the safety of the citizens of this country. I get that too.
And while personally cannot change the disposition, defects of character or temperament of Mr. Trump, we as a people can change the way that we view him and hold him accountable to the policies that he is implementing because if those policies will do more harm then good, he is liable.
Our government works for us. Sometimes, we forget that. And the leaders of this country are held to a standard that they are to govern for the people because they were elected by the people.
Now is the time for our voices to be heard. What is needed now more than ever are effective orators, planners and leaders. We need to get beyond riled up so that we can make this country what it has and always should have been.
Making America great again would imply that somehow, it wasn't great. We have always been great, even if every race and ethnicity couldn't reap the benefits of that greatness based on something as simple as equality. We are a nation that is comprised of a vast melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and skin tones. Our differences should be celebrated, not feared. Injustice impacts all of us. Injustice will erode the fabric of who and what we are as well as what we stand for.
In short, it is not about "me" and "mine" as much as it is about "we" and "unity."
Never forget that!
~ J.L. Whitehead