EDITORIAL: Where Do We Go From Here?

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(Photo via Getty Images)

I didn’t watch the Inauguration on Friday. I decided to get up early and go walk on the trail instead. My walk started out with a little bit of anger/disgust (playing the recent A Tribe Called Quest album, albeit a brilliant album, might’ve not been the most soothing choice), but then it started to get much better and breezier. The weather in Downtown Austin this morning was gorgeous, as was the walk. The occasional AP updates on my cellphone alerting me that he had finally been inaugurated was disappointing, but I didn’t let it get in the way of my walk. I needed this walk, and I think if I hadn’t dealt with my depression the way I did this would be a much different opening to this piece.

He’s officially the 45th President of the United States. He’s no longer the President-elect, he’s now the President. Barack Obama, a man who I praised in an earlier piece, is gone from Washington and will spend the rest of his days (presumably) making a difference as a private citizen, along with his wife Michelle in running the newly announced Obama Foundation. For the next four years, we get to deal with a sideshow of crooks, cons, and liars. We will deal with a presidential administration that’s so scared of being held accountable by the press that they will do everything in their power to remove the power of press in the White House. We also now have a President that continues to spew his divisive and hateful rhetoric that might still appeal to his base of supporters but won’t quite cut it with the rest of the country.

I didn’t watch his speech. I tried to watch it hours after it had concluded, but the unnaturalness of his speaking or reading off his teleprompter was a bit much. I did read the transcript of his speech (with annotations by Washington Post writers), which didn’t impress me or change my mind about him. I try to go into things with an open mind (I’m a film critic so it’s kind of/sort of my job) but there was nothing that blew me away about his speech. It was the same “rah-rah Muslims are evil rah-rah let’s take our country back” that we’ve been hearing for nearly two years now. The folks who still liked and voted for him liked it but he sure isn’t getting anymore followers of devotees. Time Magazine called him the President of the Divided States of America in their “Person of the Year” issue, and judging by his speech on Friday, I don’t see that sentiment changing anytime soon.

So how does this change? How do we as a nation try to get through this Presidency safely and without too much political headaches? (that latter one might be too much of a stretch). The press must continue to do their job and hold this President and his administration for every move they make for the next four years. When they attempt to strip the Affordable Care Act when both the President or the Republican-controlled Congress and Senate has yet to publicly come up with an alternative to the bill, reporters must continue to not only ask questions, but the right ones. They think they can get away with whatever they want now that they have all the power. With the press, we must prove these people wrong. The pen is always mightier than the sword.

We also cannot normalize this President. This is a “man” (I use the term “man” very loosely when describing this person as no real man would do or say the kinds of things the President has said/done) who confessed to sexual assault on tape (which can be searched out on the interwebs), has continued to say disparaging things about women that he either deems “unattractive” because they don’t agree with him or just because of his childish demeanor. He got away with saying numerous disparaging things about Mexicans, Muslims, people of color, and so on during his campaign. This is where the press and media comes in with continuing to call him out at every waking chance. This is a person who insulted and belittled his way to the presidency, so we can never normalize him.

I thought the slogan of “Not My President” was a bit much when he first got elected. I don’t like the “man” at all but he is the President. But as I continued to think about that, I started to go along with it. He might be the President, but he is not mine. My President wouldn’t insult or sexually assault women or belittle an entire race/religion. My President wouldn’t be a trust-fund baby who never had to work a day in his life and had everything handed to him in life. My President was Barack Obama, and this President does not represent my interests or beliefs/values.

But the most important thing that we as Americans can do during the next four years is to quit fighting. We need to keep acting like our political parties/teams are right all the time (this goes for me, so listen up me!). We need to quit fighting and bickering on Facebook and get out in the world and have a conversation with the people we continue to fight and bicker with. We need to learn about one another, why some folks are so angry and why some folks are so scared. We can’t continue to live in our community bubbles, liberal or conservative. Nothing will change and nothing will get done. This applies in terms to local, state, and the national levels (Especially you, Texas Legislature). I don’t really want to keep writing political pieces on my Movie website, but by God if nothing changes then I’ll have to keep going.

That’s all I have to say about what’s been going on. If you like reading my political pieces (which is apparently a few of you), then that’s great. If you don’t and wish that I could get back to writing about movies, I feel your pain buddy. It’s January, so it’ll be a little while ‘till I get back to that (SXSW is just around the corner, so it won’t be too much longer).

 

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