I listened to Inaugural Day coverage on WBEZ while on-the-job Friday (I drive for a living, so lots of radio listening for me during the week).
I have to admit that the first thought I had, as they described all the dignitaries present, was, “This gathering is a terrorist’s friggin’ wet dream!”
President and Mrs. Obama, the about-to-be-sworn-in president-elect Trump and his wife, all the former presidents and their wives, vice presidents and wives, all those powerful political figures … at such an iconic, uniquely American and Democratic event. All those ordinary Americans. All those people. In one place. What an opportunity for terrorists to make a loud, terrible, visceral, and frightening statement on the world stage. What a target!
I prayed right then and there that there would be no bombs or shootings or trucks-run-amok. I prayed that no one (NO ONE) would get hurt, much less killed. What a tragedy it would have been if a terrorist, or any misguided lunatic, had perpetrated serious violence at the Inaugural.
Thank God none of those things happened.
And how sad that such a thought would have to occur. But this is the world we live in, isn’t it?
Of course, there had to have been security of an unparalleled magnitude. I imagine surveillance so massive, high-tech, and detailed that if anyone in the crowd so much as passed gas, some geek in a van wearing headphones knew who it was and what they had for breakfast.
Many were there to celebrate what they hope will be an administration that brings positive change for America. Many were there to protest what they fear is going to be an unholy parenthesis in American history.
Some of this duality is simply a reflection of how it has always been when we switch parties. The diehards of the opposition predict the ushering in of The Apocalypse. Horror stories of the near-future ruin of America abound, as one party leaves and the other moves in. If there is a way to disparage the incoming party and its leaders and intentions, the outgoing party will find it. This is not a new phenomenon.
I get that, in many ways, Trump trumps all previous hand-over contrasts. I get the fear and furor some have, because this man speaks so carelessly and callously, frequently with little regard to “facts.”
Still, it remains my fervent hope that the next four years will not usher in any kind of bleak dystopia. It remains my fervent hope that those who right now are so filled with fear and dread about a Trump presidency will end up being surprised. In a good way.
In the end, it may be his colossal ego (as if all wanna-be presidents haven’t had one of those) that saves us. I actually believe this knucklehead very badly wants you to love him. He wants you to adore him. Despite so many things he has said that seem to indicate the contrary, I truly believe that whether you are male or female; whether you are an L or G or B or T or Q or A or some other letter I may have left out; whether your skin is red or yellow, brown, black, white or (like his) orange … DJT wants you to think he’s the best thing since our beloved Internet was invented (by Al Gore, wasn’t it?). DESPITE some of the inane and scary crap he’s said, perhaps Trump’s out-of-control need to be loved by all will actually result in some “by and for the people” policies at the end of the day.
But it remains my fervent hope.
People … we WILL muddle through. And it WILL be okay.
Or it will be the apocalypse. (Remember when grade school children were being taught to “duck and cover” in preparation for a nuclear explosion? And you think this moment in history is under threat?)
Light a candle. Say a prayer. Love your neighbor. Hold yourself with compassion.