Those of us who opposed Trump's candidacy are hearing that we should move on already. And hey, I've moved on plenty of times before now. I've backed more losers than winners in the eight presidential elections I've had the privilege of voting in, and I've always acknowledged the will of the people and the value of a free and fair election. (I did lament on GWB's second inauguration day, but it was a polite lament.)
This is different.
I do not apologize for holding the leader of the free world to a high standard. I do not apologize for recognizing the plain truth that Donald J. Trump fails to meet that standard. I do not apologize for expecting the president of the United States to be a person who is, at a minimum, reasonably truthful and reasonably capable of putting a coherent sentence together.
I will not back down from my assertion that someone who has not managed to learn by age 70 that adults don't talk about genitals in the public sphere -- either the size of their own or the grab-ability of someone else's -- is unfit for polite society, let alone the highest office in the land. I will never rest easy about the judgment of a man whose only metric for evaluating women is how hot they are. (I can hardly wait to hear what Angela Merkel will say when Trump comments on her derriere.)
For those of us who said #neverTrump there is a bit of a balancing act here: we must deplore violence (I do) and support the peaceful transfer of power (I do) while also steadfastly refusing to normalize this gravely abnormal election (I'm going to do that too). I have an obligation to show respect for civil authority. But I have no obligation -- quite the reverse, I would argue -- to pretend I don't notice when someone seems untethered from reality.
It is not normal human behavior to assert repeatedly that you never said something that you actually said on video. If I talked to the family of someone who did so while also demonstrating paranoid and vengeful behavior, I would recommend that they take him immediately to a neuropsychologist for a thorough evaluation. Instead he is taking his family to the White House. This concerns me.
We cannot explain this away. We can certainly hope that his presidency is not marked by the volatility and the -- I can't think of another word here -- the lunacy that made his candidacy so singular. There has been a movement throughout his campaign to explain away his errors in judgment. I will not link to the Catholics4Trump page that asserts he wasn't really mocking a disabled reporter (he was just gesturing, they assure us), but it crossed and re-crossed my Facebook feed. I decline to accept their justification for his clearly aberrant behavior. And let me be very clear: I do not apologize for doing so.
I am not the sort of sore loser who is going to set anything on fire or even swear at anybody. But in a narrow sense I am a sore loser: I have been heartsore since Hillary Clinton lost this election.
I do not apologize for that either.
This whole "sore losers" thing was most prominent in the Twitter feed of someone with whom I've had friendly email exchanges in the past, someone who expressed skepticism about the upwelling of violence against marginalized groups in the wake of Trump's election. (Do you follow Miriel on Twitter, by the way? She has been on fire about this election and its impact.) I didn't go to the rally on campus Wednesday because I am a bad sport. I went because I wanted to hear what minority students in my community were saying about their lives-- to say "I support you" with my presence.
This is not about partisanship. I would have had concerns about a President Cruz or a President Rubio, but I would not have quailed at the prospect of giving them the nuclear codes. I still believe in the will of the people and the value of a free and fair election. I have a duty to support the peaceful transfer of power. But I also have a duty as a citizen of this country to respond with vigilance to anything that threatens its well-being. And one of those threats, I fear, is about to occupy the Oval Office.