We Are Not The Enemy
On the last day of December, this was Donald Trump’s greeting for America — via Twitter, of course:
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
My immediate response to this infantile tweet from the future president of the United States was to donate to a diaper charity. See? I do know what to do.
Let’s talk about those diapers for a moment. I first wrote about this issue in 2015, after learning that parents — particularly single mothers — who cannot afford enough diapers for their babies are likelier to struggle with depression. The need is great, so please consider donating to one of the diaper charities in your community. They’re growing in number, including at some food banks.
Now, let’s address this unparalleled dysfunction about to take over the White House. It’s a remarkable thing, really, for our future president to identify as an enemy to anyone who didn’t vote for him or who dares to challenge him now.
Let’s all sit with that for a moment.
Once again, I am reminded of the late Rev. William Sloane Coffin’s definition of true patriotism:
“There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country, a reflection of God’s lover’s quarrel with all the world.”
Mr. Trump, we are not the enemy.
We are the popular majority of voters — Democrats, Republicans and independents — who wanted a leader, someone who understands that there’s no such thing as a whisper when one is president-elect and that airing one’s many insecurities through petty, thin-skinned tweets and hashtags is as dangerous for this country as it is pathetic.
We are not the enemy. We are the women who wanted someone other than an admitted sexual predator to be our president, a person who doesn’t celebrate misogyny. Your attacks against an anchorwoman inspired so many death threats against her that security guards became part of her daily life for the rest of the campaign. You are that guy.
We are not the enemy. We are the people of color who wanted a president not prone to trafficking in racist stereotypes about immigrants and black and Latino Americans, someone who doesn’t relish working supporters into mobs with coded language that goads them into seeing anyone who isn’t white as the “other.”
We are not the enemy. We are the people with disabilities, which makes us different, not discardable. We are also their loved ones. We all saw the video of you mocking a New York Times reporter with a congenital joint condition. After the newspaper defended him, you didn’t apologize. Instead, you said, “He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.” If you were our child, you would be grounded.
We are not the enemy. We are the media — the real ones, the journalists, not the propagandists and Russian hackers who helped to make you president. We are the reporters and editors demanding accountability. We are the fact-checkers chronicling your disregard for truth. We are the opinion writers you cannot silence.
In recent weeks, your brigade and too many citizens who are worn-out from the presidential campaign insist it’s time to move on. We should accept that you will be our president, they say. We should give you a chance. As one reader told me earlier this week, it is time to give up the grudge.
Calling out a continued pattern and practice of lies and propaganda is not a grudge match. Resentment does not drive our vigilance in continuing to oppose what we rejected in you as a candidate.
We are patriots, in all our forms. We are committed to championing what already made America great, which includes our First Amendment rights to pursue the truth and say what’s on our minds. We will challenge you as president, as true patriots often do.
We are moving on.
This is where we land.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism.
IMAGE: An anti-Trump demonstrator protests outside the venue where Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Anaheim, California U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake