By Riley Fink
Well, it finally happened. The event that many thought would never occur finally did. Donald John Trump has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. From the second his candidacy was announced, most treated him as a joke. Donald Trump winning the presidency? Never. Even watching the inauguration in person did not make it feel any more real. It still felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
From the beginning of the festivities, the overall tone of the audience was outright hostile towards anyone but Trump. The people were fueled by both admiration for their champion and hate for their enemies. They spitefully booed any Democratic official who even showed up in their sights. When Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer was introduced, the crowd of people around me nearly exploded with anger and rage. Their booing and yelling continued throughout Schumer’s entire speech. This behavior was even more apparent when Hillary Clinton made an appearance. Chants of “lock her up” began to form at one point. Hillary looked tired and unamused. Senator Bernie Sanders was heckled as well. Furthermore, following the swearing in of Vice President Pence, even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was derided in a baffling, stunning act of impatience and selfishness. All they wanted was Trump. I can understand disagreeing with and not particularly liking your political opponent, but what these people did was childish and ridiculous. That was the nature of audience collectively.Individually, each supporter watching had an incredible amount of passion behind him or her. That passion was greatly misplaced, however. The specific remarks I heard from singular persons were just as absurd as the group chants and shouts. One man behind me remarked that First Lady Melania Trump had brought a gift to Michelle Obama this morning. A woman standing with him was appalled that Michelle had not given a gift to Melania. She scoffed, called Michelle Obama “self-important,” and stated that “it’s all about character.” Another woman next to me wearing an American flag-patterned cowboy hat was, frankly, insufferable. She was endlessly irritating. Discussing the refugee crisis, she implied that President Obama only desired to give Muslims sanctuary, and sought to further a war on Christianity. That was the highest compliment she gave him. Those individuals and others said things far worse about President Obama that I won’t repeat here. I don’t mean to speak ill of these people, but they were just not my type of crowd. I also don’t intend to generalize and imply that every Trump supporter is this way. For these people I observed today, though, self-discipline and restraint would do them some good. Toning down their own “self-importance” couldn’t hurt, either. The peaceful transition of power from one leader to the next is one of the most important hallmarks of our democracy. President Obama, much like his entire presidency, handled the transition with grace and poise. Seeing him treat with such respect a man he fought so hard to keep from being his successor only made me appreciate him even more. To his credit, President Trump showed a surprising amount of humbleness during the transition and inauguration. Honoring Bill and Hillary Clinton at the inaugural luncheon was admirable. Yet, like everything Trump says, I question the statement’s genuineness. Lastly, Hillary Clinton’s appearance at the inauguration reveals a lot about her character. While I, like many others, had problems with her as a candidate, her decorum was unmatched. The disrespect she received was inexcusable. Ultimately, the only certainty of the Trump Administration is the uncertainty many Americans will feel every day. Uncertainty about the normalization of sexual predation by the president himself. Uncertainty about the hatred towards Muslim expressed by many of his supporters. Uncertainty about discrimination the LGBT community will face, especially by the will of Vice President Pence. That being said, I wish President Trump the best, and sincerely hope he realizes the concern and fear his proposed policies strike into the hearts of citizens all across the country. As outgoing President George H.W. Bush wrote in his letter to incoming President Bill Clinton, “your success is now our country’s success.”
Don’t forget, of course, that success is relative.