Alas, when I went to bed the night of the election, I realized that my worst fears, which I had expressed in this paper before, had come true. Trump was going to be the president. When I woke the next day, I lay in bed with the most depressing thoughts I have had in decades. How could things get worse? Then, for some reason, I thought of the residents of Paris on June 14, 1940. That was the day the Nazis marched into Paris. I remembered that almost four years later, in 1944, Paris was liberated. I thought, if the Parisians could endure that Nazi nightmare for four years, I could tolerate Trump for four years, so I got up and turned on the radio to hear the o• cial bad news.
I must admit, for several weeks I tried to avoid all things political and sort of marinated in my own depression. At my age, I will miss most of the long-term harm this presidency will infl ict on our country with his “flat earth” environmental policies. And since I am a white, Anglo, U.S.-born male on Medicare, I will miss the personal carnage Trump’s policies will visit on those not so lucky. So what the hell, if the country wants to elect such an obviously unfit individual as president, let them do so and su•er the consequences. I was done.
I started to return to normal about Inauguration Day. Since then, roughly two weeks have passed, and daily chaos has ensued. I am more sure than ever we have a uniquely harsh stretch ahead of all of us. But then a funny thing happened. A march on Washington, long planned as part of a Hillary coronation, morphed into a huge, worldwide outpouring of pushback on the whole Trump agenda. Wow, was that a surprise. Led mostly be women, these people promoted topics like immigration, health care, pro-choice, environmental concerns, Muslim and other minority rights, and judicial reform — the whole progressive platform. I understand that roughly 1,600 people showed up here in the rain in Newport to express their support for this agenda. That’s more than 10 percent of Newport.
If this movement can continue its momentum and carry into the 2018 election, perhaps some form of normalcy could return. By normalcy, I mean a world where proven institutions like NATO are valued, not dismissed; where relations between our traditional allies like Mexico and Australia are not subject to juvenile tweets; where EOA websites are not scrubbed by anti-climate change politicians.
But nothing is going to improve unless those that object rally together and resist this current aberration of the presidency. If the congressional Republicans acquiesce to the takeover of their party by this man, then they need to be severely punished in 2018. Protesting and marching are just the start of the pushback necessary to reverse this decline. We need to join together with like-minded voters and resist through the ballot box in the next election.
And, if you despair like I did, remember the people of Paris survived for four years. So can we. — Stan Shell is a resident of Newport
Newport News Times “Viewpoint”, February 8, 2017, A8