This is the first time I’ve posted since the election, but the final night of Barack Obama’s presidency seemed like a good time to write. Tomorrow morning, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will take the oath of office and be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. For me and for many others, this will be a dark day. Nothing about Trump’s behavior since election day, or the people he has chosen to surround himself with as Cabinet members and advisors, gives me any comfort about the next four years. That’s why on Saturday morning, I’ll be in San Diego participating in my local Women’s March on Washington. It’s also why I am doing something that many of my friends refuse to do, and watching tomorrow as Trump takes the oath of office.
The most common reaction I’ve received regarding my intention to watch the inauguration is one of disbelief. Why, people are asking, would you want to watch? I have yet to find another person opposed to Trump who says they will be watching. I understand. But I feel compelled to watch. I wouldn’t put this same burden on others, but for me it feels like a moral obligation. I love my country, and I think Trump is going to do things that will harm many people not just here, but around the world. I’ve always been the kind of person who has hoped for the best but prepared for the worst, and by watching Trump take the oath, I am preparing for the worst. I need to see him make a sacred promise to our nation that I don’t expect him to keep. I need to be clear eyed in the face of the threat I believe he represents. I am prepared to keep watch on him from the very beginning, as hard as it may be, so I can be ready to act when he does harm. Bearing witness to a moment that will be so very difficult will help galvanize me to take action for justice, equality, and truth. I will be standing strong in the face of fear and looking the embodiment of that fear in the eyes. I will not cower or turn away or try to ignore it or pretend it isn’t happening. I will watch.
I don’t expect others to feel the same way. And I definitely don’t think you have to watch the inauguration to take action against the injustices that I am sure are coming. But for me it will be a moment for steeling myself for what is to come. It will be the first step of my forward march.