This evening I ran into a "friend" who voted for Donald Trump who asked me if I was going to be going to the inauguration on Friday. My response was that I would sooner slit my wrists. Since the Vietnam War era I have always believed that rather than fall into the mindlessness of the "America Right or Wrong" crowd, true patriotism involves standing up for principle and demanding that America live up to its ideals and that the Constitution be defended. Now, faced with an incoming president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, exhibits contempt fort conflict of interest rules, and seeks only to satiate his voracious ego, it is more important than every to stand up for America and the ideals of equality and equal justice under the laws. A column in the New York Times argues that resisting Donald Trump as Congressman John Lewis has done and refusing to recognize him as a legitimate president is an act of patriotism. The far right will shriek and scream, yet they had no problem striving for 8 years to legitimize Barack Obama which merely underscores their hypocrisy. Here are column excerpts:
[L]et’s ask whether Mr. Lewis was right to say what he said. Is it O.K., morally and politically, to declare the man about to move into the White House illegitimate?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s an act of patriotism.
By any reasonable standard, the 2016 election was deeply tainted. It wasn’t just the effects of Russian intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf; Hillary Clinton would almost surely have won if the F.B.I. hadn’t conveyed the false impression that it had damaging new information about her, just days before the vote. This was grotesque, delegitimizing malfeasance, especially in contrast with the agency’s refusal to discuss the Russia connection.
Was there even more to it? Did the Trump campaign actively coordinate with a foreign power? Did a cabal within the F.B.I. deliberately slow-walk investigations into that possibility? Are the lurid tales about adventures in Moscow true? We don’t know, although Mr. Trump’s creepy obsequiousness to Vladimir Putin makes it hard to dismiss these allegations. Even given what we do know, however, no previous U.S. president-elect has had less right to the title. So why shouldn’t we question his legitimacy?
And talking frankly about how Mr. Trump gained power isn’t just about truth-telling. It may also help to limit that power.
It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility, of realizing that his duty to the nation requires showing some respect for the strong majority of Americans who voted against him despite Russian meddling and the F.B.I.’s disinformation dump. But he hasn’t and won’t.
Instead, he’s lashing out at and threatening anyone and everyone who criticizes him, while refusing even to admit that he lost the popular vote. And he’s surrounding himself with people who share his contempt for everything that is best in America. What we’re looking at, all too obviously, is an American kakistocracy — rule by the worst.
What this means is that Mr. Trump must not be treated with personal deference simply because of the position he has managed to seize. He must not be granted the use of the White House as a bully pulpit. He must not be allowed to cloak himself in the majesty of office. Given what we know about this guy’s character, it’s all too clear that granting him unearned respect will just empower him to behave badly.
And reminding people how he got where he is will be an important tool in preventing him from gaining respect he doesn’t deserve. Remember, saying that the election was tainted isn’t a smear or a wild conspiracy theory; it’s simply the truth.
Now, anyone questioning Mr. Trump’s legitimacy will be accused of being unpatriotic — because that’s what people on the right always say about anyone who criticizes a Republican president. (Strangely, they don’t say this about attacks on Democratic presidents.) But patriotism means standing up for your country’s values, not pledging personal allegiance to Dear Leader.
No, we shouldn’t get into the habit of delegitimizing election results we don’t like. But this time really is exceptional, and needs to be treated that way.I agree. #NotMyPresident.