I remember being 18 and having the opportunity to vote in my first general election. My father had kept CNN on in the house for the better part of the decade leading up to this, and the punk rock community had been incredibly outspoken against George W. Bush in the years leading up, so I had a pretty strong sense of who I was voting for. John Kerry, I didn't know much about him, but I knew it would be an opportunity for change. I lost my vote to the incumbent, but in my early adulthood, I had no idea what that meant.

4 years later, America was given an opportunity to have John McCain to continue the policies of Bush 43, as well as a strong-armed approach towards global affairs. I believed America was ready for change, and I had faith in the candidate my grandma was so passionate about. Living in the small town of Danville, Grandma Pat was always a vocal supporter of Illinois democrats, and this guy, Barack Obama, was going to be our man. And as much as nobody wanted to believe it, he won. WE won. The changes we hoped for would begin in my youthful generation.

Another four years passed, and while I didn't agree with everything he stood for, I still believed that Obama was the president our country needed for the foundational changes that needed to occur in my lifetime. It was now him against Mitt Romney. I remember how close it was in the beginning on the night of November 6th, 2012. I had my Xbox live events app up on my tv with live coverage, and my smart glass app on my iPad giving me breakdowns of state results as well as projections for state's that hadn't posted their results. I was waiting for results, and waiting alongside me was a bottle of absinthe and a bottle of johnnie walker blue label. One was to celebrate, and one was to forget the evening happened. But we once again got our victory, and I drunkenly ran down the streets screaming, "FOUR MORE YEARS!! FOUR MORE YEARS!!"

November 8th, 2016. After a year of being entirely outspoken about the positive changes Bernie Sanders would make for the country, I had already settled on a gut-wrenching compromise when I decided to support the democratic status quo, but party unity is the only thing that was going to allow us to move forward, so I had been supporting Hilary Clinton, although with significantly less enthusiasm.  We were at my brother's house watching the live results when it happened. For the first time in my adult life, I knew what it was to lose an election. But this loss wasn't someone I simply disagreed with, it was a loss to someone I had an utter moral disdain towards.

So now, January 10th, 2017, I've just finished watching the President's final address to the nation in the same waking hours I watched the confirmation hearing of Jim Sessions as the Attorney General. President Obama has been very outspoken in regards to the peaceful transition of powers because the president that preceded him gave way with a peaceful transition. But after watching this speech, it hits harder than it did two months ago. There is no longer a transition. As of next Friday, Donald Trump will be the commander in chief of the country I call home.

The past few weeks I've stayed off social media, and I've avoided commenting on anything remotely politcial because at this point we as independents/liberals/democrats need to understand that we lost a battle, now we need to focus on what we do to move forward to ensure that what can be accomplished will be accomplished. The first 100 days are the most crucial time to a presidency, and with as many lies and 180's this man has been able to get away with in the course of his campaign, all while not actually delivering on concrete policy, it is truly difficult to understand what will happen when he is in office. This is not an endorsement because frankly, I think the man is an aberration to the American dream who will do more harm to the fabric of our nation. Instead, this is a plea to focus on Washington with raptor-like focus, and be ready to respond when America is threatened.

I am not a patriot. I do not, have not, and will not fight for a banner of cloth. I will, however, defend the ideals of human rights, gender equality, and common decency towards my fellow human, from both threats overseas as well as those within my homeland. This country has made far too much progress in the past 8 years to allow us to go back to the way things were before. At this point though, I have no final say in the matter. All I can do is sit, watch wait, and leave you with one last thought.

Your move, Mr. Trump.

Chris BentleyComment