Many of us have wrestled with a feeling of isolation from our neighbors and friends in Saddlebrooke who supported Donald J. Trump. His campaign was disappointing to so many of us in the way it denigrated the Office of President. From his unapologetic “birther” campaign, a challenge to the legitimacy Obama’s presidency, to his many falsehoods in tweets and speeches, to his embrace of bigotry, fake news, and conspiracy theories. Trump’s campaign was a wholesale denial of the monumental accomplishments of the Obama presidency. There was no acknowledgement of a Democratic president and party who saved our teetering economy, restored so many lost jobs, provided health care for an additional 20 million Americans, particularly the poor, students, and those with pre-existing illnesses. The Obama administration embraced the truth of climate change, and pursued policies to encourage alternative energy sources and technology, as well as international agreements to limit greenhouse gases. We could go on and on. All of these things were accomplished with the entrenched opposition of the Republican party. The point is that none of these accomplishments were ever acknowledged by Trump or his party, not even after his electoral victory and inauguration. There was no olive branch to the majority of Americans who voted for someone else.
What can we do? Where do we start? These questions will require soul searching. But in the end, I hope that you will conclude that we need to be engaged in supporting a different vision than the one we see before us today. That engagement will require our energy and our financial support. We’ll have to be willing to engage our friends in data, in science, and in facts. We will have to search out the truth. It won’t always be easy. We’ll have to do some research, and compare and contrast conflicting accounts of the truth. We’ll have to decide as best we can what is true or probable, and what is nonsense. We will have to become conversant about issues we hold dear, whether its Social Security and Medicare, or environmental policy, or human rights, support of the poor and needy in our midst, or… We’ll have to get involved in grass roots organizing, and yes, contribute some money to support candidates who embrace our goals. For me, this will be a thoughtful acknowledgement of what I really care about for my family, for all of our families, and future families. It will take a new a level of engagement and commitment. I hope that you will all spend some time reflecting on what you can do to support the things you care about too.