Mary Lou Lang-Byrd offers her take on the Inauguration, based on her time among the crowds of Trump supporters and protesters.
The quote from President Ronald Reagan’s famous commercial, “It’s morning again in America,” describes how some told me they were feeling after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president. But countless others felt the darkness of night is now upon us and still refuse to accept him as the new president.
The stark difference was evident in Washington D.C. when I headed there for Inauguration Day. I witnessed first hand those who were hopeful and those who felt hopeless. The dichotomy of protesters and supporters was on full display and, at times, became heated.
When my son and I boarded the Metro on Friday morning from our hotel right outside of D.C., we found ourselves amongst fellow Americans throughout the country who chose to take part in the celebration of our new president.
License plates from Texas, Colorado, Illinois showed many drove from far away to be a part of the historic day. Families with their young children, couples, and veterans who wore their hats displaying the wars they served in were amongst the crowd making their way into D.C.
The riders were exuberant and showed their patriotism by wearing American flag hats, scarves, pins and shirts. Many also wore Trump hats, showing their support. Some spoke to other fellow riders, smiling, and seemed genuinely excited to be a part of the celebration of Trump’s inauguration.
Upon arriving in D.C., the mood shifted as we encountered more and more protesters. Hours before Trump took the oath of office, the hundreds of protesters gathered were chanting, “We reject our president-elect.” They carried signs comparing Trump to Hitler and wore t-shirts that read, “Not our president.”
Other protesters held the American flag upside down.
While many of the protesters were peaceful, there were some who were antagonistic toward Trump supporters. One elderly protester called my son a “racist” because he had a Trump hat on. Others called out other Trump supporters and tried to engage them in a war of words.
The anger and disdain the anti-Trump crowd displayed was not only embarrassing, but also showed they have no intention, at least in the near future, of accepting Trump as their president. The women’s march on Washington and concurrent marches in cities across the country show the growing divide in this country.
Trump’s words in his inaugural address, “This moment is your moment, it belongs to you,” and “This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country” fell on deaf ears. The anti-Trump crowd simply wouldn’t listen.
How can the country go from divided to united once again if both sides are so polarized, refuse to listen and are incapable of having a civil debate?
I don’t recall those who did not vote for President Obama or embrace his progressive agenda protesting in the streets, burning cars or smashing storefront windows. I don’t remember hearing anyone say he wasn’t their president.
Perhaps it’s time to stop acting like toddlers throwing a temper tantrum. It’s time to accept the reality that Trump is the president. If not, it will be a very long four years for those who want to continue to hold on to the anger and vitriol that have permeated throughout the country.
It was only a week ago the nation honored Martin Luther King Jr., and his legacy of nonviolent activism was sadly forgotten in D.C. on Trump’s Inauguration Day. “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that,” King had said.
Let’s hope his words will be remembered in the future and civil discourse will not lead to riots and civil unrest.