It’s Not My Oath

respect
L: Obama Inaugural ’09; R: Trump Inaugural ’17

The idea that our new president “is owed a chance to prove himself” has validity on the surface. And here’s how that looks under scrutiny.

The new president isn’t a bright, shiny object that comes to us fresh from a box. Repeating a 40-word oath does not exonerate him from 18 months of political demagoguery and half a century of rapacious, predatory business and social practices.

Does the new president deserve my respect? No.

But does he deserve a chance to earn my respect. Yes. He is most warmly welcome to do all he can to earn my respect.

Here are just five concrete measures he can take toward that end.

  1. Fully divest.
  2. Release the tax returns.
  3. Preserve health insurance for millions.
  4. Unambiguously renounce: Racism. Sexism. Demagoguery. All suggestions of ‘Otherness’.
  5. Nominate an Education Secretary who understands first-hand our public schools, which educate 9-in-10 of the K-12 students in the United States.

The recently installed president plays with the public trust, teasing us and skirting transparency. He insults large swathes of our population and our friends, allies, and supporters abroad. He forgets that his support comes from a minority within our borders—3 million more of us preferred his opponent. And I don’t expect him to change his ways. I don’t expect him to honor and respect the American people. I don’t expect him to take even one of these measures or others I can enumerate. I don’t really believe I’ll grow to respect him.

The ball is in his court, not mine. The oath he took is an oath to the American people about the 1,460 days ahead. It’s his oath. It’s not my oath. I owe this man nothing.