Members of Saddleback College’s ASG attended the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Courtesy of Alyssa Oliver)
Washington D.C. – Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017, capping off one of the most polarizing and media-driven elections to date. The world tuned in on their laptops, smartphones, and television sets to hear what the new President of the United States had to say about the future. Others, such as Saddleback College’s very own Associated Student Government, attended the inauguration and have first hand accounts of the many attitudes and feelings that surrounded President Trump on his election day.
“Today’s ceremony has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another,” said President Trump, “but we are transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.”
In a time of transformative change and political opposition Trump makes it clear that returning power to the people is of top priority. He promises to balance and restore the nation by creating new jobs and wealth for American citizens alike.
He plans to alleviate our streets of poverty, crime, drugs, and failed businesses. He also seeks to enrich American industry and give rise to its infrastructure that he states has fallen into disrepair and decay. His voice speaks to countless Americans who feel as if our nation has been ignored or disregarded.
“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation,” said President Trump, “an education system flushed with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”
There is no doubt that people feel somewhat let down by the previous administration. Hence, the “Make America Great Again” slogan that Trump’s campaign has been piggy-backing on for quite some time. So, one would think that in order to make America great again there would have had to be something clearly wrong with it in the first place.
Trump’s inaugural speech was riddled with grim generalizations of the country’s well-being that painted a picture of a nation in shackles, which to many seemed necessary and to others a blunt exaggeration.
ASG anticipates the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, outside the U.S. Capitol. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Courtesy of ASG)
Throughout the day, over 200 people in opposition of President Trump were arrested near downtown Washington D.C. because of riots and violent protests. Democrats in opposition of President Trump were galvanized for taking to the streets, but what about the attitudes of conservatives at the actual inauguration?
Ironically, Schumer’s speech was continuously interrupted by many Trump supporters. A barrage of insensitive chants made it next to impossible to hear most of what Schumer had to say. I can hardly imagine this is what Trump meant by returning power back to the people.
A bystander in opposition of Donald Trump holds up a sign near the Inaugural parade. Jan. 2o, 2017. (Courtesy of ASG)
“Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, whether we are immigrant or native-born, whether we live with disabilities or do not, in wealth or in poverty, we are all exceptional in our commonly held, yet fierce devotion to our country, and in our willingness to sacrifice our time, energy, and even our lives to making it a more perfect union.” said Democrat Chuck Schumer.
The crowd was harboring tones of resentment and hostility making it hard to be confident in the latter statements regarding a return of power to the people. If a presidential inauguration feels more like a sports rally or a riot then how in the world can peaceful protests in other places ensue? How can constructive criticism in a democratic system ever flourish if opposition is so rampant?
During that time, chants of ‘Cut the mic, cut the mic’ persisted,” said Alyssa Oliver, ASG representative and Director of Honors Student Council, “The chants continued and gained enough momentum to the point where you could no longer hear his speech.”
When Hillary Clinton came out on stage a plethora of angry chants were also voiced throughout the crowd. Oliver recalls hearing people shouting, “Lock her up, lock her up!”
She even saw Trump supporters wearing shirts with a quote bubble that read “Hillary in Chains.”
Between the angry left rioting in downtown, Washington D.C. and the bewildered right, slandering names of important United States officials as well as being disrespectful of speakers at the inauguration, I’d say this immediate return of power to the people does nothing but inflate the minds and hearts of both parties; creating more separation rather than unity, rendering feelings of intolerance.
It truly is up to us to show our new administration and the world that we can indeed govern ourselves. But, first we must prove to each other that we can accept change, tolerate each other, and constructively engage in a democratic process before accepting the responsibility of such power.