You Can Respect the Presidency Without Respecting the President

Those who voted for President Trump based on his longstanding campaign promises have not found themselves disappointed in the first five days of the Trump administration.

Those fearing Trump's campaign promises find themselves entering into a dire and dim reality that seems unstoppable.

In the days since he took office, President Trump has signed executive orders that have begun repealing the Affordable Care Act, revived the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and he is expected to sign executive orders that will significantly limit the immigration of people from the Middle East. President Trump has likewise lashed out at reporters for accurately reporting issues related to his early presidency. In vain attempts to present what little sensible image his administration has, Trump has ordered a media blackout from the EPA.

These actions come after a lengthy election in which the now-president mocked a disabled reporter, degraded a military family, and tapes depicting Trump bragging (thereby admitting) about grabbing a woman by the genitals. When pressed about this issue, Trump downplayed the issue, calling it "locker room banter." When Trump was taking the oath of office, I made myself remember the horrific and violent words he spoke in the infamous Billy Bush interview. I had to. Our memory must be long.

Donald Trump is not a man that deserves respect. He has done nothing to deserve respect and has done everything to lose it.

While it might be true that the current president does not deserve respect, the office of the presidency does. That is to say, respecting the presidency does not necessarily mean respecting the person in office. The blatant disrespect that Trump has shown for women, for minorities, and for immigrants speaks volume about the character of this man. Trump has and will continue to wield power in an effort to maintain his image and self-interest.

This is not a man who deserves respect. It does not appear that he himself respects the office that he holds. And for that reason we as a people need to stand united in opposition to his actions. Opposition to Trump is not normal political banter. Disagreement on political and social matters should not lead to disrespect. I can disagree with the policies of former president Bush, or Senator Ted Cruz or the host of other Republican candidates for president. Disagreement can challenge us and make us stronger. It is part of democracy. Yet disrespectful actions - such as those that President Trump has continuously exhibits - warrant the opposition that we are seeing. The Women's March on Washington (and Chicago, and Los Angeles, and Denver, and Seattle, and New York City, and so forth) is but the beginning of a movement that will continue unless the president begins to earnestly change his character and rhetoric. I have little hope that this will be the case, but the marches and protests must continue in an attempt to hold this president accountable.

That is to say, the united marches and protests are occurring to make visible a justified opposition to a disrespectful man precisely because the office of the president should be respected.

I celebrate the peaceful transition of power. I respect the power of the president. I fear how that power could be used against those without visibility and a voice. And that's precisely why I will work tirelessly to resist this particular president unless there is a dramatic shift. I hope for a respectable president. Together, we can make that happen. If you find yourself against Trump, continue to peacefully and publicly protest. Call your state representatives. Voice your concerns. If you voted for President Trump, I plead with you to examine how you can hold him accountable. Make him a better leader, not by minimizing his evil deeds, but by demanding him to change. The reaction to Trump does not need to further the divide in this country. We can together respect the presidency while demanding the man in office to respect it himself.