Terminators Not Included

If, at some point in the distant future we discover the secrets of time travel and invent unstoppable murder robots that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, today is the day that future humans will try and prevent from happening.

Before we begin to debate if the past is immutable, discuss the elasticity of time, and argue if such actions would create a causal loop or a grandfather paradox, let me assure you - all that discussion about the theoretical specifics of breaking the space-time continuum is irrelevant. Regardless of what humanity invents in the decades and centuries to come, I am without doubt that history books will not look back at this era with kindness. At some point in time, I am sure my grandkids will want an explanation: how did we allow this to happen.

How did this happen? Why did we elect to be president someone so obnoxiously arrogant, insultingly brash, disturbingly unprepared, and monumentally unfit for office? How could we have ever been OK with coronating the most unpopular candidate of the modern era?

I have been wrestling with those questions since the results of November's election became apparent. I don't have good answers. Not confident I ever will. I can't fix the past, even if I had a Cyberdyne T-800 and a method to send it back in time. But I do have the opportunity, perhaps even the moral obligation to fix the future.

In recent months, I have made my opinion of our new president abundantly clear. Since Trump rode down his golden escalator in June of 2015, I have mentioned him in eight different posts on this blog. Three of those are specifically about him, two of which I described him as an ass. Now, as he is to assume his presidential role, those of us who have been critical of him for the past nineteen months are left with two choices: resist or resign.

While there is part of me who hopes to see Trump fail so miserably that his ego will never recover, I also realize a fumbling leader is bad for America. And I could throw myself into eager support in hopes of some jingoistic attempt to end the polarized divisions in our country, but I refuse to normalize Trump’s aberrant behavior. The gangrenous underbelly of America’s worst citizens might now be emboldened by the hateful rhetoric of Trump’s campaign, but I will not ever accept racism, homophobia, misogyny, and mockery of the disabled to be acceptable.

But what have I to fear? I am a straight, white, Christian, male. This nation tends to favor guys like me. If Trump’s past actions are a good predictor of how he will act in the future, then the next four years should be utopic.

Here is my reality though. I have friends who are gay. I have friends that are not white. I have friends that are not Christian. I have friends who are women. Many of them are somewhere between concerned and alarmed. Many of them are understandably anxious. While it would be a great relief for President Trump to be an improvement over candidate Trump, we have no evidence to support such a change in character is likely. I cannot in good conscience celebrate that which causes my friends to mourn.

I am not comfortable embracing doom. While it would be every geek’s dream to see a zombie apocalypse come to fruition, it’s clear I would not survive. (I’ve failed to practice cardio.) Nor am I willing to support oppression. This leaves me in a precarious balance between fighting and flailing.

So, what will it be? Resist or resign? Protest or surrender? How do I fix the future?

From now through the day Trump leaves office, I will be watching closely. Any policy, proposal, or action that benefits the lower, middle, and working classes, I will applaud. Anything Trump does to support education, repair our crumbling infrastructure, create domestic stability, and improve foreign relations, I will gladly demonstrate support. However, should Trump make any attempt to restrict our rights to free press, free speech, or the freedom of religion, I will object. Should Trump do anything that causes harm to the LGBT community, discriminates against Mexican or African American populations, or perpetuates violence against women, I will be vocal in my opposition.

They say those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. It is possible that we are repeating the failures of a previous generation. My goal is to teach my kids (and someday their kids) the error of our ways so that future generations never repeat the mess we’ve created for ourselves. And maybe, if we’re lucky, there will be no need for them to send us a cybernetic assassin to prevent all of this from happening.

Regardless of what happens over the next four years, whether Trump turns out to the best president ever or the worst, I can promise one thing. I will never hesitate to forfeit my privilege for the sake of those who do not have privilege. I will be an advocate for the underdogs, the left out, and the left behinds. I will be an ally for those who are weak and weary. I will speak for those who have no voice. I will be a safe place.

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