Opinion: In Trump’s America, I’m frightened for the future
When I was a sixteen year old kid, I went camping near Devil’s Peak, off trail, backcountry. I awoke that night to a series of growls to realize that there was a bear circling my camp.
There was no moon, but I could tell he was getting closer — at least he was getting louder. I never saw that bear, but suffice it to say I did not sleep much that night.
I didn’t sleep much the night that Trump was elected President either. For the first time in my life, I was frightened for the future of our democracy and about our decency as a people.
Now I’m a Democrat to be sure. I voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. But I while I disagreed with John McCain about many policies, I considered him a hero and patriot, fully fit to occupy the White House. I disagreed with Mitt Romney about many things, but I also considered him a man of great decency and piety, with a dignity worthy of the office.
Trump is another matter. A patriot loves his country, but a narcissist just loves himself. The face he has shown the country on the campaign is an ugly one. Power seldom improves people. Never before has a president elect expressed so much contempt for so many of his fellow Americans. I was particularly alarmed when he attacked and belittled the parents of a US Army Captain who had been killed in action. I served in the US Army, also as a Captain. I survived my tour in Iraq, but if I had been killed, would I want a president-elect attacking my parents?
Back when I met that bear off Devil’s Peak, I was pretty damned scared. But I didn’t just lie there paralyzed, clutching my Boy Scout hatchet and waiting for him to drool in my face.
Instead I got up and took a stick and a frying pan and made as much ruckus as I could. The bear didn’t leave right away, he hung around for forty minutes. But he could hear me. He knew I was awake and ornery.
I think this must be a metaphor for how we must approach a Trump presidency. Perhaps the better angels of his nature will prevail. I hope for the sake of the nation that they do.
But if the bear in the night threatens our Constitution and our democracy, we must stand tall and make a ruckus.
Michael J. Taylor is a Norden, Calif., resident.