A year ago this month, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States. I, along with millions of other Americans, saw the obvious signs of an upcoming cultural and political crisis.
I refused to watch the fiasco on television, remembering the power I felt while covering the inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 for BET. It was a ferociously cold day, but I recalled how Obama comforted America.
“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
Now eight years later, juxtapose Obama’s soothing words to Trump’s unhinged speech at his inauguration , where he accidentally quoted Batman villain Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.
Immediately, my liberal timeline was flooded with “Not my President!” and progressives refusing to say his name. I understood why — he ran a vile campaign based on hate and fear, never detailing policy. However, for those very reasons and more, I thought it was crucial to accept and name him as president.
Refusing to acknowledge the president wasn’t just on my timeline or people I knew, it was also in the media. The legendary Whoopi Goldberg refuses to speak his name on The View. The Oscar winner says “The new guy” and even got backlash when she called him the “Bum-in-Chief.”
The popular Comedy Central Show Broad City bleeped Trump’s name in their latest season with co-creator Ilana Glazer referring to him as “this orange (person).” Glazer told USA Today, “There’s no airtime for this orange (person). We bleep his name the whole season.”
Democratic Vice Mayor of Charlottesville Wes Bellamy, who frequently appeared on cable news during the aftermath of the horrible tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, consistently referred to Trump as “45.” Bellamy explained on CNN, “When he begins to act as if he deserves to be in that office and leads in terms of unifying people then he will deserve the name of President Trump.” Wes is going to be saying 45 for four long years.
Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter Bernice King suggested a way to resist is to not use his name “so as not to detract from the issues.” But President Trump is the issue; all focus should be zeroed in on our current Commander-in-Chief.
Here is why we have to say his name:
I am seriously liberal and lean as far left as possible. I think Trump’s policies are repugnant and nonsensical. I didn’t vote for him and have no faith in his abilities as president. He hasn’t passed any meaningful legislation (unless you count the atrocious tax bill), disrespects the Mayor of San Juan who was wading in bacteria infested post-Hurricane waters, claims there are “fine” people in a group of Neo-Nazis, wants to ban transgender people from the military, believes he is the human resources department of the NFL, wrongly claims other Presidents never called Gold Star families (they did) and increases nuclear threat by taunting Kim Jong-un in North Korea. President Trump is, so far, one of the worst and most dishonest presidents we’ve seen in modern history, which is why we need to say his name.
Calling him anything but the POTUS, doesn’t take away his power, it morphs Trump into a simple symbol, just another concoction of the Republican Party instead of a toxic, fear-mongering master of narcissism. Trump is the mess Republicans created with voter suppression, cosigning never-before-seen political mudslinging and pitting poor whites against the “others.” While I was no fan of the last two Bushes, they were better on their worst day than Trump on his best.
Nearly 63 million Americans voted for Trump despite his obvious racism, sexism and incessant bullying. Some Trump fans argue they voted for him because of the economy and jobs. How so? His only plan was, “We’ll create jobs! More jobs than you’ve ever seen!” Nearly every economy expert predicted Trump would be a disaster for the country (Trump has lied about his job creation history). We were all warned about Trump’s America. Therefore, the allegiance of Trumpites is disturbing and exposes a savage ugliness. But for some reason, and one that doesn’t surprise many, Trump captured the votes of America. The response of liberals should not be refusing to say his name, he is not Lord Voldemort from Harry Porter, he is our President. He is not a fictional character, he is the leader (or dismantler) of the free world.
This is a time in American history that needs to be fully remembered. In the way that we must never forget George Wallace, Adolph Hitler, or President Woodrow Wilson, three public figures who understood that fear is marketable. Trump is modern America’s biggest mistake and in only one year, we have yet to see the totality of destruction he will cause, which is why Bob Corker saying Trump is setting us “on the path to World War III” should terrify us all.
Trying to erase President Trump only emboldens him and inflames a cultural war where there are no victors. Whether you voted for him or not, he is our President, which impacts our lives. Just like you have to name a disease for research and eventually destroy the strain, President Donald Trump must be named. Rebrand him for the political hack that he is — just like he rebranded Lying Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio and Crooked Hillary. Stop trying to act as if he doesn’t exist. His name and title must be forever connected to the damage he has caused and continues to cause. He is the President; don’t pretty it up with nicknames. President Donald Trump is his official title. He was put in power by our constituents. He represents the current state of America, regardless of how revisionist history may decide to explain him. Say his damn name, even if the syllables choke you.