Though I wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the presidential election, I never thought I’d see the day when the presidency would be an actual bully’s pulpit. Forgetting everything else we know (and, all things holy help us, what we don’t yet), the president-elect will be the first Bully in Chief. I’m still shaking my head.
Bully (noun): a blustering browbeating person, especially one habitually cruel to others who are weaker… (like the disabled, POWs, immigrants, immigrant Gold Star families, women, blacks, latinos… did I forget anyone he insulted and sees as inferior?).
bully pulpit (noun): an important public position that allows a person to express beliefs and opinions to many people (bully meaning first-rate). From 26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency’s power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. (from Merriam-Webster.com) (italics added)
I was surprised, though, by people having such visceral, physical reactions to an election. Previously, whether my candidate won or lost, I’ve heard people complain of psychological or emotional pains/letdowns, but not nausea and other physical issues people talked about this time (including a millennial I know being so shocked that a vile, foul-mouthed bully could win an election, he became physically ill and had to leave his work).
As my nausea subsides (I wasn’t overtaken because I wasn’t surprised, but it still makes me a little sick), I’m comforted by the fact that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Believing that means that I have to assume that years (decades) of (positive progressive) change have led to this moment of many wanting it to stop.
Those who would try to take the country back in time would do well to remember that lesson of physics — it goes both ways. The resistance already feels strong — many people tried to stand up to the bully, but failed.. this time. The resistance to undoing too much, going too far back, will be stronger.
Progress was punched in the gut (perhaps that’s why we all felt so sick), but it wasn’t knocked out. It’ll move forward again. It might even gain some strength, when those who overlooked the Bully in Chief’s shortcomings because he promised the moon land somewhere in the ocean instead, probably without a life preserver (shortly after they come to terms with the fact that they’ve been duped).
Right trumps might and ignorance… eventually. Until then, I’m part of the movement that won’t let the past become the future again. I won’t back down, Bully. I’m not afraid. And I’m not alone.