This is the big day. For some, it’s the dawn of a new era. For others, it’s the beginning of some very dark times. Either way, today is the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the leader of the free world.
I’ve spoken at length about the 2016 election and the phenomena of Donald Trump. Several months ago, I wrote an editorial wondering if our nation would ever recover from the most divisive election in my lifetime. As of January 2017, the answer is “not yet.” The divide is still there, and many Americans are still feeling angry and even a bit betrayed by the results of the 2016 election. For some, the phrase “not my president” has now been transferred from the departing Barack Obama to the incoming Donald Trump, in a sense showing that nothing has really changed.
Some Americans’ refusal to accept a Trump Presidency can be seen in the highly publicized struggle to find musicians to perform at the “Make America Great Again!” celebration held last night. I’m not sure if there has ever been this much media coverage on such a thing, at least not that I can remember. They’re always quick to point out that U2 played at the President Obama’s first inauguration and Beyonce performed at his second. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s inauguration featured the musical stylings of country star Toby Keith and the hard rock band 3 Doors Down, both of whom are fine acts, but not exactly in the same league as Bono, The Edge or Queen B.
Not a single “A-list” performer volunteered to perform for Donald Trump. This, along with the many political figures bowing out of attending the event, shows just how much Trump has alienated the world around him, and that the divisions are still there. I was discussing this with Marissa, who writes our entertainment articles, and found myself actually feeling a little disappointed. I told her that I wished that one performer, someone huge like Lady Gaga or Kanye West, had agreed to perform. Not that I don’t think 3 Doors Down could hold their own on a stage, but because it could have been the first steps toward re-unifying a divided nation.
Like it or not, a celebrity is a person of influence. They are always in the public eye, under heavy scrutiny from the media and idolized by their fans. The influence they have on our culture is mind-blowing. For example, I was in high school when Kanye West usurped 50 Cent as the major artist in rap music. Almost overnight, things like sneakers and style overtook guns, “beef,” and other “gangsta rap” tropes in the public consciousness of young people. Other popular artists, like the aforementioned Beyonce and Lady Gaga as well as others such as Rihanna, Adele, Drake, and Taylor Swift have accumulated millions of loyal fans who would follow them anywhere. Now imagine if one of them agreed to perform at Trump’s inauguration.
As I explained to Marissa, they could make it clear that they don’t necessarily agree with Trump on a number of things, but they’re still supporting the President of the United States in a show of unity. Imagine the power a statement like that would have, not to mention the affect it would have on the young people who admire them.
Of course, this is wishful thinking, but while we don’t have an A-list performer to show us the way, we must still try to put this idea into practice. The fact is, Donald Trump is our President, and for some of us, including many of our readers, this isn’t what we wanted. However, these are the cards that we’ve been dealt, and we need to accept that. If many allegedly consider Trump to be the worst aspects of America personified while we are enlightened and progressive individuals, then we should conduct ourselves as such. Rather than keeping ourselves at the level of a man who is allegedly uncompromising in his ways, it should be on us to get rid of the divisions that his election has created. Rather than being outraged about the things he tweets or whatever plans he has for the nation, we should move on, and focus on bettering ourselves and the world around us.
Every one of you reading this has the power to make the world a better place, regardless of who our President is. This university has the potential to create medical students, who could eventually become doctors who operate free clinics for those who can’t afford insurance, or lobbyists and attorney’s who can fight the injustices that an ordinary citizen faces. Each student at this university can change the world for the better on an individual level, and if enough of us get involved in the process, the change can be even greater.
If you’re one of those who fears that the incoming presidency will lead to a new dark age, just remember that you have the power to ensure that it doesn’t.