Later today Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
You might be celebrating. You might be panicking. You might be holding your head in shame. Or you might be doing what my daughter is – relishing the prospect of the extraordinary and random news that’s ahead. To quote her in the car yesterday evening: “I’m excited; who knows what he’s going to do next.”
She’s only 14, so I have to forgive her … but I’m horrified he’s about to be the leader of the free world. As I said to my daughter, it might make for an exciting time in the news but this is a man who laughingly celebrates sexual assault!
My horror and the lessons I’m trying to share with my daughter to one side, what is the point of talking about Donald Trump’s inauguration.
There’s the obvious platform something like the inauguration would give any new leader to set out their strategy. Anyone who takes over a business or organization has a moment in time to say what they stand for; to articulate how they should be measured.
It’s not something to be taken lightly because the opportunity will not arise in quite the same way again. You will only ever have one chance to say something for the first time. Your legacy begins to be written at your first interaction.
But I draw other things from the inauguration, perhaps the most important being, if you’ve got issues or concerns, own them. And if you want to give them voice, be prepared to get involved.
For me Trump is abhorrent. He spreads hate – towards women, towards Mexicans, towards Muslins, towards anyone who’s not in his gang. But there’s not much to be said for sniping on the sidelines. If I hate what he represents then I should be willing to stand up and be counted; I should be willing to roll my sleeves up and get involved on behalf of what I believe in.
I’m not American so there’s not much I can do about his election. But that doesn’t mean I can’t step forward and be counted for what I believe in.
In a meeting I was in yesterday a member of the committee expressed his opinions very strongly. More than that he was saying it would be wholly wrong for others to try to curb his ability to voice his opinion by implementing rule changes that might have that effect. A little while later he put up his hand volunteering to get involved in two sub-committees.
This is a really good example of what I mean. It’s something I try to live by. I’m involved in different organisations, ones that relate to my work and ones for which I volunteer. In all of them I try to stick to the same principle. When I think something isn’t working as it should or needs to change, I try not to be passive whiner. I try not to complain about the way things are unless I’m prepared to step forward. And if I think things need to change, I need to role my sleeves up, argue my case and be part of the change process.
So, what to do about Donald Trump and his misogynist views. My options are limited in his immediate environment but what I can do is argue the case for equality in every environment I work in and take steps to correct imbalances.
If I’m part of an organisation, any organisation I ask myself why and do my best to get involved and if I’m not prepared to back up my opinions with action, I try to be circumspect with my opinions.