Opinion: Time to roll up our sleeves and get to work

By Alex Ritsema | November 12, 2016 1:30pm

“Time to roll our sleeves up and get to work.”

I’d like to think this my first thought when I saw the election results, but it wasn’t. No, it was to call my Mom and tell her an only sort-of-funny joke I had thought of. She picked up, and I said, “I know we talked yesterday, but I figured I’d make a phone call under President Trump.” My mom laughed in that I-can’t-believe-it kind of way, and I walked home.

I turned on the news the next morning and saw our president-elect sitting in the White House, speaking with Obama. I realized I would be waking up every morning and getting in bed every night in Trump’s America. My joke seemed less funny.

The sexual predator and late-night tweeter who never ran for city council, the man I saw as a strange fluke in the election, would soon be running the country.

I thought about how terrible it was that my first reaction was to make a joke of it all, a reaction that came because white males never were a talking point in a Trump rally but rather a demographic more likely to be present at one. My reaction differed greatly from my friends who are currently worried about what their future holds, communities that fear they are no longer welcome in the very country they thought of as home.

I still couldn’t get over seeing Trump in the Oval Office when it went to commercial. It seemed like some weird comedy skit playing on the Trump-as-president joke around since the Simpsons covered it in 2000. Obama comes back in after leaving the keys to the White House with Donald and says, “you can leave now,” but Donald just kind of stands there with a stupid grin on his face and everyone laughs. Then Obama insists, and you think that’s the part where Donald says “Ok, I just always imagined what it’d be like.” Donald walks out and the skit ends.

Then you realize he’s not leaving.

This is when I started thinking about rolling up my sleeves.

Trump will be our president. For those who currently don’t see a light or have seen that light dimmed immensely, at least look at how the loss was handled by Obama and Clinton — a class act in a dark election.

This wish for success to Trump by Obama and Clinton comes with a caveat, though. As I write this, friends of mine are in downtown Portland chanting “not my president.” I urge us to see this and treat this as a statement made by anyone passionate enough to demand their leaders be held accountable, Republican and Democrat.

Our country may have voted for him, but that doesn’t mean we defend the new administration going forward. Trump will be our president, and with that comes the necessity for everyone to call President Trump out over the next four years, most importantly if and when he begins to sound like he’s #notourpresident.

Alex Ritsema is a senior history major and can be reached at ritsema17@up.edu.