I am not celebrating Trump’s inauguration. But I won’t be hostile either.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sings in the Conference Center at the morning session of the two-day Mormon church conference in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/George Frey, File)

Should the historically black Talladega College’s band, The Marching Tornadoes, accept their invitation to play at Donald J. Trump’s inauguration? The small Alabama college was founded to educate ex-slaves after the Civil War and is now affiliated with the socially progressive United Church of Christ. Would marching in the inaugural parade be an endorsement of the president-elect’s controversial agenda?

Passionate arguments, petitions, threats and counter-arguments have broken out among students, alumni and others concerned. After deliberation, the college administration decided to go to Washington, D.C. President Billy Hawkins justified the decision with the telling point that “the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power.” That is all well and good. Certainly, the peaceful and legal transfer of political power is a key value for a democracy.

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But it is also crucial in a democracy for concerned citizens to assemble, associate and voice their opinions and protests. Over the weekend, our family of adult children had its own spirited political debate. All of us are solid Democrats, all appalled by Mr. Trump’s campaign promises.

How to resist? Should one go on the proposed Women’s March on Washington? What about the full-page ad in The New York Times (Jan. 4) proclaiming in bold print: “NO!...We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America! …Stop the Trump/Pence Regime Before It Starts” and “Don’t Conciliate…Don’t Accommodate… Don’t Collaborate!”

The wording of this ad assumes that the country faces an extraordinary threat to its present and future freedom. No “normalization” should be attempted, and extraordinary resistance is justified. If fascism gains power it can destroy democratic safeguards. Could Mr. Trump’s presidency be this dangerous and dire?

How greatly we need wisdom and prudence at this political moment. I deeply deplore and fear Donald Trump’s stated purposes of denying climate change, expanding nuclear capabilities, resuming torture, reducing health care, and discriminating against and denigrating Muslims, Hispanics, blacks and women—for a start. But as a proven liar and distractible provocateur, will he be able to carry through on his threats? I think the legal structures in place, aided by inertia, may let cooler heads prevail. But I am not sure that anyone at this point can know how things will play out.

I do know what commitments I adhere to. As a Vatican-II, Gospel-guided Christian, I am dedicated to working for social justice and peace through only nonviolent means. I am with Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day, who say we must love our opponents and work for the common good. But what about those millions of Trump voters out there—how do you reach out to them?

We have to be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. Choosing nonviolent strategies that will be most effective is important. Creative peaceful resistance can further change: marches, sit-ins, vigils, boycotts, strikes, symbolic actions—along with local, national and international legal actions. Over the years, I have demonstrated against wars and for peace (repeatedly, alas), for climate action, for pro-life causes and against capital punishment. I see this as part of our Christian commitment to God and neighbor. I am no political animal, so I have envied activists their perseverance and energy. But the call to choose how to work for peace and justice cannot be avoided.

On Jan. 20, I would not go to celebrate Donald Trump’s inauguration, but neither would I disrupt the civil ceremony with hostility. For the next four years, I will be ready to protest and work against untruth and injustice. But only with peaceful nonviolence—which excludes crude, rude, aggressive hate speech. My “NO” will be spoken, but so will my encouragement of efforts to conciliate and reason together. As Gandhi well knew, “means are ends in the making.”

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J Cosgrove
11 months 1 week ago
I believe that Ms Callahan has an obligation to learn the truth about what is going on in the Trump transition and plans for future governance instead of issuing a laundry list of what may be faux accusations. What she is describing and what I understand are 180 degrees apart. Such a position exhibits an arrogance of one who thinks they know better than others but in actuality may be mis-informed.
But it is also crucial in a democracy for concerned citizens to assemble, associate and voice their opinions and protests
But when the concern gets to intimidation, it is something else. I would start by condemning the bullying that is going on against those who are supporting Trump and those who might offer their entertaining skills to celebrate a peaceful transition of power.
Anne Chapman
11 months 1 week ago
I saw nothing "faux" in anything Ms. Callahan has written. She has mentioned only a handful of statements made by Trump himself. It seems that she understands the truth, but it may have eluded you, as shown in your anxious attempts to normalize Trump. Trump himself is a bully, a personality characteristic exhibited countless times during his campaign and still going on with his many recent juvenile tweets directed towards anyone who says anything at all that he doesn't like - ranging from the entire US Intelligence community, to the entire non-alt-right media, to an actress who never even mentioned his name in her speech. But, of course, everyone knew who she was talking about because his performance in his bullying mockery of a disabled reporter is available for review at the touch of a computer key. Trump encouraged intimidation of his opponents countless times, encouraged violence bysuggesting that some protestors should be carried out on stretchers, saying he would like to punch some of them in the face himself, offering to pay the legal bills of those who physically attacked protestors at his rallies, and even suggesting that if Hillary were elected that the "2nd amendment" people might find a way to solve that problem. I do not support the kinds of actions against Trump and his program that he encouraged among his supporters. But your suggestion that poor Trump and the second-tier entertainers who are so anxious to be in the spotlight on January 20th are being "bullied" indicates that it is you who are unaware of the truth about Trump, about what is going on in the transition, and about his publicly stated many times plans for future governance. It's all there in the open, Mr. Cosgrove, so perhaps instead of criticizing Ms. Callahan, you should take the time to educate yourself. I would suggest that you seek out sources not tied to the alt-right or even to the mainstream right. Broaden your sources of news and analysis maybe? Go ahead and watch Fox and read the Washington Times, but also read the Washington Post and watch CNN (just examples).
J Cosgrove
11 months 1 week ago
Thank you for your comments. They reinforce what I have said because besides rhetoric and ad hominems there is nothing in them so essentially you are agreeing with me. Have you been watching the transition? From what you said, it does not seem you have. I have never supported Trump personally but the potential cabinet is full of very competent people who hopefully correct the excesses and poor direction of the previous 8 years.
Anne Chapman
11 months 1 week ago
Mr. Cosgrove, it seems that you read what you wish to read instead of what is written. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to which of my statements about Trump are not true? I can document every one of them. I have paid very close attention to the transition, to the cabinet picks, to what Ryan and McConnell and the rest of the Republican congress are up to. I pay close attention for many reasons - mostly because I am a concerned American, but also because until Trump I was a Republican - since I first voted in 1972. I have continued to cling to a fragile hope that "real" Republicans will at some point show some courage and integrity and oppose Trump's worst instincts.That some of them will no longer be willing to make Faustian bargains in order to further their own political careers. I hope his cabinet will also show some honesty, integrity and courage. .I have little faith in the integrity or knowledge of the White House staff and counsel, including Bannon (carefully being kept out of sight), his son-in-law and Ms. Conway, among others. . There are a few Cabinet nominees who seem to have been chosen primarily as an attempt to claim his cabinet has "diversity" - all assigned to jobs in agencies that Trump has little interest in, except perhaps in wishing to dismantle, with nominees having little or no knowledge and/or experience with the relevant issues other than to oppose the normal mission of the agency they were selected to lead. A few of his choices made very large donations to the Trump campaign. Are they otherwise qualified? Others have some kind of significant eperience in something, although many have no experience with the issues involved with the agencies they have been nominated to lead. Other nominees have relevant experience, but are problematic choices. For example, Flynn has experience but is also reported to have been so averse to verifiable facts at times that those who worked under him developed a phrase to describe his often questionable assertions - "Flynn facts". He was replaced at the DIA before his term was up - it almost never happens that the head of the DIA or related agencies is replaced before the end of their term. His cozy relationship with the Russians is worrisome and there are other legitimate questions being raised related to his consulting firm. Unfortunately, his position does not require Congressional confirmation. He and his son (originally slated to serve on the NSC) admitted that they spread conspiracy theories about Hillary (such as pizzagate) via social media, and didn't apologize for it, although the tweets have been removed now. They are on the record though, even if they were "disappeared". He is just one example of a problematic appointment to one of the most important jobs in government. . The possibility for conflicts of interest are not only obvious with Trump himself, but also with many of his billionaire cabinet appointees. Will protecting their personal wealth of some of the billionaire nominees take priority over the national interest? Trump is not alone in refusing to release his taxes so that we ourselves can see how deeply the personal wealth and business interests are entangled with foreign relationships (and foreign investments and foreign partners and foreign investors in their businesses). The lack of transparency is worrisome. Some of the Cabinet nominees are saying that they disagree with Trump on one campaign promise or another. What will happen If they do this after confirmation? Will Trump revert to his lifelong habit of dealing with those who oppose him and simply say "You're fired"? Will he say "You're fired" if the Sec of Defense refuses to go along with the weakening of NATO, or appeaement of Putin?. Perhaps the Trump team will simply try to tie the hands of a Cabinet member who is not going along, as they are doing already with Gen. Mattis by trying to prevent him from making crucial executive level DoD appointments and having the White House transition team make them instead. "Have you been watching the transition? From what you said, it does not seem you have No I do not "watch" the transition as I prefer to get my information from non televised sources. I read and often I do basic research about what I read. Keeping up with the "latest" in great detail is part of the start to every day, consumed along with the morning coffee. I read a lot about everything that interests me, including about the transition and cabinet nominees. My research includes a broad array of sources, including some international sources, and I fact-check with primary sources as often as possible. That's one problem with TV and radio if that is what you do - "watch" - there is very little detail, no source citations are readily available for fact-checking, and few of us can write fast enough to put down the questions we may have about a TV presentation in order to research them later. Reading provides a far more complete picture, greater detail, verifiable citations, and are more reliable than TV as long as the sources are reliable, which is not true of much of the media that is relied on by Trump's base.. So please do not make assumptions when you have no idea who I am, nor how I learn what Iearn lest you fit your description of Ms. Callahan - What she is describing and what I understand are 180 degrees apart Your comfort with Trump's transition is 180 degrees apart from what I see and understand. I assume then that you would agree that because you see things differently than do I, or Ms. Callahan, that your position exhibits an arrogance of one who thinks they know better than others but in actuality may be mis-informed.
J Cosgrove
11 months 1 week ago
Thank you for reinforcing all that I have said because you have said nothing relevant. You have opinions which you are certainly entitled to. Instead of attacking, I would ask questions if you disagree. I have a question What would the phrase "Have you been watching the transition?" mean prior to 1950? I would think it or something almost like it might have been said in ancient times. It certainly has nothing necessarily to do with television. The word in this context is tantamount to using the word "observing."
Stanley Kopacz
11 months ago
I think you're being told that you haven't seen what you have seen or heard what you have heard by someone who has eyes but doesn't see and ears but doesn't hear.
Sandi Sinor
11 months ago
Some who comment here never see and they never hear, they are too caught up in their rightness and righteousness. And perhaps, there is some arrogance too, a fault they see only in others, those who disagree with them. How dare Ms. Callahan see things differently than I do - such arrogance!
Derrick Weiller
11 months ago
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Chuck Kotlarz
11 months 1 week ago
J.R. Tolkien’s Lady of the Woods perhaps would say, “Obamacare’s time has come. Do we leave twenty million people to their fate? Do we let them stand alone?" Would Treebeard, on hearing of a proposed repeal of Obamacare, bellow, “There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery.”?
Lisa Weber
11 months 1 week ago
I have never been much interested in politics, but I feel compelled to speak up and write my members of Congress. I will demonstrate if the opportunity presents itself. This election is not a normal event and this president-elect is not normal either. He presents a huge danger to this country - a danger that must be addressed. Legal means are a necessity, but we also need to recognize that Donald Trump has clearly indicated that legality and ethics are meaningless to him. It makes no sense to plan on leaving him in the White House for four years because we need to acknowledge that he is unfit for the office, incapable of fulfilling its duties, and has no intention of behaving in an ethical manner. In cases like this, the only logical plan is to impeach him as soon as it can be made to happen.
Chuck Kotlarz
11 months 1 week ago
Sister Simone Campbell’s book, “A Nun On The Bus” perhaps would interest you. She posts some comments on the web page of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: https://networklobby.org/ The site can also help with writing congress.
Anne Chapman
11 months 1 week ago
I cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who represents a total betrayal of both American and christian values. I cannot celebrate an event that is taking place because tens of millions of Americans stood behind this man and voted for him even though his rhetoric represented a total betrayal of American values, rhetoric based on hate and exclusion and promotion of violence towards those who protested his statements. This group of voters includes tens of millions of "christians" who claim to believe in Jesus' teachings and yet voted for a man who promotes policies that are opposed to everything Jesus taught. More than 80% of evangelical "christians" supported him as did about 60% of non-hispanic white Catholic "christians". On Jan 20, I will avoid watching television and the news during the inauguration period and use the time to pray that those around him will have the integrity and courage to stop his worst and most dangerous impulses if needed. If they can't stop his worst impulses, this may be the last peaceful transfer of power the US sees for a while. I will support groups that will oppose his worst policies if he tries to implement them. I will support groups that help those targeted by Trump during his campaign - minorities, Latinos, women and Muslims. Sojourners, an ecumenical Christian group, has had several good articles recently offering specific actions on how to resist Trump and his program. We no longer have a month until the inauguration, but the recommendations in the article linked to below are still good. https://sojo.net/articles/weve-got-month-until-inauguration-day-heres-what-we-can-do-right-now Also - A "6 Point Program of Resistance" https://sojo.net/articles/resistance-patriotic-and-christian Those who oppose Trump and what he stands for may also want to add their names to Sojourner's Matthew 25 pledge. https://sojo.net/matthew-25-pledge
Tim O'Leary
11 months ago
As a highly skeptical nevertrumper, I am now having to come to terms with the new President. But, I think it highly self-righteous to think that all those religious conservatives and former Obama voting Democrats/liberals/whatever who voted for Trump did so for racist or bad or immoral motives. Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton is the second-most unpopular candidate in recent history, so one was faced with a terrible choice. Which is worse - to deny that humans are causing global warming or that those in the womb are not human? I took the decision not to vote for either (I wrote in a Hispanic name) and leave the result in God's hands. Having said that, here are 3 things that are very encouraging: 1. The death spiral of Obamacare will end. So many people I know have been financially crippled by it. It needs to go. Trump has promised "insurance for everyone." While I am skeptical, I will be impressed if he achieves it. Obama tried to make the sisters of the poor pay for other peoples' contraceptives - how crazy was that? That is gone. So is forcing us all to pay for Planned Parenthood. Now Hollywood liberals will pay the bill. 2. A pro-life Supreme Court Justice (or 2) will strengthen the nation and religious freedom. Shouldn't all religious people want that? 3. Part of the Obama legacy is ISIS, Aleppo, Libya, the Crimea, Orlando, San Bernardino, massive terror attacks across Europe and a horde of refugees invading Europe (if they don't die on the way) - something never seen in the worst days of the Bush wars in the Middle East. He has proven that when America refuses to lead, the world goes to hell. Trump's cabinet appointments seem very strong in this area. but, we will see.
Chuck Kotlarz
11 months ago
“The death spiral of Obamacare will end.” Four hundred families perhaps saw their combined $100 billion income (the majority from capital gains) death spiral when the capital gains tax increased from fifteen to twenty-three percent. Sorry to hear your report about the financially crippled. US families with employer coverage saw their average annual premium increase fall from seven percent (2000 to 2009) to about four percent during the “death spiral”. 600,000 Medicare enrollees in one state saved $53 million on drug costs in 2015.
Tim O'Leary
11 months ago
Chuck - while I don't care what the 400 families (a majority who supported Hillary Clinton) gained or lost, it is the middle class that got hit the most. Everyone I know, even those who initially were supportive about it, now want it ended or greatly modified. See here for some of the year-end costs. http://freebeacon.com/issues/administrative-costs-doubled-implementation-obamacare/. Here is an example of a Pennsylvanian Democrat who found out the hard way what Obamacare was doing http://dailysignal.com/2017/01/10/as-congress-plots-repeal-former-pennsylvania-democrat-faces-784-in-monthly-premiums-under-obamacare/ Remember Obama's " If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor"
Chuck Kotlarz
11 months ago
Your first link suggests a $10 billion insurer administration cost for twenty million ACA enrollees. Perhaps that partly explains findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association. US life expectancy ranks 27th among the world’s 34 industrial nations, despite spending much more on health care than any other nation. Your second link, from a “think tank”, has a piece about a Pennsylvania man. The link below offers an in-depth picture of health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania. In 2015, sixty percent of ACA enrollees were in right-to-work states. Twenty-four of twenty-six right-to-work states voted for Trump. How do you know who the 400 highest US income people voted for? The IRS does not release names, so where did the info come from? https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts-and-features/state-by-state/how-aca-is-working-for-pennsylvania/index.html# http://www.alternet.org/why-do-americans-live-lives-so-short
Tim O'Leary
11 months ago
Chuck - You probably didn't see Politico's "Billionaires for Hillary" or "Why Billionaires favor Hillary" http://fortune.com/2016/09/26/billionaires-clinton-trump/, - quote "Donald Trump might be in the billionaire's club, but his cohorts don't want him to be the next president." most of the very rich people who have endorsed a candidate have gone for Hillary, including many Republicans, like Meg Whitman, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Cuban, Seth Klarman (Hedge funds), Alice Walton (!), Haim Saban (Power Rangers), JB Pritzker. The richest of all, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and the Zuckerbergs, Rockefellers, and Gates all went for her, as did Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Sheryl Sandberg, Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com). Fortune ends their article with this: "And billionaires aside, even the CEOs of the Fortune 100 have donated nothing to Trump"
Chuck Kotlarz
11 months ago
Forbes perhaps can offer some insight: "Gates' father was the public face of Washington State's ballot initiative 1098, which would have slapped...a 9% levy on income over $1 million…(Bill) Gates remains a proponent of higher taxes for the rich, telling the BBC that it's "just justice" for him and his fellow billionaires to pay a greater percentage to the state." Hillary Clinton supported the Buffet Rule which would impose a 30% minimum tax on the top 0.3% of incomes. Don’t forget George Soros, another Buffet rule supporter. http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/04/10/the-buffett-rules-billionaire-backers-meet-the-super-rich-who-want-to-pay-more-taxes/#68a105d523ba
Ysais Martinez
11 months ago
The inauguration of a new president is a civic event. Whether people protest or not, he will be the 45th POTUS. Personally, and this is me, VERY personally, I am exhausted that I cannot read a page in the press or even a philosophy/religious journal without being dragged back to the election. I used to complain that the country I escaped to come to America was in a perpetual state of presidential campaign. Now it seems to me that we, in America, will be in a perpetual state of campaign/election for the next 4 or 8 years. Venting a side, I will pray for the president-elect. If he leads the country to an abyss we all lose. And a piece of advice to protesters. Instead of blocking roads, sign up people, communicate with them, and take them to the ballot to vote in 2018 and 2020.
Michael Barberi
10 months 4 weeks ago
This article demonstrates how divided our country is, especially with Trump. People have a right to protest non-violently and promote their sense of right and wrong and what kinds of policies should shape our country. I did not vote for Trump or Clinton but I did vote for House and Senate candidates and any initiative on the ballet. As for Trump, I will judge him as the POTUS., not by his rhetoric or tweets which I hope will improve, but most importantly on the policies he implements. This will require compromise and debate with both democrats and republicans. People forget how divisive the last 8 years have been. Republicans were not invited to participate in the 'closed-door meetings' that shaped healthcare legislation. Obama did not move effectively to bridge the divisions in Washington and 'fix our broken system' as he promised on the campaign trail. All we were told is that you can keep your doctor, health plan and save about $2500 a year on the new healthcare plan. None of this was true. Now we see the significant problems ObamaCare is causing millions of Americans. It is collapsing under its own weight and something needs to be done to fix it. National Health Insurance is not the answer as this will cripple our objective of balancing cost and access. Trust me, I was a senior partner in a worldwide benefits consulting firm and a senior vice president of a Fortune 100 healthcare services company. What we need is more collaboration, respectful debate and compromise for the good of our country. What we don't need is more haired, rigidity and polarization. If Trump implements policies for the good of the country, I will say Bravo, its about time. If his policies hurt our country, I will deplore them....pure and simple. We need to recognize that there is a wide middle ground between the best and worst legislative policies (e.g., immigration, tax reform, border security, healthcare, foreign policy) and we should expect politicians to fight well for what they want, but if every position a politician takes is based on 'a rigid stand' then nothing will get done. Let's give the new President a chance and then judge his policies.

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