Valhalla

If you’re going to make this happen, you’re going to have to drive it home. That means no matter what people say, you remember to play and be humble. Never get too big for your britches. Never get too small. Don’t let anyone choke your voice out. Learn to listen. Let your pursuits always be of your own making? Always be of your own making. Let people in with caution. It is all terrifyingly personal. Art is that way.

Rolling in their Graves

Americans, we are great. We are greater than this election. We are greater than the politics and the principles that divide us. We are greater than the propaganda that our media networks have perpetuated. As the 45th president, Donald J. Trump has pledged to unify this country under his agenda; an agenda that does not align with the values most conducive to international cooperation and the defense of human rights. My country has afforded me a life with many freedoms, and with those freedoms intact I am prepared to stand united with my fellow countrymen in holding fast the pillars of our government. However, I cannot in good faith stand united under a man so remarkably unqualified to execute the office of President of the United States of America. A man so far removed from politics as to not have been a politician prior to this election campaign. A man who first introduced himself to his constituents by accusing all humans of a certain ethnicity of being rapists, then threatened the exile of all humans of a certain religion from the country. A man whose prejudices compromise the reproductive rights of humans of a certain gender. A man who has proven himself unable to eloquently speak, let alone act on behalf of the American people.

I am here today to start a discussion. Please, I encourage all of you to take a cooperative approach to peacefully protesting this matter. As a country, we remain deeply divided by our opinions; also by barriers to communication that we must overcome. If there is any question whether we as Americans reserve the right to rise above these walls, to challenge ourselves and our government to better the lives of all, we need only look to our founding documents. Among those is the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, written in 1776. It begins:

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Our Declaration of Independence goes on to describe the circumstances with which the colonies felt necessary to step out from under the tyrannical rule of the King of Britain nearly 250 years ago. I, in fact, do not advocate that we seek independence from our current government under the rule of President Donald Trump. I suggest that we acknowledge the progress we have made in those 250 years to establish civility in this country. I suggest that we acknowledge the human rights violations that we have inflicted. When our children walk out of our classrooms and choose no longer to learn from us because of who we have given power over them it is time that we put ourselves in check. And while highly unlikely that, as Trump suggests, the American people will bind the wounds of division and come together as one united, it is time. We often stand alone in our wants, wills, and hopes. We are individuals; held accountable only by ourselves and our kin to prosper and live with respect on this pale blue dot that orbits the sun.

I am an environmental scientist by trade, and thus am personally inclined to speak briefly on behalf of the planet. I stand firm on the soil where I was born. I stand firm with those responding to climate change. Donald Trump, a big-business tycoon and climate skeptic, has no place delegating responsibility within the EPA. I stand with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline and adamantly oppose projects such as the Keystone Pipeline. Trump’s bias and business interests compel him to push these projects forward, while his ignorance of environmental policy, treaty rights, and so forth make him incapable of making and educated decision on such matters. I am most proud of our nation’s wildlands and view Trump’s proposed policies as a direct threat to the future of those wild and protected places. On behalf of the land that sustains you I implore you all, do not abandon this.

In the weeks and months to come we will be faced with the daunting task of addressing a government that has failed to serve in the best interest of the people during a formal presidential election, as is evident by the protests taking place in major cities across America. I encourage all of you to continue standing up for what you believe in. Rise to meet this challenge. I do not accept the Trump platform. I would ask for an international tribunal. Have you noticed? Has anyone noticed? We can’t hear you from in here! Our borders are closing. America, we are great enough to bear the burden of enacting social change. The road before us lies unpaved, but please press on. Reach out to your elected representatives. Reach out to your loved ones. Do not be afraid to speak up. The world is listening.