I want a new president

I belong to a group of people known as liberals. We go by other names too — Democrats, the left, progressives — but “liberal” seems just fine for me.

This past Tuesday, Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech, and I rolled my eyes throughout it (typical liberal). Honestly, I applaud the speechwriter who wrote it, because they added enough flowery language to make Trump appear as if he accomplished nearly all of his goals in his first year as president (and then some!). Yet for me, the speech appeared as conventional as any other State of the Union speech given by other presidents. I don’t think Trump exposed a new side of himself that we hadn’t seen before; he only played his part as president.

After the speech, I asked a few of my liberal friends what they thought — assuming they had also seen the façade — but they surprised me. They said, “Honestly, Trump spoke with unity rather than his usual hostility. I actually think tonight was pretty good. It may be the start of something new!” This response was unusual since it came from some liberals like myself; they had associated “unity” with someone who has been historically divisive. When I went on Twitter, I saw tweets that shared a similar sentiment — astonishment, admiration, and praise.

I was shocked.

When I looked at the tweets of some conservative profiles, they welcomed liberals to ‘the Trump Train.’ Most people were actually satisfied with what they saw at the State of the Union. I’m fine with the tweets advertising that, but as I was scrolling through all the posts, there was a tweet that upset me. It said, “trump sounded presidential, and yet some angry liberals are still mad. what more could they want.”

So now I belong to a new group of people known as “angry liberals.” This new group seems more appropriate for me, evidently because only angry liberals expect more from their president than a think-tank tested speech. And since I’m now an angry liberal, I’ll answer the question given to me: what more could I want?

First of all, I want a president who is held to a higher standard than his own tweets. Americans shouldn’t have to praise their president for “sounding presidential,” as if resisting urges to name-call and act divisively is impressive.

I want a president who, despite campaigning solely on his deal-making abilities, could have actually negotiated a bipartisan deal to keep the government from shutting down last week — a president who would have took responsibility, rather than blame the opposing political party for a failed spending plan (especially when his own party controls every branch of the federal government).

I want a president who doesn’t believe building a wall is a valid solution to illegal immigration — a president who realizes that nearly double the number of unauthorized immigrants only overstayed their temporary visas and flew here by plane, not by crossing the border. I want a president who knows that people from Mexico aren’t even the majority group of unauthorized immigrants staying in the United States.

I want a president who is characterized as something more than a child, a bigot, and a stubborn troublemaker — a president who hasn’t paid a porn star to keep quiet about a sexual affair with him, who hasn’t tried firing the lead investigator who’s questioning the legitimacy of his presidency, and who won’t immediately retaliate to criticism from Hollywood actress Meryl Streep by calling her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

I want a president who not only speaks about unity but who actually unites communities in America through legislation and leadership. I want a president who expresses compassion for American people regardless of whether they’re visiting, on a visa, unauthorized, or citizens — a president who won’t deport a ten-year-old girl while she’s on her way to get emergency gallbladder surgery, whose only ‘flaw’ is her legal status.

I want a leader. I want someone with kindness. I want someone who respects the profoundness of their position. I want someone who has dedicated their life to public service, who is cognizant of domestic, international, social, cultural, and economic affairs, and who earned their presidency rather than bought it.

I’m not fazed by Trump’s State of the Union speech, because a speech doesn’t provide support for the millions of Americans who still desperately need it. A speech doesn’t forgive a tax bill that, according to nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, provides 65 percent of its tax cuts to the top 20 percent of income earners and provides 20 percent of its tax cuts to the top 1 percent.

I’m tired of the lies. I’m tired of the deception. I’m tired of the desperation that many Americans genuinely feel. I’m tired of Donald Trump. I’m tired of all of it.

I’m ready for a real president.

About the Author

Matthew Cunningham
Student, athlete, writer, political nerd, and patriarchy smasher