Urgent: The sun rose today

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Image from Getty Images via New York magazine.

Per the Constitution by way of the 20th Amendment, at noon today Donald J. Trump took the oath of office and became the 45th president of the United States of America.

The earth did not open up to reveal hellfire and sulfurous caverns, nor did the clouds part for heavenly trumpets.

The temperature in Washington was 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It was cloudy with a band of rain moving through town. A friend tells me it’s been raining on and off with gray skies. It was a winter’s day.

Anyone who’s read this blog (both of you) know that I’m not a fan of the new president. I worry about his unpredictability and impulsiveness. I cringe at his bullying need for dominance. I disagree with many of the positions he’s espoused and with the stands of many of his cabinet appointees.

I find myself seeking comfort in one of the watchwords of the Jewish people — not the Shema, but a song from the great bard Mel Brooks, “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst.”

But Trump is president. I understand the emotion behind the hashtag #notmypresident, but to me it’s of no more value than using the hashtag #notmysinger after Van Halen dropped David Lee Roth in favor of Sammy Hagar. I’m an American who lives in the United States. Donald Trump is the president of the country I live in. QED.

By the same token, I simply can’t shrug with the philosophical, “The sun rose today,” as if nothing momentous has happened. Sure the run rose today. It also rose 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the planet and humans didn’t exist, and will rise 100 million years from now, when some species we haven’t envisioned is atop the long-buried ruins of our cities. The Earth itself isn’t due for extinction for at least a billion years.

In the meantime, we’re here in the Anthropocene. If you’re worried about Trump and his impact, the time to act is now and in the coming months, not in four years.

In the words of Patton Oswalt, “The first thing we have to do — and it’s only a little thing, really, but it’s gotta be everyday — is an ongoing, gentle blowing on the tiny spark of sanity that’s still left, to keep it glowing. … Keep it lit. And keep things light. And huddle up.”

Time to get to work.

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