It's inauguration day. The country's second appointed president* is starting his first day in office. I stood in front of a small stand at an Asian market and surveyed a collection of national papers. All had large cover stories with something to do with Trump. The New York Times had an image recalling earlier pictures of Chairman Mao prior to the Great Leap Forward: a large, intimidating figure in a knee-length coat, backed on both sides by military men, with the headline "Trump Takes Power…," rather than a line about his being the new American President. I found it appropriate.
Even better, though, is our paper above. A new U.S. President is being inaugurated into office, and the front page is something about emojis and restaurants. Now that's bold. Just a side column with a smallish picture and the word "pomp" instead of any notable mention of his name. Ah, yes. Today's headlines on Seattletimes.com, too, aren't about Trump's speech yesterday but rather about the historic marches taking place worldwide today. Say what you will about The Seattle Times. They've been out of step with the city's thinking before, but I find this quite impressive.
I've told many people that news networks will love the next four years. There is so much money to be made off of a person of his temperament and lack of experience holding the world's most powerful office. And it is important to write about what happens, but not to give him more press for no reason. This isn't turning a blind eye; it's choosing to focus on something more worthwhile, more culturally edifying, more enlightening than a fluff piece on an aspirant despot in the moments before he takes action. It's a slap in the face to what the president wants: coverage, coverage, coverage. Instead, we get an article about an unfair emoji-based grading system for restaurant food safety– as a front page banner headline.
When Trump actually starts doing things, coverage will be necessary.** But I'd like for us to remember a moment when it wasn't quite yet, and our paper had the audacity and integrity to deviate from the expected status quo. Bravo, I say.
As for the nationwide silent marches and worldwide support of them (in the form of even more women's rights support), today's voices will be recorded as historical. The figures are already staggering. We in Seattle can take pride in many things. Among them is the editorial choice of yesterday's front page. Or the fact that Washington State had the highest number of faithless electors in the last-ditch attempt to disqualify Mr. Trump's presidency. Or the fact that today, Seattle is expected to be among the largest of the protests in the country, third only to Washington, D. C. and Los Angeles. As the organizers of today's Seattle march have stated, the point of today's march is channel fear and anger into unified action.
Historians will eviscerate the political decisions being made now. They will not look kindly on our time. But they will not chide us, the people, for going quietly into the night. We lived in a country where we, at the very least, could express our refusal to tolerate hate, prejudice, misuse of power.
And by God, did we do so.
*Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.
**Meryl Streep eloquently opined about the need for journalists to tell the truth during this presidency. How did the new president respond? By bashing Streep on Twitter. CNN this morning compared the Trump inauguration crowd to the Women's March crowd. How did Trump respond? By tweeting a demand that his crowd not be compared unfavorably, and that the National Park Service halt tweeting entirely.