By Anna Bryner
This phrase, often used at the end of Donald Trump’s tweets, also describes how #NeverTrump Americans felt about his election.
But now the election is over, and Donald Trump is president. For #NeverTrump-ers, it stings like a bad breakup.
Though disappointed, it’s time for the #NeverTrump camp to move on and grapple with what #NeverTrump means in the post-election period. Can a #NeverTrump-er morally attend Donald Trump’s inauguration? Accept a major nomination from his administration? Or simply, as a citizen, support him as president?
These questions of morality center on two main questions: What distinction should we make between the individual holding the office and the office itself? And what moral implications does the difference hold for one who is #NeverTrump?
Through his actions, Mitt Romney, who originally helped to spur the #NeverTrump Movement, proposed an answer. Quick to congratulate Trump for winning and willing to undergo consideration for Secretary of State in Trump’s administration, Romney demonstrated a belief that it is in the country’s best interest to respect the office of the president. And apparently, this respect means acknowledging and demonstrating civility toward the person who holds the office, even if you severely disagree with the individual.
Though some argue Romney only sought political gain, I believe he recognized an opportunity to serve his country—an opportunity to help the country remain on a better course. What Romney demonstrated is a lesson to all in the #NeverTrump camp: when your country calls, you answer. You don’t cast aside your willingness to contribute because you disdain Donald Trump. Rather, you more eagerly seek to become involved in advocating for what is right. You seek to build America, and that includes respecting the office of the presidency.
That sentiment seems to be shared by Jackie Evancho, who told the New York Times she was performing at the president’s inauguration because, “I just kind of thought this is for my country.”
While I share sentiments with the #NeverTrump camp, I too feel a personal responsibility to do what I can “for my country.” And I believe my country is strengthened when we respect the Constitution and the offices it has created.
Doing things “for my country” doesn’t mean condoning Trump’s character, statements, or policies. I’ll be quick to fight against measures I believe are harmful to the country. But likewise, I’ll back any of the President’s measure that I genuinely believe will help my country.
If I really care about what is best for my country, then I can’t just be #NeverTrump anymore. #NeverTrump works as an option at the ballot box, but being against what has already happened isn’t an option for our country.
Instead, it’s time to be for something—it’s time to be for building America. While we may not always hold the President in high regard, we can respect the office by striving to demonstrate civility toward the new administration. Instead of protesting the past, it’s time for the #NeverTrump camp to fight for the future.
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