My dear conservative friends, please know that your liberal friends are not rooting for the country to fall into ruins or for the president to fail in a general sense. Contrary to the Donald Trump-based political meme floating around the internet that says “Wanting TRUMP to fail is like wanting the plane we are all on to crash,” your liberal friends don’t want the plane to crash (even if the pilot is unpalatable). Come on, folks, even if we disagree on priorities or policies, can we at least assume that as Americans we all want to see our country and citizens thrive? That both sides of any issue are populated with patriots?
Wishing for someone to be “successful” is a complex issue. If the pilot’s stated goal was to steer the plane into the nearest mountain, should I as the passenger cheerily wish him well in that endeavor? In our common aims, I wish for the current administration to be totally successful. I hope that in the next four years (and beyond) we are all wildly healthy, wealthy, and happy. It may stick in my craw that the catalyst for said happiness is someone I dislike, but I’m a practical person. I’ll take it. Anyone would.
What I can’t do is wish that the administration is successful with things like building a wall or contributing to a culture where women’s voices are marginalized. I can’t hope for the success of actions that I feel will work against our common goal of health, wealth, and happiness. That is neither disrespectful nor divisive. Insisting that everyone who loves their country must wish for the unqualified success of the president is the grown-up equivalent of shoving a scrawny middle-schooler to the ground, digging your knee into his shoulder, and shouting, “Say you love it! Say you love to eat dirt!” (Now there’s a political meme just waiting to be made.)
In this country, our leaders are not demigods. There is a certain amount of respect that is awarded to whomever holds the office of president, but unconditional devotion is not a requirement of citizenship. We can disagree, and we can use what influence we have to forward actions we feel will benefit ourselves and our fellow citizens, even if those actions are directly opposed to the president’s goals and objectives. We can hope that the president is unsuccessful without hoping that the country crashes and burns. We can withhold our respect until it is earned. We can read that darn crash-the-plane political meme 50 times, burst a blood vessel, and write a column about it. That’s what is so beautiful about this country.
Don’t forget that voices of dissent are inherently patriotic. Having a voice is what the founders of this country fought for. And no, I am not advocating for you to lose your voice and not state your opinion (though I wouldn’t say “no” to not seeing that political meme for a while). Voicing a dissenting opinion does not take anything away from your right and ability to voice your opinion. It’s just another part of the discussion. So whether you are cheering the pilot of this plane or saying “Let’s roll,” know that we are all after the same thing in the end (which I know is one of the points of the crash-the-plane political meme, but goodness, that’s really not the best way to put it).