A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Biden did his part, let’s do ours: How to kick Trumpism to the curb

Biden+did+his+part%2C+let%E2%80%99s+do+ours%3A+How+to+kick+Trumpism+to+the+curb
Nick Vides

Inauguration Day is typically heralded as a beginning and while, yes, this year’s installment represents a welcome change in federal leadership, Americans would be foolish to assume this beginning implies an end to what came before.

Sure, after noon Jan. 20, Donald Trump will no longer sit behind the Resolute Desk, but the 197 representatives who voted not to impeach after the Jan. 6 insurrection will still be in the House, the eight senators who voted to overturn the election will still be in the Senate, and the 75 million Americans who voted for him will still be begging for a border wall, crowing “All Lives Matter” and — for some — waiting with bated breath for a breadcrumb from Q.

In Sonoma County, 61,825 people voted for Trump, representing more than 20% of citizens who went to the polls. That’s more than 1 in 5, and it doesn’t count those so jaded that they don’t bother to vote at all. (Nationwide, two-thirds of Republicans believe the election was fraudulent.) Those figures feel awfully high for this supposedly deep-blue Bay Area, but as it turns out, the ignorant, the racist and the confused do walk among us. 

President Biden and Vice President Harris have their work cut out for them, jumpstarting the vaccine rollout and the economy, reuniting hundreds of immigrant children with their parents, and course-correcting four years of depraved and misguided federal policy.  

We have work to do, too. Those of us who didn’t vote for Trump must do what Timothy Snyder instructs in his book “On Tyranny.” We must learn from the experience of “the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism in the 20th century.” We must get serious about what happened Jan. 6 — and in the 76 years since V-Day — because the gross, jingoistic Make America Great Again movement did not see its end with Trump’s loss. 

He said so himself in his farewell address, during a fleeting moment of honest insight after five-and-a-half-years of distortion and lies. “Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday,” he said, “I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning.” 

And he will remain correct, unless we assert ourselves with small actions, everyday, to re-entrench our country on the righteous path toward diversity, equality and equity. So while Trump fans continue to careen around Petaluma with their big blue flags, while Reps. Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy walk to work under the Capitol Rotunda on behalf of California, we must do the following:

Forget the “don’t talk politics” lesson. This outmoded advice only serves to keep an oppressor comfortable, and the status quo will not do. Instead, we must be willing to wade into political discussion, equipped with facts, poise and aplomb. Those of us with privilege must be willing to stick our necks out to Trump supporters in an attempt to bring them back to reality, no matter how far they’ve strayed. We need to hold the line firmly in reality and call them in — not out. But we must also talk politics with family and friends with whom we agree, to buoy our spirits and give us a sense of solidarity as we get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Start paying for your news. The more staff a newsroom can support, the more researchers, reporters, fact checkers, editors and interns there will be to ensure more voices are amplified and their messages are both supported and properly counterpointed. We need dedicated, professional journalists hewn to a proper code of ethics as much now as we did during our independence. It might not be affordable for you to subscribe to national outlets, but it’s actually more important you support your local paper anyway. And seek out reliable local freelancers, follow them on Twitter or Instagram and give to them directly when they ask. If you aren’t paying for your news, you’re part of the problem. 

Vote in the March 2 special election, and every other election in which you’re eligible. Sure, the federal government is a mighty force, but state and local policies and politicians touch our lives deeply and send messages both literal and figurative up the chain. In last November’s election, California failed to pass affirmative action. On March 2, Sonoma County residents will vote on both a property tax and hotel- and rental-stay tax to raise funds for West County high schools and the emergency medical services West County fire departments provide river visitors. Raising your voice on these measures sends the message that we are willing to shell out for social services to improve the quality of life for our neighbors. It’s a message we should want federal pollsters to hear loud and clear.

Of course we exhaled today when Biden took the oath, but we must remember: January 20 is not the end, it is only the beginning. 

View Comments (11)
About the Contributors
Lauren A. Spates
Lauren fills multiple roles at The Oak Leaf, from writing her own work to managing the back-end operation while also supporting her peers and The Oak Leaf's adviser. She is committed to working as a professional journalist after almost 15 years away from the field, time spent working in sales and tech, moving cross-country and becoming a mother. Lauren is a native East Coaster giving the Left Coast a whirl. She is a newshound, bookworm, dog lover, Maryland Terrapins fan and a knit and crochet enthusiast. She is forever a cheerleader.
Nick Vides
Nick Vides, Photo-Editor
Nicholas “Nick” Vides (he/him) Is a seasoned breaking news reporter dedicated to making sure every shutter click of his camera captures a moment worth sharing. Nick's itch for chasing fires has kept him busy over the past seven years, covering every major fire event in Northern California from the Paradise Fire to the Caldor Fire. Nick currently splits his time as a photojournalist with The Oak Leaf and as a Contract Photographer with The Press Democrat. He has more than nine years of experience with photography, has been director of photography for multiple short films with the SRJC Media Arts Center, directed numerous student-led broadcasts with his Media 19 class, and interned for The Sarah and Vinnie Show on Alice 97.3. In the little free time left, he works for Highway 12 Winery in Sonoma, California as a Cellar Hand.  

Comments (11)

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  • V

    Valera AinsworthJan 26, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Why is my comment posted on Sunday not being posted?

    Reply
  • V

    Valera AinsworthJan 24, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I was going to place an advertisement with your paper to show my support of a college newspaper, but I am a Trump supporter that you want to kick to the curb. You don’t know me and yet you labeled me ignorant, racist and confused. Interesting that your article reflects those labels on you. One of the biggest reasons I am a Trump supporter is because we share the love for our United States Veterans. Black, Brown, White, Male and Female have sacrificed so much for the values of America. Values that were challenged by evil dictators worldwide. Strength and conviction does not confuse me-President Trump inspired those attributes. I hold the hand of any color as we pray for our country. And, ignorance? I would be ignorant to support a paper that wants to kick my values to the curb. But, I do appreciate the advice to support media that does respect my values and hope any sponsor of this paper that is also a Trump supporter takes the same advice from you.

    Reply
  • S

    SeeingclearlyJan 23, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Please stop with this entitlement cultural Marxism, it is a shame the SRJC is filled with openly socialist people and clubs, you do not have respect for liberty and private property, you moral anarcho-liberals do what thou will are a shame. Hate speech and anti-discrimination laws are all oppressive demoralizing socialist stupidity.

    Reply
  • M

    MaryJan 22, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Yes, you are right, we do need actual researchers and fact checkers, not opinionated, unreliable journalists who have NOT done their research. Leave your opinions out of true journalism.

    Reply
  • A

    agamemnon ecplecticosJan 22, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    first of all, Terry, learn how to spell NAZI, you fool.

    second, all well said Lauren, but your obvious support of ANOTHER parcel tax for the high school, for which one already passed last year, is going to the well too many times. not only did a similar parcel tax just pass LAST YEAR, i already pay taxes that are supposed to support the local schools. instead, how about a per family usage tax for kids who are actually going to attend. those of us who chose never to have kids get a little sensitive being asked again and again to pay for non-property owners’ kids. thank you.

    Reply
  • C

    ChrisJan 22, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    Did you really just compare Trump to Hitler? One guy you don’t like for policy reasons and the other committed genocide of millions of people. This is definitely a reach, not surprising though come from a totally biased liberal school that shuns conservative voices.

    Reply
  • K

    KateJan 22, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Yes! After a deep sigh of relief on January 20, it is our turn to get started on the hard work of healing our country. It includes acknowledging the crimes committed and demanding accountability, I think. As uncomfortable as I am with the call to reach out and talk with people who were caught up in the ugliness that ruled these past four years, you’re right: we must. Let’s do this!

    Reply
  • J

    JackieJan 22, 2021 at 8:16 am

    I’m not ignorant, racist, or confused. Also, I am a Trump fan.
    I wouldn’t call you those things no matter what your political views are.
    You shouldn’t be calling me names.
    You should be kind.
    You should accept people the way they are.
    Embrace. Don’t cut others down.

    Reply
    • T

      TuckNov 15, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Okay but if you support someone who is racist, sexist, ignorant and deceitful, you are those things. Or at least you don’t find those things to be red flags, which is just as bad. Hate to break it to ya

      Reply
  • M

    MICHAEL BREYETTEJan 22, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Eloquently put. It is a hard road we face because many of us do show up with facts, but it’s nearly impossible to have reasonable conversations with the unreasonable. As the past 4 years+ have shown us, for many, facts don’t matter. For them it IS religion, they put their and Trump’s ‘beliefs’ before reality and truth. Without evidence to win a single court case, and in many instances not even enough probability presented to even get their case before a jury, millions of Americans still ‘believe’ the election was stolen.

    ‘Trumpism’ is a fitting name, because he is the poster child of right wing fascism and extremism, but it existed long before he came on the scene. Outlets like FOXNews have been spewing ‘liberal-hate’ for decades, conditioning even brainwashing viewers to hate everything labeled ‘liberal’. They tell them liberals waged a ‘war on Christmas’, are coming for their guns, want ‘death panels’ for grandma. The demonization of liberalism went so far they even tried to rename French fries as ‘freedom fries’. It is this brainwashing that allowed a Trump to exist, that has allowed this disdain for facts, that has allowed people to toss out their moral compass when seeing children separated from parents and put in cages. It is this brainwashing that must be undone, and it may take decades. But I am with you, we must hold the line.

    Reply
  • T

    TerryJan 21, 2021 at 7:23 am

    I sincerely hope you don’t truly believe the trash you wrote.

    No one will ever put up with single rule conformity disguised as unity.

    This is NOT Natzi Germany!!!

    Reply