Defying political polls and pundit predictions, on the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, millions of Americans who missed the late night acceptance speech awoke to the news of Donald Trump’s presidential victory. A long and hard election period marked by deep political and ideological differences was followed by the tears and triumph of last Friday’s inauguration. But the weekend had just begun. Next came the placards and protests of Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington and several other women’s marches that were held over the weekend across the country and around the world or in other countries.
Started by a retired attorney (and grandmother) in Hawaii and a New York-based fashion designer with similar ideas, according to a Los Angeles Times article, the Women’s March on Washington was designed to unite in protest of President Trump’s inauguration and join in solidarity for women’s rights. Originally named the Million Women March in tribute to the 1997 Philadelphia event of the same name, it later was renamed the Women’s March on Washington in honor of the 1963 March on Washington, during which Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
The inauguration and the marches are over. Some are celebrating while others are wondering what the Trump presidency might mean for our already divided country. Half the country is angry and the other half is feeling relieved and vindicated — the usual outcome in an American presidential election, absent the rare landslide victory.
Each of us has a right to our opinions and beliefs, whatever they are. The danger is when we have no opinions or beliefs or no positions or stands on issues. The American Nurses Association took a stand early in the presidential campaign by officially endorsing Hillary Clinton, based on her voting record and her being a champion of nursing in the Senate and as First Lady — something that made many nurses hopeful. On the other hand, half the country voted for President Trump, making it likely there’s another large segment of nurses out there who also are hopeful and looking forward to the Trump’s presidency.
Each of us has a right to our opinions and beliefs, whatever they are. The danger is when we have no opinions or beliefs or no positions or stands on issues.”
Are you hopeful? Or are you filled with fear and uncertainty? Are you thinking about what President Trump’s term and women’s increased activism might mean for you, your job, our profession and the nation’s healthcare system?
We need to stay laser-focused on what’s going on and how governmental actions will impact us. Journalists are writing about what this presidency might mean for healthcare. Information on White House plans and agenda items are being posted online daily. News reports about meetings and initiatives are coming out almost constantly.
The politicians and pundits will continue to make lots of noise in D.C., and we need to make some noise, too. We need to be tuned in and turned on to looking for ways to make our voices heard, just as AORN did at the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Kay Ball, PhD, RN, CNOR, FAAN, past president of AORN, served on a panel at the RNC and Danielle Glover, MPA, AORN legal and government affairs manager, attended the DNC’s RealClearPolitics panel.
Lastly, we must heed the call to action as nurses and Americans, and work to promote national harmony and unity. Hillary Clinton did this when she said of the new president: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it.”
And, opinions and emotions aside, so did former President Obama and President Trump as they stood together with their First Ladies at the White House. After one of the most controversial and contentious elections and inaugurations in history, they carried out the peaceful transfer of power.