I just learned that my brother-in-law bought tickets to the inauguration – real cheap. I don’t know how factual are the other stories about “papering the house”, in other words giving tickets to anyone without a better place to sit down. But if my brother-in-law could get seats – second row, just behind the section reserved for Trump’s illegitimate children – then I’d say the tales might be true. Only a small “basket” of people are eager to attend this bizarre affair. I should mention that my brother-in-law had no intention of attending. He wanted his non-attendance to be a matter of record.
And so does Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Below is her statement as published in the Guardian. Please read. Her message must be heard and passed along.
Why my seat at the inauguration is empty
Barbara Lee, Congresswoman from California
I will not be celebrating the swearing-in of a president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.
The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of American democracy – a foundational principle that I honor and respect. On Friday, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. The crowning moment of an American presidency is the inauguration: a special occasion designed in many ways to celebrate the incoming administration.
I will not be celebrating the swearing-in of a president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House. Instead of attending the inauguration, I will be planning and organizing for resistance.
President-elect Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history. He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry.
He denigrated women, stoked Islamophobia and attacked a Gold Star family. He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts.
After the election, I hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. After all, he said it was “time for us to come together”. Despite my unwavering reservations about his candidacy and fitness for office, I encouraged my constituents to have faith that our constitution, our democracy and the voices of the American people would prevail.
Sadly, the president-elect has done nothing of the sort; he has instead shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s commander-in-chief.
President-elect Trump has named Steve Bannon his chief strategist, a man who proudly gave the “alt-right” and white nationalism a platform in his leadership role at Breitbart. He has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions to the office of attorney general, despite his long career of opposition to civil and human rights.
To make matters worse, after the intelligence community reported Russian interference in our election, the president-elect frequently and forcefully defended Vladimir Putin. He insulted senior intelligence officials in order to preserve his reputation and disguise the truth.
Last week it became clearer than ever before that the president-elect is not concerned about being presidential. On the eve of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s memorial weekend he took to Twitter to insult the legendary civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, tweeting that he was “all talk and no action”.
Congressman John Lewis nearly gave his life in the fight for civil rights and human rights. He was instrumental in the passage of the Voting Rights Act and he has spent decades in Congress fighting on behalf of his constituents.
He should be applauded for speaking out, not criticized.
The president-elect has continuously shown that he will govern as he campaigned with no regard for consequence.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” Now is not the time for us to be silent. We must join together and refuse to allow this vision for our country to go unchallenged. We must resist.
I hope my empty seat at the inauguration sends a message to my constituents and millions across the country that they have allies in Congress who will resist the agenda that targets the most vulnerable and marginalized, rolls back civil rights and prioritizes millionaires and billionaires over everyday Americans. And that no matter the opposition, we are prepared to defend our nation and its fundamental values on day one of the Trump presidency.
I thank Congresswoman Lee. I thank the Guardian. I thank my brother-in-law. I thank every single one of you who has, is, and will be defying this Trump creature and his hate-filled intentions.