January 2Oth finally came. The day Americans had their eyes peeled on, whether it be out of anticipated excitement or impending frustration. With right hand raised and repetition of the oath, “I, Donald John Trump do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”, Mr. president elect became the 45th president of the United States.
There was absolute fanfare- crowds cheering, yelling, sobbing, but “so what?” some still ask. What significance does this day hold for us average Americans, young millennials, or dental students? The inauguration was undeniably a monumental one not only because this man of extreme ideals and wealth was elected, but more so because we elected him through a democracy. So why do some still turn a blind eye, bury their heads in the sand and scream that “He is not my president!”. Just as the newly elected president fails to pay reverence to our historical past and those who contributed to the making of America, some still fail to recognize a malleable future due to the paralysis of cynicism.
Instead, look back at history, at the marches and the changes we’ve made. Look at the Women’s March just the following day. Over 5 million people of all gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status and age marched in solidarity. They marched to protect our rights, safety, health and diverse communities nationally and globally. Signs spelt their pent up anger: “Men of quality do not fear equality”, “Grab America back”, “Make America kind again”. This platform was not a mere spotlight for women, but an illumination of all those marginalized, fighting on principles of unity. This march was for our future patients, our neighbors, our friends and families.
As former President Obama leaves us with his final words, “All of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power swings.. our constitution is really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power- with our participant and the choices we make… because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: citizen.”
With the coming 4 years, let’s strive to be more curious and engaged, to execute our rights as citizens and uphold the sentiments laid by our founders, fought for by our veterans, and paved by our leaders. Let’s turn this path from protest to power. So pick up your shoes, tie up those laces, and let’s march on.
Chloe Tsang, ASDOH ‘2O