What do Trinity graduates think about the presidential inauguration, the Women’s March and issues related to the new administration of President Donald J. Trump taking office this week? True to form, Trinity alumnae and alumni have A LOT to say, with deep passion and a great sense of care and concern for our nation. During the next two weeks I will be summarizing the results of the Trinity Straw Poll on the Presidential Inauguration in this space, and comparing/contrasting opinions across the decades, among alumnae/i groups, and within the campus community as well.
To date, 569 alums have responded to the straw poll sent out on email just four days ago — that’s a very large number for responses to any Trinity message! 85% of those responding are graduates of Trinity College, our historic women’s college, the unit now known as the College of Arts and Sciences. Of those 85%, the largest group of respondents are from the 1960’s — 30% of alumnae responses! !he next biggest group are alums from the 1970’s — 19%.
Of the alumnae responding, 1% (10) said they plan to attend the inauguration; 3% (16) said they plan to attend in a protest demonstration. While 31% said they will watch it on television or internet streaming, 64% said they will neither attend nor watch.
Alumnae had various comments on the inauguration. From a graduate of the 1960s: “For the first time in my life, I will not either watch the ceremony on television or attend the event. I firmly believe this president was elected by fraudulent means, and instead of attempting to unite the country, he continues to promote hatred and divisions, to ignore the basic rights of the US citizens, and intends to undo the Affordable Care Act and other laws that protect the health and safety of the American people. “
Another graduate of the 1960’s: “I attended the inauguration of John Kennedy and it was one of the most meaningful events of my life. I have watched all inaugurations on television no matter what the party. However I will not watched Trump’s inauguration as he goes against all my values.”
Another voice from the 1960’s: “While I respect our tradition of peaceful transition of power, I continue to be horrified and disgusted by the incoming president. He has been disrespectful to women, people of color, and LGBT persons. He has tried to tone down his pronouncements but has not been successful in hiding his real character.”
A different point of view expressed by a graduate of the 1970’s: “I can’t wait for him to get into office. I campaigned for him and believe that he will stop illegal immigration, decrease the flow of drugs into this country, take care of our Veterans, reverse Obamacare and bring the jobs back to this country so that our middle class can rise again. I also believe with Ben Carson heading up HUD that the inner cities will be much improved. As a Catholic College, I must believe that the return of God into our lives and thru our leaders will help to save Christianity which is being systematically quashed here in the US and murdered abroad will make Trinity grateful that Trump was elected.”
A 1990’s graduate of the School of Education writes, “Although I did not vote for President-elect Trump, I believe in the democratic process and the transition of the Office of the President. As a citizen, I need to hear what our new President has to say as he begins his term in office.”
The occasion of an inauguration brings back memories:
From an alumna of the 1940’s: “Will watch with trepidation. Remembering standing in the cold all day when Truman was inaugurated! That was exciting!”
From an alumna of the 1950’s: “I went to the Eisenhower inauguration and his inaugural ball. I’m amazed and saddened by the results of this election. I was brought up to pray for our president no matter what the outcome, and I will continue to do that. Hopefully his nasty rhetoric will be curbed for this event, but I find watching him seriously damaging to my health. I pray for him, for us, and for our wonderful country.”
And another fond memory from an alumna of the 1950’s who will watch it all on television: “This will bring back fond memories of the 1952 Eisenhower inauguration while at TC. We ended the day by hosting the first Tea Dance on campus which was attended by West Point cadets who had just marched in the inaugural parade.Oh what a coup!!!”
One more fond memory, from the 1960’s: “I will watch the entire ceremony and parade, feeling very blessed to be a citizen of this country with our democratic transfer of presidential power. And remembering well, my first inauguration, that of John F. Kennedy, on a cold, snowy, icy day– also January 20th– 1960– And being grateful to Sr. Margaret Claydon for pushing us out in the freezing cold to attend instead of taking the lazy way out and staying back to study for exams!!”
A 2007 graduate of the School of Professional Studies writes, “I attended the inaugurations of President Clinton and President Obama with my children. My children voted first time for the second term of President Obama. I had a sentiment of pride. Today I have a sentiment of shame and fear which need to be expressed therefore I’ll walk on the women march.”
The reasons why Trinity alumnae will turn out for the Women’s March in large numbers are summed up in comments by this alumna from the 1970’s: “I as well as other Trinity alums, friends, and colleagues will be marching in different groups — both men and women! We are all concerned about women’s rights both here and abroad, civil rights in general, preserving our democratic principles … and making a stand against demagoguery and pursuit of personal and egotistical goals at the expense of others. This election and the months and months leading up to it showed some of the worst of the United States – polarization, us versus them mentality, and probably millions of voters with no understanding of our branches of government, the role and authority of the President, or even U.S. geography, we have so much educating to do. The election is over and we have to live with its results — but let’s hope our country can hold together for 4 years … and that our international allies still stand by us.”
An alumna from the 1950’s writes, “Since I graduated from Trinity, great strides have been made in the area of women’s rights. There are many more opportunities open to women in the area of employment and equality. Many have worked hard to win these rights. This makes me very happy for the expanded opportunities my granddaughters have. From his words and actions, I do not think the president elect has respect for women. Therefore, I worry that he will work to undue many of the advances made by women. An example would be the Lilly Ledbetter act. So I will be participating in the Women’s march in support of women’s rights
Many more wrote that they cannot attend but support the goals.
This alumna who graduated during the 1950’s writes that while she cannot attend at age 84, “… if I were younger would take part in the Women’s March. I fear the consequences of this presidency. My fears range from the neglect of the most needy segment of our population, the repeal of Obama Care with nothing to put in its place, the further enrichment of the 1%, the rampant xenophobia of the administration that wishes to exclude Mexican and Muslims, the exploitation of our natural resources, to the threat to our very existence due to an increased threat of nuclear war. However, I’ll not simply bury my head in the sand but shall do all that I can block the measures proposed by the upcoming administration. All that is possible for me to do at my advanced age is protest the coming enormities and vote for those who oppose them.”
Some said they are not sure about or completely disagree with the goals of the Women’s March.
An example of this sentiment is captured in this statement by an alumna from the 1980’s: “I have some concerns about the “Women’s March.” The name itself is misleading as it is obvious that the views of women are much too diverse to be represented by any demonstration, especially one that is purely political. Looking at the long list under “Guiding Vision and Defining Principles” posted by the organizers, it is doubtful that even those who participate will agree with every point. In many ways the organizers may exploit the strong feelings about the election results to claim a broader support for this agenda than actually exists. Perhaps, the March would be more accurately named the “Post-Inauguration Anti-Trump March” since certainly the election results themselves show that the march does not represent all women.”
Similarly, a graduate of the 1990’s writes, “I disagree with the purpose of the women’s march. I voted for Trump and fully support his political beliefs in most of his areas. Trump certainly has said some things that are controversial, however, I believe he will do some great things for our country politically. One of the topics the women are in favor of is the abortion issue. I am strongly against this issue.“
NEXT: WHAT TRINITY GRADUATES HOPE PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL SAY IN HIS INAUGURATION ADDRESS
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