President William McKinley takes the oath of office on March 4, 1901 — his second inauguration but the first presidential inauguration after the opening of Trinity in 1900. Six months later McKinley was assassinated and his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in to become the nation’s 26th president.
(Photo Credit: Doris Kearns Goodwin on 10 Inaugural Moments that Mattered)
Trinity students, faculty and alumnae have had a special window into the power, pomp and circumstance of Washington since our founding in 1897. In that same year, even as Sisters Julia McGroarty and Mary Euphrasia Taylor were hatching their plot to establish the nation’s first Catholic college for women, a new president was inaugurated in March 1897 — William McKinley. His election in the waning days of the 19th Century, in a time of rapid invention and industrial growth, in many ways marked the end of the Civil War Era and the rise of the more progressive nation that would grow and flourish as a world leader in the ensuing decades.
Trinity alumnae have always been engaged with the responsibilities of citizenship, including political engagement and debate on all sides of the issues. Some have become prominent politicians, others have worked behind the scenes as staff advisors, and many have volunteered their time across the decades to support candidates at the local, state and national levels.
True to form, Trinity alumnae and alumni have quite a lot to say about the current state of politics and the presidential inauguration that will occur on January 20, 2017 when Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States. This blog continues the series of reflections from the Trinity Straw Poll on the Presidential Inauguration — as of today, January 19, we have 593 alumnae responses to this survey, an amazing level of participation.
Previous blogs began to share the comments on the question below, and this blog continues to reflect the comments on this question:
Q4: What do you hope President Trump will say in his Inauguration Address? Please write a few sentences identifying the issues that are most important to you, and why.
Alumnae from the 1980’s say:
“I care about: health care for all Americans; job creation; having the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes; ending military involvement in lost causes; the right of all women to be the sole decision makers regarding their bodies; equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work; public education; ending discrimination based on race, religion, gender, gender identity, and gender orientation, and socioeconomic status; ending hunger and poverty Why I care about these issues: I believe in the inherent dignity of every human being.”
“President elect Trump needs to address how his administration plans to improve/change the health care system. This issue impacts millions of poor and middle class Americans. Another issue relates to hacking of foreign countries in American politics and the importance of Trump having trust in the intelligent agencies that are responsible for protecting our country.”
“The issues that matter most to me are the strength of our democracy; freedom of the press; ethics in government; preservation of healthcare for all; care for the poor and the immigrants; equality among all races; ethnicities, sexual orientation and gender; rights for workers and more equity income distribution; the Supreme Court, and other social justice issues. From a financial perspective, I probably have much to gain from a Trump Administration and I don’t need nor do I want things like tax breaks. Sadly, those most in need often vote against their own best interests. I have essentially lost hope in what President-elect Trump is capable of saying in any speech, nor do I have any confidence of the veracity of those statements. Although President Obama was his usual inspirational self in his final speech, it only made me sadder and more frightful of what is yet to come.”
“I hope he will say that he will listen to the Intelligence Agencies and act on their information to protect our country from all forms of invasion and terrorism. I hope he will say that he will support legislation that will allow all Americans to have affordable health care. I hope he will say that all Americans are equal and that no one is superior to another based on Race, Religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. I hope he will say that he will support legislation that protects women’s reproductive rights and sexual health. I hope he will support legislation that protects same sex marriage and the rights of LGBTQ citizens.”
“I hope he talks about the great promise and splendor of our nation and reminds us that the US is the best place to live in the world. Issues of importance to me: Replacing and repealing Obamacare. Was devastating to my family. We no longer carry insurance for my husband. Jobs creation. I sell houses for a living. Unemployed people can’t buy houses. Repeal of strangling legislation that hampers small business and again directly affects the housing market. Banks are unable to loan money because of Dodd Frank. Even those with excellent credit cannot secure loans. Appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court. The progressive experiment resulted in persecution of Catholics like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Unconstitutional and even sinful. Sick of government being used as a weapon. Term limits. Might prevent future Clinton types from profiting from influence peddling and undermining our national security. National security. I have twice been victimized by Islamic terrorists in NYC bombings. I refer specifically to the WTC. I would like to see a common sense approach to immigration and border control. Nations without borders are not nations. I would like our law enforcement agencies to feel supported by the new administration instead of reviled. An end to race baiting. We’re all Americans period. Stop the identity politics. It’s dangerous to the republic.”
From alumnae of the 1990’s:
“I hope President Trump will echo Pres. Reagan in 1981 and emphasize the fact that government is the source of most of the problems in the US today. It’s no accident that voters chose a non-politician and a businessman as the next president. I would like Pres. Trump to express gratitude for being given this role by the American people as well as a sense of awe/humility over the tremendous responsibility he carries. He should make no apologies for the America-first values which got him elected, nor should he take a conciliatory tone with the opposition, who seek to de-legitimize him before he even takes the Oath of Office.”
“Keeping Obamacare. Forget about the stupid wall. We are a nation that started with immigrants and will continue to be. Without immigrants our nation would not be America would not interesting and vibrant and would miss out on the cultural mix that makes us unique.”
“It would be wonderful if he stopped bullying and started being inclusive. As an employee of an international company, there is worry about the language that the president elect has used. As a person who works in government affairs there are many in the eNGO community who are very worried about the environmental (or lack there of) agenda.Since our industry works closely with the environmental NGO community this means more battling and less compromising. We recognize we will need to work together on the ground to develop programs that help the environment and retain agriculture. Lastly.. he has made horrible remarks about women. As a professional woman and mother I am disappointed and very sad. I am not sure what he can say to fix his remarks because his lack of understanding on how demoralizing his comments were – make it hard to grasp that an apology would be real. It has empowered many of us to step back and start fighting for women’s rights again.. as well as supporting our neighbors and communities. I know many who voted for Trump who did not support his language or degradation of women – and at the same time know many who say it was just “locker room” talk. Right now.. that means it is time to speak up, share stories, empower our neighbors and fight for our daughters and sons. It feels as though we are going backwards.”
(2013 President Obama’s Second Inauguration: photo credit)
From alumnae who graduated in 2001 and up through 2016:
“Issues most important to me are: -securing health care for all Americans -securing gains made in LGBTQ rights made in the past 8 years -ethics review for ALL cabinet appointees for God’s sake -ethics review of Trump himself (!!!!!!!) -keeping the economy growing responsibly -not entering us into a nuclear war/international scandal.”
“I am concerned with issues of immigration, a woman’s right over her own body, student debt (I’m in law school), and the job market (again, I’m in law school!).”
“I hope Trump condemns violence, racism, bigotry, sexism publicly. ..Trump needs to make a statement that will put the United States at rest and not in fear.”
“On the domestic front, his drastic proposals for health care and immigration reform would hurt the most vulnerable members of our national community and on the international front, his blatant disregard for diplomacy may jeopardize our national safety and land us in another war.”
From graduates of the Schools of Professional Studies, Business and Graduate Studies, Nursing and Health Professions:
“I would like for President Trump to speak on the protection of women’s rights, health care issues and future plans for social security benefits.”
“I hope that he clearly calls for an end to the divisiveness that this year’s Presidential campaign helped create. Perhaps it will be a good thing in the long-run but currently it is very discouraging to see so many of our worst tendencies so blatantly exposed — racism, sexism, class differences, the need to feel superior by threatening and/or tearing others down, and just a general coarseness that doesn’t permit compromise. I still would like to see: a coordinated effort to continue providing a way for everyone to have health care coverage; to end hunger and homeless in our communities; to pay people a living wage; to end politicians’ ability to feel like they’re helping to solve the housing issue by using the term “providing affordable housing” when what is needed is low-cost housing for the working poor. Make paying taxes an honorable thing to do. At the same time, revising the Tax Code to make it more transparent and equitable. What I want is for all of us to have a life that provides at least the basic necessities.”
“The issue that is most important to me is unifying this country. This campaign brought out the worst on all sides. Everyone in my family and friends had very strong feelings about the candidates they supported. I pray for our country And hope President Trump will put our fears to rest and unite us. Peace. I am hoping that this strong willed man can help bring world peace to a very dangerous world. Jobs!! To ease the pain of so many Americans who are out of work or do not make enough money to support their families.”
“Women’s rights, reproductive rights, human rights, gay rights, the right of every American to access to affordable health care, and preserving the representative system of government are most important to me.”
“I hope the new administration will represent the concerns of all the people, all genders, ethnicities and political views. I’m concerned about health care reform replacement, security of our government (given the Russian influences in our elective process), immigration reform and refugee policy. Also conflict of interests. I am praying for unity, love and the light of God to guide us.”
“The issues that are important to me include: women’s rights, financial stability for the decreasing middle class, student loan repayment options, medical care for the elderly.”
“As a minority woman, I want to hear more about inclusion and bringing the country more together. Also, as a doctoral student studying public health, I am anxious to learn more about his plans regarding the ACA and the replacement that his Administration plans to do for the millions of currently insured people.”
From graduates of the School of Education:
“How he plans to promote diversity, equal rights to all and fair treatment to all Americans and immigrants!!!”
“There will be equity, justice, and fairness for all citizens. We will work on our immigration policy so that the United States continues to be a melting pot of races, cultures, etc. There will be an end to mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. Partisan politics should be replaced by collaborative and productive exchange of ideas and solutions.”
And a few more comments from Trinity’s campus community: (See also the first blog in this series from 1/12/17)
A staff member writes: “Talk something clear about the new health plan he is going to offer. Give some ideas of what jobs will be created to help our economy. What plans does he offer on curbing gun control? When does he plan to stop all of that “tweeting?”
A student in the School of Education writes: “It is my hope that Trump will discourage those committing racist/hate motivated acts or repeating hateful rhetoric, and encourage the US citizens to unite and support his administration in making improvements that will benefit the nation and consequently, the world.”
A faculty member writes: “I want him to acknowledge that while his winning the election was fair and legitimate under our Constitution he did not win by a landslide.Knowing that our country is deeply and fairly evenly divided I want him to assure that his policies and actions will acknowledge and address as legitimate the half of the country that did not support him and that he will seek a balance with respect of immigration, minorities, income disparity, and women’s concerns.”