To march or not to march?

Olivet should march in the inaugural parade.

When it was announced that our marching band would be performing at the upcoming inaugural parade, I felt proud that our school had been selected for this honor. When a petition showed up on my Facebook feed asking the school to not perform, my heart sank. I read the petition, as well as some of the comments that signers had left. I could tell there was a lot of anger in their words, though I’m not entirely sure I can blame them.

Trump certainly has said and, perhaps, done things that are unbecoming of any moral person, but that does not mean that we should raise the flag of surrender and skip out on the parade.

I make no claims as to what Jesus would or would not do in this case, and I think it fallacious for anyone to attempt to do so. I can, however, offer some of my own thoughts on the subject.

The way I see it, the inauguration of a president is not simply a political event—it is the celebration of the fact that our nation has existed and thrived for over two hundred years. We have a peaceful transition of power every time someone new is elected, and no matter how any predecessor has performed in that office, they are always replaced. So too will it be with our new president. Either four or eight years from now, someone else will be in Washington to take the oath of office.

Please don’t simply see the inauguration as a celebration of Donald Trump; it is so much more than that. It is a celebration of our American republic, and the freedoms that we have here.

I have heard many of the arguments against marching in the parade. Some of them hold weight; however, many rely on the assumption that by participating we are offering a tacit endorsement of Trump and everything he has ever said and done. That is patently false. If simply showing up is equivalent to an endorsement, then Hillary Clinton herself will be offering her own backing, as she will also be in attendance.

In addition, the band applied to play at the inauguration before Trump even won the election. It would be a proverbial slap in the face of our nation and students to have the school put in the effort to apply for the parade, and then back out simply because there are those who dislike the man who will be assuming the office. We should expect our band to march—that is their job.

The simple truth of the matter is that Donald Trump is the president. Many are still lamenting that their preferred candidate didn’t win. To that I simply say, for the good of everyone: it’s time to move on. I didn’t like it either when Trump won the Republican Party’s nomination, but I got over it.

I interned for my state’s Republican Party this last summer, and much of my day-to-day work was answering the phone and listening to incensed and angry people complain about Trump. I was berated, yelled at, and cursed at. To be honest, it’s getting a little old.

If you don’t like the results of this election, please allow me to offer some advice: If you didn’t vote, that’s a great place to start. If you did, consider taking it a step further and volunteer for a campaign, work for the political party which most aligns with your beliefs, or donate money to a candidate you truly believe in. Do that, and you might begin to see people in charge who have attitudes you better appreciate.

I started a petition entitled “Congratulate the ONU Marching Tigers on being selected to perform at the 2017 Inauguration,” because I wanted to make a response to all the negativity I had observed. The responses which I have seen have been a great relief to me, and I am glad that it helped to encourage this discussion. Many of those responses were from current band members, who were proud not only to have an opportunity to go to our nation’s capital during the inauguration, but prouder so to be among those who would perform at it.

No matter what happens, eight years from now Donald Trump will not be the president. Perhaps then we will have a president-elect of whom everyone can be proud. Until then, I just hope that we can all be proud of the Marching Tigers.

I know that I speak for many when I say congratulations to everyone in the band. You have all worked extremely hard to be afforded this opportunity, and I cannot wait to join the rest of the nation watching you perform on the twentieth.

— Mattheus Mitchel, Contributing Writer

Not to march: the body language of Olivet

“To read body language signals accurately you have to consider the combination of gestures, whether they match what the person’s saying, and the context in which you’re seeing them,” Elizabeth Kuhnke, a highly sought-after positive impact coach and an expert on body language, said. She explains how interpreting body language involves reading sets of gestures, not single gestures.

These words came to mind as I read numerous online posts regarding the participation of ONU’s Marching Tigers in the Inauguration Celebration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Seeing how many were bewildered by the outrage surrounding the band’s participation, I realized how people were thinking of this issue as an isolated incident.

It is no secret that the president-elect has belittled and ostracized various groups of Americans, such as non-Christians, sexual assault victims, immigrants, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. While Olivet tends not to be a demographically diverse campus, there are students from all of these groups on its campus, and from my conversations with fellow alumni, I have noticed these groups tend to feel unwelcome on Olivet’s campus.

While the university may not intend to make political statements through its actions, that is the message clearly received by the community at large. Through that lens, students from these alienated groups have difficulty feeling welcome at ONU, despite the efforts that have been made to reach out to them.

During my tenure at this university, I met and conversed with many of the administrators, and I believe them when they say they understand and value diverse perspectives. I believe the school truly does believe that students from all walks of life “belong here.” However, I know this from making a personal effort to find these to be true, and the school’s participation in a community event which many perceive as divisive does not inspire people to look for the best.

I am proud of the School of Music and the Marching Tigers for being recognized on a national level. I understand the university’s desire to be seen as active in community events. ONU by no means has any obligation to withdraw from this event, but not withdrawing is a missed opportunity.

The various “gestures” the school has made, unwittingly or not, are driving a wedge between it and its most diverse students. Something more must be done here, because the body language does not match the words.

— Seth K Lowery, Olivet Alumni & Contributing Writer


*These opinions do not reflect those of the GlimmerGlass or the university

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