Since his election, I have heard Trump opponents grasp at straws and wild theories in the hope that this day would not come. First, they put their hopes in recounts in the states. The result did not change. Then, it was about persuading electors not to vote for Trump in the Electoral College. That did not work.
Then, the question was: Can he be impeached -- because of the Russian interference, because of conflicts of interest, because his hair is funny. That didn't work either.
Breathe deep. Take a big gulp of whatever alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage you have near you. And brace for the reality. On Friday he becomes President Donald J. Trump. Yikes!
Unfortunately, we are no less divided as a nation today than we were the day after the election. In fact, we may be more polarized. The sides have entrenched themselves. Trump supporters, regardless of how crazy and unpresidential an action he may take or a tweet he may send out, think the man does no wrong. And Trump opponents question his legitimacy.
As I head toward Trump's swearing-in, the surreal has become real.
I boarded a flight from Miami to Washington. Many passengers were Trump supporters, traveling to the capital to participate in inaugural festivities. Many more of the passengers were women of all ages, colors and walks of life heading to the Saturday Women's March.
Part of me was praying that World War III did not break out between these two divergent groups during the flight. And part of me was struck by the symbolism. It was one of those "only in America" moments.
Unless you are news deprived or have been living in the International Space Station for the last 18 months, you know I don't like Trump. Actually, that is an understatement. While I do not refer to his supporters as deplorable, I am perfectly comfortable referring to him as that.
Trump enabled, allowed, peddled to and promoted the worst in America -- racism, division, discrimination, misogyny -- during his campaign. I will never forget or forgive him for that. Never. I am, however, prepared to judge him separately on how he performs as President. When he tries to do good things to improve the lives of Americans, I will commend him. When he tries to do things that I think will cause our country harm and further divide us, I will fight him hard.
That said, today Americans — those who voted for Trump and those who didn't -- still have reasons to celebrate. I am celebrating that I live in a country where we've enjoyed over 240 years of Democratic succession.
I am celebrating that we are on our 45th peaceful transfer of power from one US president to another.
I am celebrating that we live in a country where I am not forced to attend a state-sponsored event. There are regimes all over the world where citizens face government reprisals if they don't show up to wave flags, clap and fake enthusiasm at official events. Cuba, just 90 miles from our shores, is one such country.
There are places in the world where protesting against a government leader could result in anything from unemployment or harassment to beatings, imprisonment or death. We live in a country where we are free to criticize, question and scrutinize our elected officials.
Some Americans question Donald Trump's legitimacy as president. Others are angry any questioning occurs. Let's not forget that one of Donald Trump's claims to fame was precisely such questioning. He openly doubted the legitimacy -- more than that, the citizenship -- of President Barack Obama.
These next four years are not going to be easy. The 2016 campaign -- and all that has followed -- has strained relationships between friends, colleagues, family and neighbors. It has even raised conflict between strangers.
Here is the most important thing for us all to remember, for the sake of our common sanity and safety: In America, the right to vote and democratically elect a president is just as precious and valued as the right to protest and express yourself against that president.
There is nothing more American than acknowledging that even if we don't agree politically, even if we don't agree with the President, even if we don't like each other, all of us have the same rights. If we remember that one thing, we will be OK.