As of January 20th, Donald J. Trump is our 45th President.
For at least four years, our country will be guided by Trump and the members of his administration.
I didn't vote for Trump. If anything, I was virulently opposed to the idea of this man leading our nation.
So were many of my friends and colleagues, which is why I was so surprised by their behavior after the election results came in and in the days leading up to the inauguration.
My boyfriend is a perfect example of what I mean.
During the election season, he was a political zealot.
If you asked him anything about the American political machine and he could answer the question.
He educated himself on every candidate, he sifted through fake news to get the real answers, he followed the polls like a gambling addict checking to see which horses were racing that day. He downloaded upwards of 30 new podcasts to listen to keep abreast of everything happening with the election.
Then, when his candidate lost, he tapped out.
The podcasts were deleted, the news went unread. There were topics we couldn't even discuss anymore because he made the choice to stay out of politics since Trump would be in the limelight.
As if Trump is just some trollish aberration that if we ignore, will go away.
Being an internet writer, I am more than familiar with the concept of trolls.
If someone is being petty and small to you online, you aren't supposed to pay them any attention, because that's what they way, attention.
But President Trump (because, yes, that's who he is now) isn't a troll — he's the man leading our country.
Watching what he says and does won't give him more power, it keeps him in check. That's our role as members of a democracy.
We the people have a responsibility to be present and involved in our government and its procedures so that when the time comes, we can participate in our democracy to the best of our ability.
I know a lot of people who aren't watching the inauguration, but me?
I can't look away.
Tapping out, refusing to stare at the screen as the oath is taken, that's akin to becoming a Trump supporter.
When you disagree with a politician is when you must watch them the most closely.
I may not be for Trump, but I'm for America, and this is the 45th time in our history that there has been a peaceful transfer of power.
Sure, our system has problems (comparatively speaking it's still pretty new), but the fact that it keeps going by and for the people is something we need to honor if we really value this country.
I can love America and still see our problems, just like I can love democracy and still see problems with the man we've elected.
Pretending he isn't there and ignoring the ceremony doesn't mean I'm bending, caving or becoming a Trump supporter. It means that I'm refusing to let myself be bent or broken by change.
It's my responsibility as an American to watch Trump as closely as I can — and that starts now.
I'm not giving up. As an American citizen, I'm doing exactly what is my right, privilege and responsibility to do — I'm paying attention.