Metro Weekly

The Year Ahead 2019: A Special Forum

How will 2019 compare to the terrible year that just ended? We asked our readers.

Photo Illustration by Todd Franson — Photo: Gage Skidmore

A seismic shift is underway in American politics. After two years of total Republican dominance at the top of the federal government, all headlined by the roller-coaster antics of the Trump administration, a moment of respite beckons: Democrats are taking control of the House of Representatives. Whether Nancy Pelosi and the pro-LGBTQ polticians around her can become the miracle cure-all our democracy desperately needs remains to be seen — and that uncertainty is reflected in our forum, “The Year Ahead.”

Asked how they feel going into 2019, trepidation was a common theme among respondents. “Anxious,” “worried,” “nervous” — many aren’t sure if 2019 will truly be a better year for the LGBTQ community, or if we’re going to face even more assaults on our rights and freedoms. But dig deeper and some optimism shines through, particularly after last year’s midterm elections. With Democrats sweeping to power across the nation, many LGBTQ people are quietly optimistic about our prospects now that there’s an even bigger buffer against hate and bigotry.

As for what to expect? More of everything. More battles against discrimination, Trump’s transgender military ban, and the religious freedom movement. More 2020 election speculation — as of press time, we have Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed. And more endless waiting for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to finish his investigation.

For now, let’s check-in with LGBTQ people and some allies from D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and across the nation, to learn what the community thinks about the year ahead.

What are your biggest concerns for 2019?

Nicholas Benton, Virginia: My biggest concern is the damage that Donald Trump, his Russian overlords, and their authoritarian and New Right nationalist allies will do to America and to institutions of democracy, human rights, and progressive values worldwide. While a growing resistance to this is encouraging, these forces remain in a position to do an incredible amount of destruction.

Dana Beyer, 66, Maryland: My main concern is that we will lose sight of the most important challenge before us — removing Trump and his mob family, and continuing the global effort to shut down the criminal fascist uprising threatening the planet. To do so we need to build and rebuild relationships, and not allow ourselves to impose purity tests, which are rarely a problem for our adversaries. No more Trans vs. Gay, and Lesbian vs. Trans, no more Bernie vs. everyone not Bernie, no more bigotry — and that includes anti-Semitism — in the effort to build a truly intersectional movement.

Earline Budd, 40, D.C.: One of my biggest concerns for 2019 is that the current Trump Administration will continue to seek ways to “erase” Transgender.

Dale Corvino, 54, NY: The people of the United States are hostage to a corrupt party, the GOP. That party lies, cheats, and steals to hold power, and has itself been compromised by corrupting forces, from within and without. This is a soft war for our self-determination and our freedom.

Kevin Dietz, 44, D.C.: My concern is for Ruth Bader Ginsburg staying healthy and alive. We don’t need another Trump-appointed Supreme Court justice. It sickens me that long after Trump is gone, his court picks will remain for decades.

State Senator Adam Ebbin, 55, Virginia: My biggest concerns are the damage that the Trump administration is doing to our core Democratic institutions, as well as the reputation and credibility of the U.S. government at home and abroad; the collapse of public discourse and understanding, specifically as it relates to the escalation of hate and hate-related violence; and the rise in violence against transgender people, immigrants, and religious minorities. It’s frightening.

Lee Gable, 58, D.C.: There is this hole that Trump and his supporters have dug — and keep digging — and I’m afraid it’s going to be too deep for the country to ever get out of. It’s become okay and even fashionable to be selfish, especially at the expense of others. We have had two children die on the border, and it’s being treated as acceptable, even business-as- usual. How can we say we are a great country after that?

Shin Inouye, 40, Maryland: With a Democratic House, there should be real and legitimate oversight of the actions of the Trump administration. Will the administration respect the proper role of Congress? With the Senate still under Republican control, we are likely to see an ongoing effort by Trump to confirm judges who are not independent and fair-minded.

Darrell Johnson, 55, D.C.: My biggest concern is how the public is dealing with LGBTQ health care issues, educating gay men on the purpose of taking HIV medications when HIV positive, as well as the misleading concerns of using PrEP as a preventive medicine when having unprotected sex, especially among African American gay/bisexual men.

Name Withheld by Request: The planet is heating up. The impending climate catastrophe will dwarf and/or intensify all other social and political problems. We’ve waited too long, and even now, when we don’t have any excuses, we’re barely doing anything. My biggest concern is that 2019 will bring us one year closer to inevitable catastrophe.

Name Withheld: My biggest concern is the Trump Presidency and its GOP enablers. They’re a sewer.

Freddie Lutz, 68, Virgina: My biggest concerns are political for the gay community. I feel like the rights we fought so hard for are being threatened by the current administration. The Trump administration has done a lot of good, but when it comes to the LGBTQ rights we seem to be taking a big step backwards.

Bruce Majors, 58, D.C.: As a libertarian, I’m always concerned about the growth of government — spending, taxes, restrictions on choices, and about the huge amount of government debt and the asset bubbles created by fiat credit financing of that debt, that are never addressed, and that could collapse on us at any moment. We are basically always waiting for a complete collapse.

Blair Michaels, 53, NY: My concerns are that our LGBTQ rights aren’t stripped away, that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters at the border seeking asylum can be granted such, and to make sure my insurance will cover my upcoming procedures.

John Monet, 34, D.C.: My biggest concern is the Mueller investigation will turn up some things that will hurt the Trump Presidency.

Brett Parson, 51, D.C.: As a native Washingtonian and life-long resident of the nation’s capital, as well as a public servant, I share the concerns of the countless community members with whom I come into contact every day. Perhaps the most consistent and widely articulated concern is the prevalence of hatred, bias, and prejudice in our society. While I choose not to point fingers at specific people, parties, or ideologies, I know many community members are frightened that much of the progress made related to respect, acceptance, and dignity has been eroded or is under attack.

Rayceen Pendarvis, 69, D.C.: I’m concerned about the President shutting down the government because he wants to build a wall, when the government could be building bridges — literally and figuratively. All that money for the wall would be better spent fixing our infrastructure, building schools, and feeding people.

Alexa Rodriguez, 42, (Homeless, but used to live in Maryland): My biggest concern for 2019 is that the LGBT community will be still be a target of Trump’s administration. But as a transgender Latina indigenous Salvadoran woman, I feel mistreated every day, and all the attacks that our community face is because society and people in power positions are following the president.

State Del. Danica Roem, Virginia: My biggest concern for 2019 is for the 350,000 Virginians who will continue to be uninsured, even after Medicaid expansion begins January 1, because they earn more than $16,754 a year but still can’t afford quality private health insurance. Hundreds of thousands more will also be underinsured with catastrophic coverage only because that’s all they can afford. That means some people will put off seeing a doctor, or they won’t be able to afford to go and, sadly, some of them will die.

Name Withheld: I am very concerned about this administration’s abrogation of strategic post-WWII alliances and the embrace of dictatorial regimes.

Jim Slattery, 49, D.C.: My concern is that this country doesn’t continue spiraling out of control into something none of us recognizes anymore. The separations of families at our borders has been cruel, inhumane, and decidedly un-American, as has the proliferation and normalization of racism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, and hate.

Ryan Spahn, 38, NY: My biggest concern for 2019 is that LGBTQIA identifying artists are not being represented by actual LGBTQIA identifying artists in film, TV, theatre, and the media. We’re the only minority group where it isn’t a given we get to represent ourselves. The more that queer stories enter the mainstream, the less of a stigma it is for straight people to portray them, and the result is that our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters are forced to sit in the audience as their stories are played out in front of them by straight-identifying artists. By making a gay film, those in power offer a place for gay storylines under the umbrella of inclusion without the actual inclusion. And those in power BENEFIT — artistically, professionally, and financially — from the ILLUSION of inclusion when, in fact, they are straight-washing queer artists out of their own stories.

Adam Tenner, 51, D.C.: My biggest concern is that the divisions in this country will continue to deepen. Our lives and LGBTQ rights remain a political hot potato and that potato could get a lot hotter.

Michael Tull, 51, Oklahoma: My biggest fear is that the bubble the economy is riding is going to burst and not only will we have a corrupt administration, but we will suffer a recession that will cripple us for decades.

What is your greatest hope for 2019?

Name Withheld: That I could come out to my family as I turn 50 years old and not be disowned.

Dana Beyer: My greatest hope is that having survived over 700 days of misery, enough Americans have awakened and reconsidered what patriotism really means. I’ve seen it since the day of the first Women’s March, and I have no reason to believe it will fade until sane people take back all branches of government and begin the scouring of our constitutional republic.

Gordon Binder, 70, D.C.: That some of the world’s conflicts will lessen and maybe see a way forward to peace, though I’m not holding my breath.

Philip Crosby, 61, Virginia: That wisdom and open hearts will prevail.

Kevin Dietz: Trump’s impeachment and resignation. People say, “Well then, Pence would be president.” Pence seems pretty innocuous compared to Trump, and he wouldn’t stay president long, if he’s even appointed. After that, I hope that the country can heal and unify from this disaster.

Russwin Francisco, 52, D.C.: Florida introduced a Senate bill to protect LGBTQ youth from receiving conversion therapy — a treatment that falsely claims to be able to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity. My hope is that states will begin to see that forcing children into conversion therapy is wrong. The practice has been debunked — its long-term, even lethal, damage to youth is well-documented.

David Hollingsworth, 33, North Carolina: I hope that equality will be fully embraced and appreciated. I also hope for a new President, one that cares about everyone, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, and gender.

Name Withheld: That Nancy kicks butt.

Bruce Majors: I’m happy that Donald Trump — despite the fevered and one sided coverage he gets in the media, and especially the gay media — may end a lot of our bipartisan wars and reduce our bipartisan military empire. I’m hoping he continues to be a wrecking ball or bull in the china shop since we have so much that needs to be wrecked and replaced, despite the cries of Washingtonians who as lobbyists make their bread and butter from the institutions that need to be wrecked.

Fred Maus, 64, Virginia: The frightening turn to the right by our government does not reflect the views of a majority of U.S. citizens. I hope (without full confidence) that reasonable and progressive majority views will somehow hold sway in the near and ongoing future.

Gar McVey-Russell, 53, California: That I can finish my next novel, and that we get rid of Trump as president.

Monika Nemeth, D.C.: My hope is that Donald Trump is removed or forced to leave office. A Pence Administration would be awful for the LGBTQ community. However, Mike Pence is not impulsive or impetuous. I believe he would provide stability with respect to the economy and foreign policy. He would staff his administration with professionals with experience. While I will have many policy disagreements with him, I will not be afraid that he will drive the country into ruin. We can fight and resist policy.

Danica Roem: My greatest hope for the country is that more people will follow their passions to help and inspire their neighbors locally and people who need a champion. When I toured every public school in Manassas Park twice in 2018, I met amazing students from all over the world. And yet I know many of them run the risk of not being able to follow their dreams. They’ve had to overcome so many jaw-dropping hurdles in their short lives just to be a part of our community as their families have fled war, violence, trafficking and abject poverty in their countries of birth. To do that and to stay up with their classmates academically is challenging enough, let alone with kids scared about whether their parents will be deported. That’s why I’ll keep fighting for them, regardless of whether it’s politically popular. Those children need a champion in government who welcomes them for who they are, not villainizes them for who others think they might be.

Marguerite Sagatelian, D.C.: My greatest hope is that the Mueller investigation will end with substantial, irrefutable evidence of what happened with Russia and the election, and that members of the Republican Party will at last put country over politics.

Jim Slattery: With the House under Democratic control again, it is my great hope that the we can move past the monthly attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and that we learn the outcome of Mueller’s investigation. Perhaps obviously my greatest hope is that the investigation forces the resignations or impeachments of the President and Vice President, leading the way for a President Nancy Pelosi. Sure, it’s a pipe dream, but having a stable leader who cares for all of our country’s citizens, visitors, and asylum seekers should not be an unrealistic ask, and while I don’t think she’s ever really been on anyone’s short list for President, she would help undo many, many wrongs.

Ryan Spahn: My greatest hope for 2019 is that more powerful artists open up about their sexuality in a brave way, and that more producers and directors risk casting openly gay artists in film, TV, and theatre in leading roles of all varieties, not just gay roles.

Joey Teets, 63, Virginia: My greatest hope is that the Supreme Court will surprise Trump and vote more liberally than expected.

Glen Thompson, 79, D.C.: I don’t see a lot of hope in 2019.

Veronika Ward, Fl.: My biggest hope is to be on the list of self-made billionaires.

Do you think things will get better, worse, or stay the same for the LGBTQ community in 2019?

Nicholas Benton: Better. I think this is a great period of rethinking, recalibrating and renewing the most important concepts that shape our collective identity as a human species. The ghastly degradation of these things by the Trump administration has triggered a most beneficent counter-reaction that can propel humanity forward on a track toward greater compassion, empathy, generosity and shared universal values that will leave no one behind. This obviously includes our tribe.

Dana Beyer: Better. House Democrats will stand for all, even when there is no hope of passing any legislation, and those actions will give hope to Americans who will need to turn out in even greater numbers two years from now. The Equality Act will be the focus of efforts for our community.

Dale Corvino: Worse. LGBTQ people are being scapegoated and targeted, with intent. Violent attacks are on the rise, trans peoples’ rights are being stripped away one by one, states are devising ways to strip LGBTQ people of their employment, housing, and access to services. Our health care system, for its limitations, is being strip-mined by greed and corruption, and this especially impacts LGBTQ people.

Ray Daniels, 51, New York: Worse. Everyone associated with #45 has a horrible record of dealing with LGBT issues. Untethered, things will only get worse.

Kevin Dietz: Stay the Same. I think if Trump targets the gay community, we will rise up. No other group can affect change as quickly as the gay community.

Name Withheld: Better. Hopefully the world has seen the destructive nature of the current political administration and the hypocrisy of the Republican party and the LGBTQ community will continue to fight to earn back our place at the table and our rights as citizens and human beings.

Jonathan Freeman, 30, Virginia: Better. Nowhere to go but up.

Lee Gable: Worse. I don’t trust the Supreme Court to be fair and impartial.

David Hollingsworth: Worse. I hate to be so grim, but I think there may be more hate crimes, bullying, and crimes against transgender people.

Shin Inouye: Better. Progress for the LGBTQ community has not been easy, but we will continue to move forward.

Darren Johnson, 51, Arizona: Better. I think that this country is on a road which will lead to more compassion, not less. This baptism-by-fire has to wake people up and make us pay attention and know that we cannot make it alone. This is not about reaching across the aisle. What really matters is you going over to your elderly neighbor’s house and asking if they need anything. What matters is when you don’t know any Black people or Asians or Latinos, seek them out, make a new friend. Gay people can be just as backwards, racist, sexist, and ageist as everybody else. When you know someone is a loner, offer an invitation. The revolution is love and it starts with YOU, right where you are. And the revolution has already begun. So I believe things will get better, but the question is: what are YOU gonna do to make them better? Sending a letter to your rich white straight male politician who’s voting record is 100% pure self-preservation may not be an effective strategy.

Name Withheld: Worse. There’s no reason to be optimistic about the rights of any minority group in our current moment. It’s a hard time to be an immigrant, a low-income person, a contingently employed worker, a person with a disability. And there are, of course, LGBTQ people within these groups.

Name Withheld: Worse. Because the GOP’s KKK has been unleashed.

John Klenert, 65, D.C.: Stay the Same. How much worse can Trump make things for us?

Luis Martinez, D.C.: Worse. The amount of open discrimination seen in this administration is a problem. Not only do they get trickier and trickier each day trying to create more divisive policies, but also it seems that they are created exponentially with each day that passes by. On top of that, white supremacist groups seem to be very comfortable getting media attention and announcing their hatred disguised as a simple point of view without any reaction from the GOP.

Kevin Mitchell, 56, Tennessee: Worse. As long as the Republican Party rules, they will continue to erode LGBT rights and protections.

Brett Parson: Better. I prefer to view the glass as half-full and believe we will continue to grow as a world that values our differences.

Danica Roem: Better. Things will get better for many LGBTQ people in 2019 as more of us see ourselves in our elected officials and know that we can thrive because of who we are, not despite it. But there will be more of us who are killed. There will be more of us who are harmed. There will be more kids kicked out of their homes for coming out, more people who are HIV+ who are shunned and stigmatized and more children and adults alike who desperately want to come out but stay closeted due to a perceived or actual threat when they do. There will be trans women of color in our region whose life expectancies will be my age: 34. There will be Latinx and other immigrant trans people who will not only be judged for their gender and skin color but for their accents and any real or perceived language barriers as they try to obtain their own version of the American dream. When any part of our community is left behind, our community is left behind. When those of us who have positions of power and influence in our community use our voices and our actions to advocate for the next group or the next individuals to join us at the front of the line, then we are heeding that fierce sense of urgency Dr. King called us to embrace. As our community continues to gain a stronger presence within our national and local dialogues, the simple act of coming out can almost seem benign for those of us fortunate enough to have found love and embrace. But that courage to be vulnerable enough to be visible in the first place still matters so, so, so much to that person still looking for hope to say, “If they can do it, so can I.”

Ron Simmons, 68, D.C.: Better. Trump’s election was a blessing in disguise. The American people are on the move in reaction to him and his policies. It began in 2017 when a transgender woman [Danica Roem] won in Virginia, of all places. In 2018, the Democrats took the House with newly elected members that included openly Democratic Socialists, a Native American lesbian, and two Muslim women with one wearing a headscarf. There is a gay governor in Colorado. If Hillary had won, she would not have endorsed a Puerto Rican Democratic Socialist over the man who was the fourth in line of the party’s leadership. She would have said that she had to be loyal to his loyalty, and couldn’t endorse someone just because they were a woman.

Jim Slattery: I’m conflicted here. I desperately want to believe things will get better for our community, but with so many “Americans” being radicalized and emboldened by their MAGA “leaders,” I think we need a great deal more than just political leaders who are on our side in order to fight so that things do not continue to get worse. In this vein, we need to reinforce to our family and friends who claim that they love and support us, yet who voted for and proclaim support for Trump and his ilk, that they truly cannot be both. These two simply do not jibe.

Josh Sparks: Worse. As the mainstream pressure against Trump intensifies, a series of microaggressions will no doubt be attempted when certain factions will trade their “loyalty” to the administration for various political favors and stances.

John Stoltenberg, 74, D.C.: Worse. Those who are reasonably well-off and white will be fine. But those who are not white, those who are poor, those who are not cis, those who are not citizens, those who are subsisting on survival sex, those who are in prison — the list of LGBTQ folx for whom 2019 won’t likely get better is a painfully long one.

Charger Stone, 38, Maryland: Better. While there may be some setbacks legally, I believe that we are stronger together. And the more involved we are the better our lives can be. It’s gonna be on us to pave the way, just as it always has been.

Glen Thompson: Stay the Same. The majority of today’s gay activists are looking for power, money, and personal recognition and, in order to maintain their relevance, often look for problems where no problem exists. Being gay is a part of me. I have never allowed it to control me. Those who do need to seek help. For every door that has been closed to me, either real or imaginary, another more exciting door has opened.

Michael Tull: Worse. For the last two years, we have already seen the rise of bigotry and hatred. I fear that will continue while this administration remains in office. The President has stoked the fires of bigotry and one Tweetstorm after another simply encourages his minions to get louder and bolder. Science is finally identifying that humans are not as neatly binary. We are on the verge, as a society, of allowing people to just be without trying to pigeonhole them into some category. We are so close and then a corpulent idiot with the morals of a Medici lies his way into the office and emboldens his base, the less educated, bigoted lot of them taking us back to the great America of racism and intolerance.

Chef Patrick Vanas, D.C.: I say “Stay the Same,” but that is the optimistic trait in me always hoping for the best. But with this administration it seems only evil things have happened. I have found that there are more racist people in our country than I thought there were — they just did not have a platform to speak up before. But this President has put forth a hatred and fear and that is allowing people to come out fighting for the color of their skin and many uninformed white people in the spotlight as bigots. We as a country have slipped backwards. We have not learned from our past. Sad.

In your opinion, how is Donald Trump doing as president?

Nicholas Benton: Horribly. The man is a sociopath and totally compromised by his Russian overlords. This is unfolding as the greatest scandal/threat to the U.S. in its entire history.

Dana Beyer: He’s an illegitimate president. Period.

Gordon Binder: Having worked for two Republican Administrations, I say he is doing awfully, undermining important institutions, ignoring science and history — not to mention the value of hearing diverse points of view — lying, and so much more I consider anti-American.

Earline Budd: Donald Trump is doing a bad job as President. His tweeting is out of control. He is concerned about things that a president should not be focused on, and the things that he should be focused on, he is not. Bad, bad President.

Dale Corvino: I don’t consider him a legitimate president, and I will not legitimize him by measuring his “performance” against actual presidents. We are a nation under siege by a corrupt usurper. I wish we as a country could stop fixating on the spectacle of a narcissistic lout performing the role of president. I avoid watching or listening to him, or even using his name. I don’t engage with his supporters, either. They are in a cultish thrall, there’s no reasoning or arguing with them. I’ve cut off any contacts, including relatives, who support him. It’s for the best. Someone else can patiently hand-hold them back to reason. I don’t have that kind of forbearance.

Philip Crosby: He is almost completely incompetent as a chief executive. But that is not really a surprise is it? What is more worrying is his disregard for the office itself and his willingness to destroy many of the things that actually do make this country great.

Ray Daniels: He is a complete political failure. He does nothing to unite our country and is only serving his own best interests.

Kevin Dietz: Terribly. Without a doubt, he’s the worst president in U.S. history. He’s a racist, misogynistic, small-minded, despicable human being.

Adam Ebbin: It is even worse than we feared in 2016. President Trump was handed a stable and growing economy, a diverse and vibrant society, and the ability to pass infrastructure legislation. Facing only crises created by his own incompetence, he has managed to tank the economy, sow hate and division, and has only passed legislation to benefit his corporate cronies.

Russwin Francisco: The extent of Trump’s immorality, dishonesty and grift is no longer speculation. He has taken extraordinary lengths to obstruct justice and undermine the rule of law. He is a pathological liar. Per the Washington Post, he lies “an average of 8.3” times a day. Some days he has made 32 false claims. With the chaotic White House, his racist wall, tax breaks for the 1%, steel manufacturers and farmers at the losing end of his the trade war, alienating our allies and politicizing the military, Trump has done tremendous damage to the health and stability of our country.

Carolyn Griffin, 69, Virginia: He is so much more unimaginably worse and dangerous and damaging than we could ever have expected, and we thought we had anticipated the worst. His ugly racism, sexism, hatred of all minorities, gays, anti-Semitism, and disrespect for women has brought out all the ugliness that apparently had been suppressed and hiding under rocks right before our eyes. Well now it is out, and we need leadership that will make them crawl back under those rocks.

John Guggenmos, D.C.: As I tried to make a list of all of Trump’s controversies, I was left exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s worth noting that any one of these controversies would’ve brought down President Obama. While we can debate Trump’s “Top 20 WTF Moments,” one thing that both Democrats and Republicans agree on is Trump plays fast and loose with the truth. This is a man who stood in the rain at his inauguration and claimed the sun was shining, who said Kim Jong Un had sent him the most fantastic letter he had ever read only two minutes later to say he hadn’t read it. A Washington Post reporter remarked the hardest part about reporting on Trump is we don’t know what he means when he says words. But there is a simple word for it — it’s bullshit.

Name Withheld: I can’t overstate how vile and stupid our president is. He’s a skidmark in a toilet bowl, a stranger’s sneeze in your mediocre Caesar salad, a Hapsburg miscarriage, the kind of food-borne illness you get in jail, a bacterium infecting a scabie that’s infesting the banalest of bureaucrats.

Bruce Majors: I’d give him a passing grade, but I haven’t decided yet where it is on the scale between B- and A-.

Adam Mark, 35, D.C.: Horrible. Every day he serves as president, we as a country are soiled. There is not a thing you could say or do to make me think positively of him.

Jhim Midgett, Maryland: Donald Trump will go down in history as one of the most corrupt presidents in U.S. history. It will take us decades to undo the damage done by his administration’s first term. A second term would destroy this country.

John Monet: While I don’t always agree with his tone at times, I think he is doing a good job on doing what people elected him to do on the issues he promised on the campaign trail.

Monika Nemeth: Donald Trump is awful as President. I am not one who is given to hyperbole by nature. I did not vote for him, and I did not have high expectations for him. I did think he would have some skills that he could apply to the job upon taking office such as an ability to negotiate with opposing parties. He has in fact demonstrated that he has absolutely no skills whatsoever, and that he is incapable of performing some of the most basic functions of the job. He is unable or unwilling to staff his Administration with qualified persons for the positions. He refuses the counsel of people with expertise. He has alienated our closest allies. The degree of awfulness of the Trump Administration is far greater than anything I ever imagined.

Jason Peaco, 59, D.C.: Worst president ever. All he does is lie.

Alexa Rodriguez: BAD AS FUCK. Excuse my language but I don’t find any other words to describe it. He might be good at business (cheating), but at administrating the country he is horrible, rolling back protections, laws, playing with our youth DREAMER’S FUTURES, dividing society and seeding hate and triggering violence, being misogynous! I can go on and on, but he might get mad at me. (LOL)

Danica Roem: The harm this President has caused LGBTQ people across this country through policies designed to be outright hostile toward our community is devastating. He said he would protect LGBTQ people. He has not.

Ryan Spahn: He’s an embarrassment. I want him to be impeached, but I also don’t want Mike Pence to pardon him. I think Trump needs to finish out his term and then be put in jail. An impeachment might derail this from happening.

Josh Sparks, 30, D.C.: He has helped get numerous people into the political process, so there’s the optimist’s viewpoint on the matter.

Michael Tull: I think he is the natural conclusion of what was the Reagan Revolution — intolerance and bigotry all wrapped up in a Cheeto colored blob. His base seems to think that diversity is dangerous, when it is proven that diversity creates strength. We were the leaders of the free world, we are now a laughing stock and struggling. He and his administration and their blunders have made us weak.

Tom Yates, 65, Maryland: Trump, his family, his “friends” and many of his supporters are a bunch of grifters looking only for ways to advance themselves and line their pockets.

Robert York: The worst to ever hold the title of President of the United States.

Who do you think is the Democrats’ best hope to beat Trump in 2020?

Nicholas Benton: Joe Kennedy III. The combination of legacy, idealism, intelligence, energy and an unquestioned loyalty to his party.

Dana Beyer: I’ll let the people decide. My main concern is that Bernie might run as a third party candidate. He won’t be running as a Democrat since the rules have been changed.

Earline Budd: Joe Biden. I believe that it takes someone with a real political background who understands the world and our allies. Joe Biden is to me a man of integrity and respect. He is someone who I believe would serve the country well and understands politics.

Dale Corvino: This sort of speculation isn’t healthy or constructive. Let’s focus on what’s in front of us right now. We have real work ahead of us at the local, state, and federal levels. Now that we have Leader Pelosi back in charge of the House of Representatives, there’s a chance of some real accountability, and a path to undo some of the damage already done to our governing institutions.

Ray Daniels: Beto O’Rourke. We need new political leaders on both sides. We need elected officials who represent the interests of their constituents and not special interest lobbyists.

Kevin Dietz: Joe Biden is too old — and the last thing we need is another old, white man in the Oval Office — but I think he has the name recognition and the ability to unite people in cities and in rural communities with his penchant for speaking to “average” people. Too many times, the Democrats focus on people in the big cities, giving the Dems a coastal elites label. Joe Biden can transcend that. A Biden/O’Rourke ticket would be pretty solid.

Virginia Senator Adam Ebbin: Terry McAuliffe. Former Governor McAuliffe expanded the Virginia economy, restored voting rights for hundreds of thousands of citizens and effectively used the veto pen to keep Virginia a forward-thinking state.

Lee Gable: I don’t think we have seen the best candidate yet. I don’t think Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders are the right people, good as they are. We need to think of someone who can lead us forward, not just maintain the status quo. New blood and a new face. Someone who has us thinking with hope, not hate.

Name Withheld: Kamala Harris. Strong women of color will lead us to the light.

Darrell Johnson: Nancy Pelosi. I think Pelosi was groomed for this position. Democratic, Pelosi has served as a House Minority Whip, House Minority Leader, broken barriers being the first Californian and First Italian American to lead a major party in Congress. She’s been Speaker of the House, she has strong political ties, and I think she will be a great voice for the people of America in the future years to come as President.

Bruce Majors: Jim Webb. I don’t think Democrats really have any hope of beating Donald Trump. They had 95% of the media with them as usual in 2016, a de facto unreported multi-billion campaign contribution from giant corporations, and they still lost.

Gar McVey-Russell: I’ll vote for a piece of toast if it means getting rid of Donald Trump as president.

Ace Robinson, 40, D.C.: Kamala Harris. Older White candidates do not inspire youth and people of color. The White American electorate will still primarily vote for Donald Trump or a substitute Republican candidate. Senator Harris instills the energy and the relevance to a younger populace while still having the skill set to inspire the older populace.

Steve S., 58, Virginia: Oprah Winfrey. She has the name recognition to get elected, and the brains to lead the county once elected.

Ron Simmons: Too early to tell. Because the election should not be a horse race where we predict the winner two years in advance. Oprah has said she isn’t interested and yet you hear her name mentioned often by the media so she becomes part of the horse race melodrama.

Glen Thompson: At this point, the Democrats have no one. America remains a center-right country. The Democrats have moved too far and too fast to the left. Radical extremists and special interest advocates have taken over the party. These people are, more often than not, selfish one-issue types who place their immediate and personal needs above that of the country. The majority of Americans sees this and are successfully fighting back. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Democratic party slowing down their socialist leftist agenda. Socialism might sound nice, however, throughout history, it has consistently proven not to work.

Robert York: Beto O’Rourke. I don’t believe that Trump will last through 2019. The White House of Cards is crumbling from within at such a rapid pace that they are scrambling to replace people. For an administration that only hires the best people there sure is a quick revolving door of vacancies.

If you could tweet any message to Donald Trump, what would it be?

Nicholas Benton: Leave now!

Gordon Binder: Consult, confer. Stop lying. Respect people who disagree with you on reasonable ground. Stop undermining environmental laws. Stop advocating coal, a dirty source for electricity. Get Real: no less than our country’s future well-being, economic and otherwise depends on it.

James Brasic, Maryland: Think before you speak.

Ray Daniels: “You are the worst president. Total disgrace. Loser.” (Use words he can understand.)

Kevin Dietz: You’ve single-handedly ruined America’s reputation around the world and have pitted American against American. You are truly a terrible human being with not one redeeming quality. Please go away forever. No one likes you.

Russwin Francisco: You clearly are not having fun. You are being exposed as a fraud. Do the genius thing. Resign. #poorme #stablegenius #maralagoforever #putinstooge #kimjungunlover #largestaudienceataperpwalk

Jonathan Freeman: Grow Up! You are The President of The United States of America. Overlook others ability to focus on the painfully obvious and meaningless distractions. You didn’t become president by not looking at the bigger picture.

Lee Gable: You are a liar and have no morals. You have the blood of two children on your hands and no amount of justifying will wash that off.

Name Withheld: Quit being such an asshole!

Carolyn Griffin: You are going to burn in Hell for what you have done to this country and the good people who believe in equality and treating all with respect as equals. Either Hell or prison. Whatever comes first.

Mauricio Grimaldo Cristancho, 50, Georgia: Remember “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” 2019 will be a year of great expectation among a society who hope for a better way of life and better opportunities, but not for a better Golf Course.

Shin Inouye: You must remember that you serve all in this country — not just those who voted for you. Honor the office you occupy.

Darren Johnson: Time’s up, Bozo. A new day is on the horizon. Get those U-Haul boxes ready!

Bruce Majors: Pardon more people; criminal justice reform now! School choice! Enact all the reforms Democrats should have but did not for decades, and shatter their base.

John Monet: President Trump, you would get a lot more support if you toned down down the rhetoric. You can still stand up for what you believe and address something if you disagree. Remember message and tone matter.

Rayceen Pendarvis: thank u, next.

Ryan Spahn: Boi, bye.

Joey Teets: Shut up, sit down, and don’t do anything because everything you do sets America back. At this rate we will be a third world country before you leave office.

Glen Thompson: Keep up the good work!

Name Withheld: Mr. Trump, he who tweets least tweets best.

Robert York: Delete your account #45. Resign immediately. America went from hero to zero overnight when Trump took the oath of office. An oath that has been broken to the American people and the world. Restore faith and hope in America by resigning and fading away. #FakeLiarInChief

Zar: Please eat more fast food.

And finally, how are you feeling going into 2019?

Nicholas Benton: Truly optimistic.

Dana Beyer: Relieved, and hopeful.

Gordon Binder: At age 70, my husband 71, personal health concerns are always worrisome, as well as prospects for our art activities and the exhibitions we have this coming year. On the larger stage, the country’s future, our city Washington’s future, progress on our community’s issues — all are on my mind constantly. In short, I’m thankful to have made it this far and to enjoy a wonderful relationship with the man I have loved more than 46 years, even as I feel anxious about on a number of fronts.

Dale Corvino: We have to detach from the despair we’re feeling about the state of our politics and live our lives robustly. Personally, I’m happy, despite all the gloom I just broadcast! I’m happy to have made a difference in 2018. I’ve published some writing here and there, have a book of short stories coming out in the spring, and live with the sullen young man of my dreams in Hell’s Kitchen.

Russwin Francisco: I am surrounded by family and friends who love and support me. I adore my husband, our dog and home. I have my health and a thriving business. I debut as a film actor in a Filipino-American musical feature releasing in the fall. I feel blessed, grateful and terrific.

Lee Gable: Nervous. I’m trying to be optimistic and every day it gets harder and harder.

William Gonzalez, 46, New Jersey: I’M FEELING SICK AND HOMELESS.

Robert Heikkila, 67, South Carolina: Anxious.

David Hollingsworth: Nervous.

Kenya Hutton, D.C.: Ready to battle.

Shin Inouye: Optimistic.

Name Withheld: Relieved that Americans turned out in huge numbers to elect progressive women all across the country.

Patsy Lynch, Maryland: Worried.

Denny Lyon, Virginia: Wary.

Sean McClafferty, 46, D.C.: Nervous that the worst hasn’t hit us yet.

Joe Palumbo, 57, Maryland: Optimistic and hopeful — and the November 2020 elections cannot get here soon enough. I have confidence that the vast majority the American people (particularly the younger generation) will continue to speak out against injustice and oust the old white Republican men who have used their positions of power to spread hatred and discrimination. Fortunately, those days are coming to an end.

Danica Roem: I feel like passing some legislation and winning my re-election run! Come on out to Manassas and help me knock on doors and make phone calls! Election Day is Nov. 5, 2019.

Ron Simmons: Great! Politics and the news have become a situation comedy and the new season starts January 3rd. I have already put the MSNBC/CNN on the DVR and purchased the popcorn.

Charger Stone: There will always be ups and downs and you only have control over so much. So whatever happens, surround yourself with good friends and face the day with your head held high. You can only be you.

Adam Tenner: My glass is nearly half full.

Michael Tull: I am a federal worker so, broke.

Patrick Vanas: I feel good about myself (but not great), but have lost respect for many people close to me and sad that they have not seen their hatred.

Glenn Williams, 44, Maryland: Naked and Afraid.

The responses have been edited for space and clarity. Opinions expressed in the Metro Weekly Year Ahead Forum do not necessarily reflect those of the publication or its employees.

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