“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.” ~ President-Elect Donald Trump, November 9, 2016
I will start by stating something that I feel very strongly about… Donald J. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. And I respect that.
Anyone close to me – or anyone who has read my blog posts – surely knows how difficult it was for me to type that last sentence. Truthfully, it was equally difficult not to place quotation marks around the word United.
Many years ago I was sitting in pizza place with some friends, in a loud conversation ripping into then-President Ronald Reagan. A man sitting next to us interjected, “Gentlemen, I understand your points about these issues. You have every right to disagree, but do it respectfully. I’m a former Marine, and I will always respect my Commander-In-Chief. I will always respect the office of the President of the United States.”
One of the things that has bothered me in the past eight years has been the complete lack of respect for that office. Many of the attacks on Barack Obama were vicious, degrading, and had nothing to do with policies or issues. And some were offered by former and current members of the armed forces, which certainly struck a chord with me because of the previous story. I railed publicly against this behavior, and it would be hypocritical of me to behave in the same manner. So I will not. The name of our country describes our states – random sections of land – being “united”. But our people should be united, so I hope our new President does what is needed to make that happen. I want that more than anything, so I will give him that clean slate going forward.
That said… a couple of things I must note.
I’ve recovered from the disappointment of this election… mostly! I take some solace that I wasn’t the only one surprised… people more qualified than I are in complete shock. And that is a huge group!
I didn’t sleep much on election night. I was in Boston for a marketing conference, so I channeled some disappointment and a decent amount of anger into more positive efforts. On Wednesday night I was walking to my hotel after dinner, when I turned the corner and saw hundreds of people on the street. They were dispersing after a peaceful protest on Boston Commons. I immediately felt better that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment, but I felt discouraged later when I saw on the news that protesters in other cities were not so peaceful.
Protesting is fine, and I respect that. I don’t respect the violence that happened and those people need to be dealt with under the law. And I find it humorous that so many Trump supporters have spoken out against the protesters, as I’m sure some of them would have been on the streets if their candidate had won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. But everything will calm down soon… if this election has taught us anything, the American people have a short attention span.
I accused Donald Trump of a few not-so-great things in this election, and I still disagree with most of his positions. He successfully targeted a portion of the electorate that had lost faith in their government, and I certainly respect that. But his campaign and presentation over the past fifteen months revealed dark things about some of our people, and beliefs that I thought were less prevalent or refused to acknowledge. There is a small, but significant population of our country – some in public, some hiding – that embrace hate. It fuels and guides them. And I’m sad to say that some are people I know.
Their decision processes were very simple: Vote against the candidate who supports the LGBTQ community. Vote against the party that has the nerve to give us a President who isn’t white, and doesn’t have a Christian sounding name. And vote against the female candidate because of that one adjective, nothing else.
Donald Trump spoke to them and they stirred. Hillary Clinton called them a name, and it galvanized them. And it cost her the election.
Sure, there are many ways to analyze why this election was won or lost… many other things possibly determined the outcome. But ignoring this aspect is unforgivable, because the “positive” results have already emboldened these hateful people and groups. Discouraging their racism and bigotry should be our new President’s highest priority.
And while we are at it, let’s get rid of the two party system… and call out the media for their bias, ratings-based reporting… and stop the viciousness and hatred on social media… and severely limit the disgusting amount of money spent on electing a President! (Calm down, John… you are writing a blog post, not a novel.)
Over the past year I have spoken out against Donald Trump for his erratic behavior and divisive words. I do hope that I was as wrong about him as I was wrong about the election. I joked last week that I personally don’t have to worry too much. I’m solid middle class, and my wife works in healthcare so our insurance is not bad. I’m white, and though I am not religious I was raised in a Christian family. I also joked that President-elect Trump seems to be already softening his stance on some of the hot button issues, so maybe I should have voted for him!
Those jokes will only be funny if Donald Trump keeps our country, and my family, safe. I hope he disavows his most disgusting rhetoric, surrounds himself with good people, and works for solutions.
I will respect, as always, the office of President of the United States. But I will be watching President Donald Trump’s every move, and if necessary I will fight the fight.